Roger Waters - bass, vocals; David Gilmour - guitar, vocals; Rick Wright - keyboards, vocals; Nick Mason - drums; Dick Parry - sax, keyboards; Snowy White - guitar, bass
Pink Floyd's 1977 tour is widely considered to be one of the band's most memorable. Following the truly massive sales of Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here, the Animals album had not been as commercially successful, but the group's popularity was at an all-time peak. The tour sold out arenas and stadiums across North America and Europe, eclipsing all previous scale and attendance records. The tour was also the first since 1972 that the group did not use backing singers, with the only augmentation to the core band being Snowy White adding guitar and occasional bass parts and Dick Parry playing sax and occasional keyboards. The shows were structured so that the band played the Animals album, in a different sequence, during the first set and following an intermission, performed the entire Wish You Were Here album in its exact running order. The encore would usually consist of either "Money" or "Us And Them" from Dark Side Of The Moon.
With technology and audiences both at a monumental scale, the tour was not without problems. Technical issues plagued many of the shows and audience members were often disruptive by yelling and screaming during quiet passages or by setting off fireworks. However, when the band landed in California for a two-night stand at the Oakland Coliseum, these were not issues. The first night, May 9, 1977, is often considered to be one of the greatest performances of the band's career. The band members seemed to enjoy the show just as much as their rapt audience. This show turned out to be the longest of any show on the tour, with the band delivering two powerful sets, followed by both Dark Side Of The Moon songs. The audience was so enthusiastic that the group returned to the stage and performed "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" for the first time since 1973 and for last time ever.
Bill Graham's partial soundboard recording of this legendary performance begins near the end of the first set, approximately eight minutes into the final sequence of "Pigs (Three Different Ones)." The piece is relaxed but focused, with Rick Wright's spooky synth and one of the band's heavier jams highlighting this set-ending performance.
Following the intermission, the show resumes with the Wish You Were Here album performed in its entirety. Fans of this album will be thoroughly delighted as this is a near flawless performance, with all the songs held together by extended sonic interludes. Prior to the vocals, the first part of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" has a distinctly bluesier edge than its studio counterpart and David Gilmour's guitar playing remains superb throughout the set. He even approaches jazz territory in his soloing during the later parts of this song, when they return to it later in the set. In between are poignant renditions of "Welcome To The Machine" and "Wish You Were Here" and a truly powerful performance of "Have A Cigar." On the latter, Roger Waters and David Gilmour are both laughing through much of the first verse, further exemplifying the camaraderie and good feelings that permeate this night's performance.
Following the Wish You Were Here album and an overwhelming roar of approval, Pink Floyd offers the audience a double dose from Dark Side Of The Moon. It begins with the familiar sound of change hitting a cash register. "Money" lasts a full ten minutes and features a memorable jam within. Waters informs the audience that the last song will be quiet one and the familiar synth sound leads into the spacey free-floating groove of "Us And Them" to close the show. Unfortunately, the soundboard tape runs out a few minutes in.
Certainly one of the strongest, most cohesive performances of the 1977 Tour and possibly the greatest performance of the Wish You Were Here album ever. The group would never perform another tour that so richly emphasized this material. They would also be augmented by additional musicians on future concerts, diluting the sound of the core band. Many fans consider this tour to be the greatest of the band's career and this concert to be the definitive show of that tour.
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