Saturday, February 11, 2017
Earls Court Exhibition Hall
The Last Bell
Free Range Pigs (FRP CDR-024/25)
The exact lineage for this recording is: Aiwa Cassette>Aiwa Mic>Master Cassette>CDR>EAC>CEPro>CDWav>SHN.
01. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
02. Learning To Fly
03. High Hopes
04. Take It Back
05. Coming Back To Life
07. Keep Talking
08. Another Brick In The Wall (Part Two)
09. One Of These Days
01. Speak to Me - Breathe
02. On The Run
03. Time - Breathe (Reprise)
04. The Great Gig In The Sky
06. Us And Them
07. Any Colour You Like
08. Brain Damage
10. Wish You Were Here
11. Comfortably Numb
12. Run Like Hell
In November of 2001, our friend David Le Hunte (aka Massed Gadget) sent us a copy of this show from what was then known as the best recording of this date. I spent some time cleaning it up
and, ultimately, improved its sound quality. Notably, 'Speak To Me' was over seven minutes long with about six minutes being just the heartbeat...
Anyway, back to our story. While on the job, our pal Gonzo set out to find the best possible recording, and over time uncovered the master that we've used for this release. It comes from a generous taper who wishes only to be known as JCE (oooh, the mystery) to us. However, he has our deepest thanks and appreciation for this rare find. To my ears, this is the finest audience recording of the 1994 European Tour.
This show was indeed the "Last Bell" to date for Pink Floyd as a group, as this is the final 1994 show that they performed, as well as the last full performance of Dark Side Of The Moon. The show was a benefit for Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and others. The recording is an enjoyable listen from start to finish.
This is a powerful document that stands on its own, since it is possibly one of the best audience recordings of the 1994 Division Bell Tour. The crowd was rather quiet that night, which contributed to a very decent recording that boasts excellent quality throughout. There is nice mix and balance throughout. The only very minor wart is the short tape flip during the early lead-in to 'Sorrow'; other than that, the show is complete.
This was the last of 14 nights that the Floyd performed at Earls Court, London, and the final night of the Division Bell tour--and as of today, the last time that Pink Floyd played live. During the run of the shows, the metal heads from the Division Bell album and CD cover were on the top of the entrance overhang at the front of Earls Court, so as you came out of the tube station, they just loomed above you--they were huge! The stone heads from the cassette cover, equally huge, were inside the foyer just behind one of the VW Golf Pink Floyd cars that had been produced--I guess it was one of the 30 Golfs that were imported into the UK.
I had got a ticket for this night because my ticket for the second night (13/10/94) was in Stand 8 which had collapsed on the opening night of the Earls Court shows (12/10/94). The two stands that collapsed weren’t replaced until the 17th I think, which was the rescheduled date for the show cancelled on the 12th. I couldn’t make that night--had to be back at work--but I was given a full refund AND a ticket exchange. The only show for which they had tickets left was for the last night, and I jumped at the chance. So this was a free show for
The show was recorded on my old Aiwa personal stereo with an Aiwa mic that came with it. It was the one that I used for quite a few of the '94 shows. The mic was a small stereo mic, which was clipped to the peak of a Pink Floyd tour baseball cap. My seat was about midway back on the right hand side, on the first block that rose from the floor--Block 6.
Whereas most of the '94 shows had the huge silver construction in the centre of the stadiums that included the mixing desk and the glitter ball, at Earls Court that wasn’t there. The glitter ball was suspended from the ceiling and was, in effect, upside down. When it came down and opened up, the effect was far better than at any other venue that I saw the show. As during the Wall shows, the ceiling had loads of flags hanging down--this time with the various head emblems that were on the artwork rather than the hammers. Apparently they were there to help the sound!
For me, this was the best '94 show that I saw, the performance of DSOTM was great, and the band seemed to really enjoy the show. Dave also embellished on quite a few tunes--'Sorrow', 'Run Like Hell' and 'One Of These Days'. There was a much lighter mood in the arena. The shows following the stand collapse had a tense atmosphere, and the performances were very staid and workmanlike, whereas this seemed to be a very relaxed performance.
Dave’s comment at the end was one that he used a few times: “We’ll see you again one of these days,” which seemed true at the time as there were rumours of a European tour in '95-like they had done in '89 after the MLOR World Tour. At the very end of the show, after the encore and during the applause, the three backing singers appeared on stage dressed in cleaning maid outfits and brooms and swept Dave, Nick and Rick off the stage.
On leaving the arena, all I really noticed was that three banks of four searchlights--one at each side of Earls Court and one on the roof--were shining their very powerful lights into the clear London sky, as people made bleating noises as we were herded down into the tube station. Enjoy the show! JCE, 30/01/03