Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – February 1, 1977
Disc 1 (53:09) Sheep, Pigs On The Wing (Part 1), Dogs, Pigs On The Wing (Part 2), Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Disc 2 (69:48) 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 And Them
“Oink, Oink…Woof, Woof…Baaaaa”. EMI’s press release to celebrate the release of Animals in 1977.
Pink Floyd began their 1977 tour in support of Animals with a tour of Europe playing multiple nights in larger cities, something that makes perfect sense. With the ever growing size of the Floyd’s stage presentation it would have been physically crushing to put up, break down night after night. The only two cities that had singular concerts were February 1 in Vienna, Austria and February 20 in Antwerp, Belgium, the former is the subject of this new release from Golden Eggs.
There are three known recordings from this concert, a short roughly half hour soundboard fragment, an average incomplete audience recording that is missing the first few songs of the Animals set, and an excellent, near complete audience recording that was used for this title. There have been a couple previous releases of this recording, Animalization (Highland 587/588), a two disc set and Racial Violence (Sirene-024), one of Sirene’s multi disc set featuring the audio on two discs and a DVD with poor 8mm footage, both of these titles are well over a decade old and long out of print. Golden Eggs have used a version of the tape that has had some improvements made to it, most notably the recording needed repair of the frequency response. Particularly in the left channel, certain frequencies were attenuated and needed a boost to bring them in line with the rest of the spectrum. Once performed, the overall tonality was re-balanced to improve the sound. Channel balance also needed correction, the overall balance was aligned as was the balance in specific segments. A lot of technical info I even edited down! But the result is a wonderful version of this concert.
I have compared this Golden Eggs to the old Highland title Animalization, the old Highland title sound good for its age, yet this new title is a very nice upgrade. First off the recording is excellent, clear and detailed with very good dynamics and perfect venue ambiance. The audience is quiet for the most part near the taper, you can hear some very quiet conservation every now and then, the Austrian’s were excited to see the band and this comes through in the recording. This new Eggs title has a much fuller sound versus the Highland which after listening to this sounds rather thin.
The first half of this concert is excellent, Animals is played with a growing confidence and certain aggression. The instrument separation makes it easy to listen to each musician, Richard Wright is very clear and his organ playing during the latter portion of Sheep sounds quite pastoral after the slashing guitars of Gilmour and Waters. Gilmour is certainly the star of this concert, his vocals are wonderful and his playing is superb, the two Animal heavy songs, Dogs and Pigs (Three Different Ones) features lots of searing leads perfectly capturing the anger Roger has unleashed lyrically. You can hear Roger whisper “six” at the 12:10 mark, as many have eluded too, this was actually the seventh concert.
The second half is the complete Wish You Were Here. Gilmour’s leads at the beginning of Shine On You Crazy Diamond sound angry and emotive, once Waters starts singing the audience give the band a loud cheer. Like many of these early 77 recordings, the band sound a bit tentative, the playing is not as fluid as found in the North American concerts, Roger had already taken to wearing headphones to help keep in time with the music and production. Gilmour’s playing during Have A Cigar has a nice swagger to it, the clarity of the recording make it easy to hear the two guitars, bass, and keyboards perfectly. Interesting to hear, clearly, the German radio between Cigar and Wish You Were Hear, the audience cheers happily as well.
The packaging is typical for Golden Eggs, full color live shots adorn the tri-gatefold sleeve complete with official looking Animals style graphics. The inner sleeve has the complete Animals tour dates and the insert has nice liner notes by The Fish Bowl Swimmer. A nice upgrade sound wise and a typical beautiful visual package for a well deserved recording.