The Sun Is Eclipsed By The Moon...
...and the album is eclipsed by the live early version.
The first proper 'gig' I ever went to was Country Joe And The Fish at the Albert Hall on 22 September 1969. A live album from that tour, released 30 years later, revealed a band long past its peak – but for an impressionable 12 year old it was pretty amazing at the time - and is it any coincidence that I later took up playing bass when the first band I ever saw had Jack Casady on bass?
Anyway, the reason I got to see The Fish was because I'd recently discovered that the father of a friend of mine could get free tickets to a box at the Albert Hall. Whoo hoo! So during 1969/1970 I managed to get tickets to see Ten Years After, John Mayall, Pentangle, Stone The Crows, Blodwyn Pig, Jethro Tull, Family, Steppenwolf, Albert King, Keef Hartley, Deep Purple (Supporting Canned Heat - also Renaissance were on the same bill), Fleetwood Mac, and…
At around about the same time a local school put on a production of 'Dark Of The Moon' and a set piece in the middle featured a bunch of teenagers in weird costumes cavorting about to the most incredible music I'd ever heard. I got a friend to find out what the music was and they told me it was Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun by Pink Floyd. So the next time the Floyd were at the Albert Hall I tried to get tickets - but they were sold out.
The next Floyd album was Ummagumma of course – and what a waste of vinyl *that* was. The second disk is a load of self indulgent noodling – the only decent bit is Waters' section and that pales pretty quickly – and the first disk is insipid versions of tracks that had already appeared elsewhere and that were soon available in far more poky versions (if lower quality) on bootlegs.
By the way – The Dead suffered from the same problem – although Live/Dead and Europe 72 are pretty damn good live albums it's clear that Warners didn't think that Joe Public could cope with the bum notes, fluffed lyrics and incredible tangents of the *real* live Dead as shown on 100 Year Hall and the Dicks Picks from the late 60s and early 70s.
Anyway, back to Pink Floyd. I don't remember for certain the first time I saw them live, but by early '72 I'd seen them a few times at the Empire Pool or Earls Court and so on. I used to hang around the Rainbow Theatre in London's Finsbury Park - some of the bouncers had got to know me a bit and would let me in free sometimes - so one night in 1972 I happened to be in the area and went along to see Pink Floyd on spec. They had a primitive quadrophonic PA system - a couple of bass bins & horns lashed to columns at the back of the old cinema hall - and a gantry of lights either side of the stage with flashing red light on top but the MUSIC... was incredible. The London premiere of Eclipse (later to be renamed Dark Side Of The Moon).
Next day I rang all my mates and said you've got to come and see Pink Floyd at the Rainbow (they were doing 4 nights and I'd turned up at the third, so this was the last night). I think Jon Seckl and Jon Blend came with me, I'm not sure who else. Anyway it was equally amazing.
Some weeks - or months - later I was in Kensington Market and saw an anonymous album called 'Best Of Tour 72' - I asked what it was and the guy selling it told me it was a bootleg of the next Pink Floyd album. So I bought it – it was excellent and I played it non-stop for weeks. Months even. And then the next legit Floyd album came out – but that was Obscured By Clouds and so didn’t really count.
And then – finally – a couple of years later, Dark Side Of The Moon came out and I bought it and… I thought it was crap. Sure, it’s incredibly well produced, but it’s sterile as f*ck in my opinion. I’ve never liked it, and that was the end of my Pink Floyd period. I haven’t liked anything they’ve done since.
I lent my original copy of the bootleg to my then-current girlfriend, split up with her a few weeks later, and haven’t seen it since. Didn't hear the album for 15 years or so until the Web let me track down a copy. This doesn't seem to be as good quality as the original vinyl I had, and is also missing a few bits that I edited in from a different bootleg, but as far as I'm concerned it's the last great Pink Floyd album. It's one long piece, not split into tracks (and neither was the original when they played it).
BTW I'm not sure about whether I should be posting bootlegs here - though it's probably the only one I will.
Apart from the QMS one that I posted a few months ago.
Pink Floyd - Best Of Tour 72