The Unprocessed Boston 1977 (Sigma 78)
Boston Garden, Boston MA – June 27th, 1977
Disc 1 (52:33): Sheep, Pigs On The Wing (Part 1), Dogs, Pigs On The Wing (Part 2), Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Disc 2 (75:40): Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5), Welcome To The Machine, Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9), Money, Us & Them
Pink Floyd’s stop in Boston on June 27th, 1977 has been a popular show over the past decade. Using the excellent Steve Hopkins recording, it surfaced on the CDR title The Perfect Day (Ayanami 133) in the late nineties, it has subsequently been pressed on Have A Cigar (Cannonball CA-2004015/16) and later on Boredom And Pain (Siréne – 159).
When the Dan Lampinski recording of the same show surfaced, it was edited with the Hopkins tape on followed by Definitive Boredom And Pain (Sigma 65) and released in February 2011. More than a year later, Sigma have released The Unprocessed Boston 1977. This claims to be the Hopkins recording only without any remastering or tweaking.
It sounds excellent. The first couple seconds of “Sheep” is missing, but the whole in “Pigs On The Wing (Part 1)” is patched, and the latter half of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9)” still sounds a bit dodgy. It sounds great. It’s not enough of an improvement to claim it’s better than the other releases, however. The Cannonball and others are still viable options for obtaining a great version of this show.
At the end of the show Roger Waters proudly says it is “the perfect ending to a perfect day.” It is rare for Waters to lavish such praise upon any show, but it’s particularly odd since Boston comes during a hellish week for the band. They played a massive show in Cleveland two nights before and are about to close the tour with shows in Philadelphia, New York and Montreal.
These shows would be known for Waters’ raving and drooling towards the rowdy, firework throwing audience which he’s continue to bitch about even after the tour. In fact, the next Pink Floyd project would be his protest against it.
But Boston stands out. Not because the audience were less rowdy than the others. Boston were known for their insane behavior at rock concerts and the show is punctuated several times with firecrackers. But this is one of the slickest, most professional and exciting shows from the In The Flesh tour committed to tape.
Pink Floyd set a Boston Garden record by being the first band to play with a stage set costing over one million dollars. According to Nick Mason’s book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, they were also almost banned after this show because they used pyrotechnics during their performance, the exploding pig for “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and firework displays on “Sheep” and “Money,” in violation of the fire code. The road crew removed the props quickly after they used them.
The distinctiveness of the show is apparent from the opening notes of “Sheep.” It moves slowly and with menace. And even with small mistake in the middle (Roger Waters loses his place after the Psalm 23 parody) sounds effective.
But the standout performance in the first half is “Pigs (Three Different Ones).” This counts as the most recent composition in the setlist and it grows the most during the long In The Flesh tour. Waters seems to mix both sympathy and regret in the song’s narrative and growls out “forty-eight” in the song’s middle.
What is most effective is Gilmour’s late guitars solo by the song’s end. It sounds like a second wind and he duels with Richard Wright’s Hammond organ and the crackling pigs before the song ends. “We’re gonna take a pig break. Twenty minutes” Waters announces as the houselights come up.
The second half of the show covers the complete Wish You Were Here LP. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5” takes its time to develop and build nicely before the segue into “Welcome To The Machine.” Boston is very receptive to the Gerald Scarfe animations, cheering on the bloody and surreal cartoon being played above the band.
“Have A Cigar” is very tight, and Waters manages to (almost) get through the song, hitting the right notes, without his voice cracking. Boston FM radio is a short bridge into the gentle, melodic, and plain gorgeous “Wish You Were Here.” Waters echoes Gilmour’s vocals throughout the piece.
The show ends with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9.” Pink Floyd reward Boston with two encores, “Money” and “Us & Them” which are not segued together as they are on Dark Side Of The Moon. After the final song Waters pronounces his assessment of the day.
Many titles have been pressed with tapes from this tour. It was one of Pink Floyd’s longest and, given the events the final week, legendary in rock history. The Unprocessed Boston 1977 is no worse than other releases that have this show. It’s good, but perhaps not good enough to warrant an expensive upgrade. But it is an excellent way to obtain what is one of the greatest performances from the tour and is worth having.