of the Week [Recordings
of Indeterminate Origin]
Floyd's Brain Damaged Empire
Through the years, many attempts were made to collect what was thought to be Roger Water's finest hour. The BBC show was just one night, Nov 16, at the Wembley Arena of a three-night stand [from the 15th to the 17th]. Brain Damaged Empire is an almost complete version of the BBC show as it included the snipped opening to Speak To Me but missed the final encore, Echoes. The broadcast sound at the time was in stereo to accommodate stereo tuners.
It is a breathtaking show, with Pink Floyd commanding and authoritative, capable of lengthy suites that were both melodic and experimental. Waters used such devices as sound effects, the chiming of clocks, the sound of a cash register shutting and inserted dialogue to suggest dementia. It was his take on the impersonal nature of capitalism with song titles like Money, Brain Damage, On The Run and the confrontational nature of the system - Us And Them. All of it was reproduced faithfully live but with the added tension of uncertainty giving the live performance an edge missing in the clinical studio version.
One of the highpoints
of this concert was singer Clare Torry's soprano singing on the memorable
The Great Gig In The Sky, Waters' heavenward look to salvation. It is
this human touch that makes Pink Floyd's work more accessible than say
their best known current followers, Montreal's Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Wembley 1974, Pre-FM Master
are many versions of Pink Floyd's Wembley Arena stand and Brain Damaged
Empire [Highland] is one of the best. A complete version with Echoes exists
as Wembley 1974, Pre-FM Master [2CD] but this even better sounding version
is the censored version with the phrase "I've been mad for fucking years"
excised. The stereo here is exceedingly wide and panaromic.
You Gotta Be Crazy At Wembley
performance on November 15, the night before, most collectors would recommend
Ayanami's 2CD You've Gotta Be Crazy At Wembley, which includes the Wish
You Were Here preview.
the last night at Wembley, November 17, the 3CD Amazing Wembley [Ayanami]
is the best choice. It also includes the Wish You Were Here segment. Both
the shows on Nov 15 and 17 are as far as we know, audience recordings.
Black Holes In The Sky
is a recording of the complete show on the 16th called Black Holes In
The Sky [no label, LP sleeve] that combines an audience recording of the
Wish You Were Here segment with the BBC broadcast of the Dark Side Of
The Moon. This show should not be mistaken for the similarly titled Great
Dane version. The Great Dane version has the show on the 15th. Happy collecting.
- Michael Cheah
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