Pink Floyd – Live At The Empire Pool Wembley 1974

Looking at classic albums came out 1973 (because everyone loves a 50th anniversary re-release don’t they), one name really does stand out. That is ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ by Pink Floyd. I had a think about what I could post to celebrate the anniversary of this release? How about a live album based around the concert recorded for the BBC performed at the Empire Pool (now Wembley Arena) back in 1974. Why pick this? Well, up until this point, it has never seen an official release as a stand alone release, having been put out piecemeal on the Immersion Edition’s and ‘Early Years’ box set over the last ten years. If it hd been released back in the day, say early 1975, it would have been a nice stop gap between ‘Dark Side’ and whatever the band were planning on releasing as their next album. I say this because ‘Dark Side’ was such an albatross around the bands neck at this point, they did not have that many ideas knocking about as that what their next album should be. There was a proto version of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ which would be the centre piece of the next album they would eventually release in the shape of ‘Wish You Were Here’. There was also the infamous abandoned project, ‘Household Objects’ which saw the band used sounds such as wine glasses filled with water, elastic bands tuned to sound like a bass guitar and aerosol cans instead of hi hats. Needless to say, common sense prevailed on this one and the band just picked up their actually instruments and produced another classic album.

So, what material could be included in this release? Well, the whole of the ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ album of course. I was a bit reluctant to follow the actual LP when it came to sequencing this album. That was because the second side of ‘Dark Side’ clocked in at over 31 minutes. Not only is this very long for an LP, especially in the 70s, but Pink Floyd were always keen to present their music in the best sound quality as possible. 31 minutes on an LP would compromise the fidelity some what. Anyway, I would start thing off with ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’. Even at this stage, the song clocked in at over 20 minutes so that would take up the whole side of an LP. Sides 2 and 3 would follow the ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ album. Side 4 would include the encore, ‘Echoes’. 

A double album would be the perfect format for this album. However, it could have been a potential triple because there were two songs which I did not include. These were ‘Raving & Drooling’ and ‘You’ve Got To Be Crazy’, early version of songs that would eventually appear on the ‘Animals’ album. Both were quite long, but ‘Raving & Drooling’ was only 12 minutes long so this additional disc would be quite short in comparison to the other two. Triple albums are quite rare even though not unheard of at the time. For example, ‘Wings Over America’ from Wings was a live triple and that came out in 1976. 

Why did Pink Floyd not release this at the time? Essentially, they would be releasing the same material they had release just over a year before. Even though this was a live version of ‘Dark Side’, this would not have been seen as good value for their fans who had only just purchased the original LP. It would also have released a track that would be on their next album in the shape of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’. Why put songs out that you may wish to out out on your next album before you have even recorded it?

Anyway, not long after I had written this entry together, Floyd announced that they were putting the ‘Dark Side’ part of this concert as a stand alone release as part of their own 50th anniversary celebrations. It would be interesting to hear what Side 2 sounds like considering how much music there is on there. 

Side 1

  1. Shine On Your Crazy Diamond

Side 2

  1. Speak To Me
  2. Breathe (In The Air)
  3. On the Run
  4. Time
  5. The Great Gig In The Sky

Side 3

  1. Money
  2. Us & Them
  3. Any Colour You Like
  4. Brain Damage
  5. Eclipse

Side 4

  1. Echoes

What amazes me that when I was looking into this is that the band had been performing the ‘Dark Side Of the Moon’ album in its entirety (granted, not in its final form) a whole year before the studio album came out. What successful band these days would preview their new album before it had even been recorded int he studio. They did not learn their lesson as songs previewed during the 1974 tour would contain songs, some of which would not been recorded in the studio until three years later. 

The cover was taken from a post by andrewskyDE on a Steve Hoffman post regarding this album. 

One Reply to “Pink Floyd – Live At The Empire Pool Wembley 1974”

  1. IIRC Gilmour takes a gorgeous solo on the intro to ‘Breathe’, quite possibly the only intentional divergence between the studio album and the live act.

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