Who Was Trained Not to Spit on the Fan?
Montreal, Quebec - July 6, 1977 (HRV CDR 023)
Gerhard: I remember way back when, when I started to collect Pink Floyd RoIOs, my first goal was to get a RoIO of every tour (or of every year, whichever was less). Certain tours (such as Lapse of Reason, Pros and Cons, and The Wall) were easy to find, and some were a bit harder but not too difficult. But the Animals tour turned out to be more elusive, of which (at least in my small group of Floyd fans) no one had heard anything about.
But as I got to know more people and more places to find RoIOs, I eventually managed to get my hands on a 1977 RoIO, too fast and incomplete, but even so a very pleasant surprise.
Around the same time (before I discovered Echoes) I got to know more and more about the history of Pink Floyd, and (of course) found out about the spitting incident in Montreal. Getting a tape (yes, this was in the pre-CDR era) of this show became a Floyd quest to keep myself busy.
Philippe: I've also been a longtime collector, but I've only collected in the CDR format, since about 1992. But unlike you, one of the first shows I was able to buy on CD was an Animals tour CD: Oakland 05/09/77, which is still one of my favorite shows of all time.
Gerhard: Ahh... Oakland '77... That was one of the first RoIOs I got my hands on that "wowed" me. Excellent performance and excellent (well, much better than average) sound quality.
Philippe: Before I started collecting I knew quite a bit about Floyd history and therefore also the circumstances surrounding the Montreal gig. For years this show was my Holy Grail, and for years it remained an impossible quest. I even began to think that there weren't any recordings of this gig circulating. This is, after all, one of the most important shows in Floyd history, and I suspected that the tape would have been hoarded.
Gerhard: Years passed, and I eventually managed to get my hands on this show, and with the help of some kind big-time collectors I even got my hands on better and different versions of these recordings. Each of the tapes known in circulation had its pros and its cons (bad sound, tape warble, incompleteness, etc.).
Eventually, I made myself a mix-and-match tape out of the 3 different versions I had, although I later realized that 2 versions were from the same source, but both had suffered from different kinds of generational loss so they sounded like 2 different sources by the time I got them. (As a side note, a copy of this Frankentape was given to Snowy White (though not by me) which is not really relevant at all, but I just wanted to mention it.)
As more years passed, CDR RoIOs became popular and certain people started dedicating time and effort into creating the best-sounding and as-complete-as-possible CD RoIOs.
Philippe: That was fortunate for freaks such as ourselves. One of the first shows I requested from someone else's trading list was Azimuth Coordinator Vol. 2, which is a surprisingly good recording. I thought my quest had ended.
Gerhard: I think we can safely say that Azimuth Coordinator Vol. 2 was a test for this RoIO... or maybe it's more fair to say that this Harvested Records set is an improved version of that release. They did what I had done years ago, although much, much, much, better.
Philippe: This is indeed an unexpected improvement over the 'old' versions of this recording. RonToon and company did a great job in creating a very enjoyable listening experience. This is (so far) the ultimate version of this infamous show. It also shows that besides being a historic performance, it's also an absolutely brilliant one. The performance is at moments very inspired and certainly one of their most vicious of the tour.
Who Was Trained Not to Spit on the Fan?
Montreal, July 6, 1977 Disc 1 Disc 2
Gerhard: This two-disc set is clearly made from those tapes that show the most of the music and the least of the audience noise, which is a good thing, as the audience during this show was loud.
Philippe: That's right. This can still be heard towards the end of the set. But almost until the encores you almost wonder why Roger was getting so worked up about the crowd.
Gerhard: I shall dig up my old tapes of this show... On the other recording the audience is at times as bad as the Miami audience. (That RoIO is also called In The Flesh, and most of the time there is someone in the audience yelling to "keep your fucking head down''.)
Philippe:Oh yes; another favorite recording of this tour, with the absolute highlight being a guy near the taper who yells during the Wish You Were Here set: "They're just playing the record... Hey, we didn't come hear to hear no record... I can go home and play the record!"
But back to the Montreal show... during the encores it becomes clear that the people were completely out of control. No wonder Roger felt alienated after this show.
Gerhard: You've gotta love these fantastic North American crowds: they're partly responsible for The Wall. Good thing that they're not that audible on this release because otherwise we wouldn't be able to hear this fantastic performance.
Philippe: Enough talk about the circumstances. On with the review of the music.
"Sheep" / "Pigs on the Wings, Part 1" / "Dogs"
Gerhard: The first three songs of this show are performed well. The audience is noisy, but the band is in good form (despite what Dave Gilmour later said) and they are setting off for a good show.
Philippe: This recording starts off with aeroplane sounds, probably from a pre-show tape playback to demonstrate the capacities quadrophonic sound system. It immediately segues into the low bass notes and organ sounds of "Sheep". The performance is quite good, but not earth-shattering and not that different from the album, except for a nice outro which unfortunately drags on for just a bit too long.
"Pigs On The Wing, part 1" is next, and is a normal performance. At this point the crowd even sounds quite calm, though that may sound deceiving, if we can believe Roger later on.
"Dogs" starts off almost too quietly but soon swells up into the motherf*cker of the song that it really is. Gilmour really shines on this: all his guitar solos sound even nastier and louder than usual on this tour, and that's saying something. It's also interesting that the verse after the long instrumental middle part is sung by David instead of Roger, as on the album. The ending climax is mighty impressive here, with Roger's "Who was" list being punctuated by David's very aggressive playing.
Gerhard: David and Snowy... there's 2 guitars on "Dogs", and the second was played by Snowy White. If I remember the interviews correctly, Snowy played mostly rhythm and Dave did most of the solos except for the second half of "Shine On" and "Money" where they traded the solos.
Philippe: Yes indeed, but on "Dogs" it's almost all Gilmour: as far as I can tell Snowy only gets to play along on the 2 guitar duets (the ones right after the 2nd verse and before the final verse).
"Pigs on the Wings, Part 2"
Philippe: After this we get a very long pause, probably to give both the band and the audience time to catch some breath after that exhausting finale of "Dogs".
Gerhard: Or where Roger waits for the audience to calm down, so he can play the opening bit of "Pigs on the Wing". This is where it gets interesting. Here's a little transcript of what happens on the CDs:
Pause about 95 seconds (crowd whistling and screaming, some fireworks and an air horn in the audience going off)
First chord of "Pigs on the Wing" (pause about 10 seconds)
(It is as if Roger is trying to tell the audience to be quiet so he can start the song by strumming the first chord.)
First chord of "Pigs on the Wing" (pause about 10 seconds)
Philippe: Ironically, at this point we can hear someone near the taper saying "Where's good old Syd?" Funny, because right after this Roger would almost behave like Syd himself. ;-)
Gerhard: "Pigs on the Wing, part 2" starts...
"You know that I care..."
BOOOOOM!!! (Firework goes off. On the other tape we have of this show, the explosion is close to the taper. It probably exploded pretty much in front of the stage.)
Roger stops playing and says, "Oh, for fuck's sake! Stop lighting off fireworks and shouting and screaming... I'm trying to SING A SONG!"
(The crowd starts applauding and screaming louder)
"I mean I don't care..."
"If you don't want to hear it... You know....
"FUCK You, I'm sure there are a lot of people here who DO want to hear it..."
(The crowd starts applauding and screaming louder.)
"So why don't you just be quiet..."
"If you want to light your fireworks off... go outside and light them off out there... and if you want to shout and scream, well then go and do it out there... but... I am trying to sing a song that SOME people want to listen to...
"I WANT to listen to it."
Philippe: I know that this is a major event in Floyd history and probably even a turning point in their career (well, Roger's career at least), but I can't help but laugh out loud each time I hear this incident. Roger reminds me so much of one of my old English teachers who used to tell stories and anecdotes which to him were quite amusing and/or interesting, but not so to the rest of us. So each time he realized we weren't paying attention he would throw a tantrum not unlike the one Roger is throwing here.
Gerhard: But did your teacher then get revenge by writing an 80-minute magnum opus ?
Philippe:No, worse than that: sometime in June we had to come to him and he would ask us questions and based on our answers of those questions he would give us grades which at the time were thought to be very important, but now seem extremely trivial. I believe this method of torture is called an exam.
(Fortunately for me my nowledg of the Englisj lanjuage, speling and gremmaar complete flawles has been alwais.)
Of course the difference is that unlike my old teacher's stories "Pigs on the Wing" is actually worth listening to, but it still remains funny.
The odd thing is that apart from that big explosion on this recording there doesn't really seem to be any real reason for this angry speech. The crowd at the Madison Square Garden gigs from a few days before sounded much louder and disrespectful. I guess that this was the result of a culmination of anger raised after the previous shows. Roger was probably already in a mood that even the slightest disruption at this point would have set him off.
Gerhard: As I said before, you really should listen to the "other'' tape from this show to get a feel for just how loud, boisterous, and annoying the audience is.
Finally, "Pigs on the Wing, part 2" starts again.
Philippe: It's also very strange that after this major incident he's able to sing "Pigs on the Wing" very nicely, as if nothing had happened. Quite a good show of professionalism! (for now)
"Pigs (3 Different Ones)
Gerhard: It might be my imagination (especially since we know what is going to happen) but this version of "Pigs" sounds more angry and venomous than most (if not all) of the other '77 shows. The Oakland version (which is also excellent) for one, is more "mellow'', although that probably is an odd choice of word for this song.
Philippe: Exactly. If I could mix my ideal version of this song I would take most of this recording (until the end of Roger's ranting) and then the end of the Oakland show: the build-up and climax are much better there.
But the parts before that are absolutely stunning here, once again highlighted by Gilmour's vicious playing. Listen especially to the first guitar solo in the middle part.
Gerhard: During the last verse Roger plays the numbers game again and shouts "90 61" (or maybe "19 61"; it's hard to tell) [at about 13:10].
Philippe: During the guitar solo after this the crowd goes absolutely apeshit. Probably never seen a flying pig before? :-) Gilmour effortlessly holds his own ground in this sea of noise. After that the song is quieting down somewhat and then something peculiar (and unique to this show) happens:
Gerhard: The song comes to a close and Roger shouts [around 17:00]:
"Come back PIG!!!!!
"All is forgiven!"
"Come on boy!"
[whistle] (as if to call someone to him, like a dog or a FAN)
"Come on son..."
"Just a little further on to the yard"
"Yeaaaaaa!!!!!" (followed by the same strange noises he used to make during "Careful With That Axe, Eugene")
"Cat got hold of your tongue?"
"There's a good boy."
"Come on son."
"Good boy, good boy."
Gerhard: There has been a bit of discussion about whether this was the moment where he spat on the kid. On the other hand, this is the bit in the show where the inflatable pig was dragged out, and finally exploded (at least during outdoors shows like the Montreal gig).
Philippe: Yeah, I'm also not really convinced this is the point where he spits on the 'fan'. It could be that the shouting was directed at that fan, but it's more likely that he was talking to the pig. Based on this recording (or other recordings) it's simply impossible to tell at what point in the show he spat. And unless a high quality video recording of this ever surfaces I doubt we'll ever find out for sure. (Roger's memory is not always that trustworthy either.) :-)
Gerhard: "We will be back in 'vingt minutes'," says Roger, in his best French. And return they do for the Wish You Were Here set.
"Shine On You Crazy Diamond"
Philippe: The second set starts out great with the taper saying "A-ma-zing" panning from left to right in his recording gear, demonstrating how great his stereo equipment is. I had no idea these kind of effects could be recorded in those days. Weird.
Whereas the very rough and aggressive performances on this tour were ideal for the Animals material, the same style doesn't work that well for Wish You Were Here the performances are still great, but they don't fit that well with the delicate atmosphere of this album.
Case in point is the opening guitar solo of "Shine On": it's played fine, but also too loud and rough. Nonetheless, it's also a very fine, spacy rendition, making this sounding more 'live', especially compared to the post-split versions of this song by both camps. The same rough style on the other hand works very well in the solo right before the lyrics. A very solid performance.
"Welcome to the Machine"
Philippe: A very strange performance with a minimalistic instrumental playing: the bass, which usually caries this song, is not that loud and the acoustic guitar is also quite different. To be honest, I prefer the version Gilmour & Co. did in 1987-89.
Notwithstanding, the closing synth solo is a truly enjoyable listen: Wright really lets himself go here. The song ends with a tape of people yelling at a party, which is quite fitting because that's what most of disc 2 will sound like. :-)
Gerhard: I have never been too fond of the Wish You Were Here set being performed live. The first half of "Shine On" and "Welcome to the Machine" are very (very) close to the album versions. The first half of "Shine On" is one of those songs I have heard live so many times (mostly on RoIOs ) that it bores me.
Philippe: Not so for me. I adore all versions of "Shine On", especially those with Gilmour playing.
"Have a Cigar"
Philippe: A very loud and rough performance. This rendition is especially notable because Roger and David don't fuck up their vocal 'harmonies' for a change. Snowy White also gets an opportunity to shine here as he gets to play a blistering guitar solo.
"Wish You Were Here"
Philippe: On this tour they always played short snippets of local radio stations during the intro of "Wish You Were Here", which would sometimes create strange results, like on July 2nd in Madison Square Garden when the intro of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" could be heard. No funny coincidences on this performance though. But this is still a very strange version: the acoustic guitar sounds different and the acoustic solo is played with an electric guitar. Gilmour also completely changes the way he sings the song.
Gerhard: Yeah, it's nice to hear the changes that came to this song over time.
Philippe: In my humble opinion, not so for this song: if there is one song in the entire Floyd canon that is perfect as it is on the album, "Wish You Were Here" is it.
Gerhard: I'm not too fond of the live renditions of the Wish You Were here material; I'm impressed, but not thrilled. At least not until the last minute or so of "Wish You Were Here", when the wind effects kick in, and the built up into the second half of "Shine On" begins.
Philippe: Exactly. For me this outro is one of the highlights of the show, because of a combination of the wind sounds and an ethereal piano solo, which is a real goosebump moment.
"Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts VI-IX"
Philippe: After this the beginning of "Shine On" sounds very menacing. At this point we hear the Floyd doing what they're best at: slowly building up towards a grand climax (once again with Gilmour in great form) and then shifting gears completely before the lyrics without making it sound as a forced change of pace.
Gerhard: And this show is no exception, and the "Shine On" is excellent: long, drawn-out, and even features slightly different lyrics:
Nobody knows where we are
How near or how far
Shine on, you crazy diamond
Pile on many more years
And I'll be joining you there
Shine on, you crazy diamond
Philippe: The lyric change is indeed very odd. Was this a message from Waters on how they felt at this time? Probably. But what's even stranger is the way they sing it: both David and Roger are caught by an acute case of severe laugh attacks. But what is it that's so funny to them if you consider that they later both described this show as disastrous? On the other hand, listen to the way Roger sings the last "Come on ... and Shine" line. At this point it's not quite clear whether he's laughing or crying. Very peculiar.
Parts 8 and 9 are great as usual, but even more drawn out than normal, first with Gilmour in the starring role, then Snowy, and finally the two of them dueting nicely before letting Rick end the show with his emotional "tribute to Syd" synth solo.
The Obligatory Encores
Gerhard: "Money" is played as an encore.
Philippe: At this point the crowd is no longer just loud, but obnoxiously loud. They sound completely out of control. It gets even worse after "Money" has started: you can hardly hear the song anymore. It's a testament to the power of the Floyd's PA that we still can, though. This 1977 version is the most 'Rock & Roll' version of all the Floyd tours ever! This is probably because of the absence of female singers and dull-sounding synths.
I love the way the songs quiets down in the spacey middle piece and then slowly builds up towards the usual climax, which is highlighted here by some very loud fireworks, causing the crowd to go apeshit. And they wouldn't get any better after this.
Roger: Thank you very much. See you again maybe.
[Someone says, "Shall we do 'Us and Them'?"]
[a lot of noise, shouting, "We want more" ]
Roger: "Okay, we're gonna do another tune. Just 'cause there's a few arseholes down the front here, there's no need for everybody to get upset.
Philippe: Here Roger really lets us see a sarcastic and venomous side of him that he would later criticize in The Wall. I think at this point he had also lost it. It's quite possible the spitting incident had just happened before this.
Gerhard: Yes, but that conflicts with at least one interview, where he says it happened during "Pigs" and it also would not explain the lyric changes in "Shine On".
Mysteries, mysteries ...
Philippe: I can't recall an interview in which he said where it happened. But I guess you're probably right. What is clear from these comments is Roger's remorse over the way he had behaved during this show.
"And we have enjoyed it. We hope you have. As soon as everyone else gets here, we'll do one more."
[more crowd noise, "assi", "assiez vous", which is French for "sit the fuck down"]
"This tune is called 'Us & Them'. It's from Dark Side of the Moon. It's very quiet, so lets keep quiet... Try and end this thing peacefully."
Philippe: Yes, they try to do exactly that, but the audience just wouldn't let them: lots and lots of shouting and hollering, mostly asking not so kindly those in front of them to sit down. The last verse is completely marred by this disturbing behaviour. One can hardly comment on the performance because it's barely audible.
It's very understandable at this point that the band were so disappointed with this performance: up until this point the performance had been excellent, but these last two encores were really marred by this extremely rowdy crowd. I can imagine an artist would become easily disenchanted with their fans (like Roger did) and his own performance (like Gilmour did). But it's exactly this what makes this show so historic.
And the final encore...
Gerhard: The story is well known. The crowd refused to go away, and the band wanted to do an encore, but David Gilmour didn't feel their performance was good enough to deserve an extra encore, so he walked (through the crowd according to at least one source) to the mixing desk and watched the final encore from there.
It's quite clear that this took place a long time after the end of "Us and Them" because you hear some guys near the taper already talking about meeting up somewhere outside the stadium.
I have heard from people who (claimed to) have been there, that there was at least 30 minutes between "Us and Them" and the blues bit.
Roger says (sounding VERY apologetic): "Thank You!"
"Take it Easy!"
"Don't worry... about it...
"I don't... well, I do... I wish I didn't (his words echo as in "Us and Them"
Philippe: To me this sounds as if Roger realizes what a disaster this has turned out to be (both the crowd and his own behaviour).
[lots of loud applause]
"Okay! Listen... we can't do anymore of our old songs... so we're just going to play some music... you know... to go home to... for you..."
"We're not noticed as a blues band... we're just going to play a slow blues and everybody can just calm down a bit and everything will be all right."
"Thank you again for coming."
Gerhard: And then the band (with Snowy on guitar) play a slow blues song while the roadies slowly start dismantling the stage show.
Philippe: This is a very strange song to say the least. It is indeed a standard blues song that drags along normally for about 10 minutes (Snowy must have felt right at home here, being a blues player by nature) and then you start to hear less and less instruments until you only hear the bass and one or two drums from the entire kit. This must have been the band's way of saying to the obnoxious crowd: "Okay, you've had your extra encore. The show is now really over. Please kindly go the fuck away."
Gerhard: Maybe, but the roadies were literally dismantling the stage, taking away the equipment (including parts of Nick drum kit) while the band was playing.
That you can only hear the bass and two drums is because that was all that was left on stage. One report says that Roger was dragged off stage by two roadies while still playing bass. As with the previous reports from people who allegedly were there, take this as you see fit. ;)
Philippe: This recording certainly seems to confirm this story.
It's plain and simple: a recording of this show should be in each serious fan's collection. The concert is one of their most historic ever, if not THE most (I challenge you to name five Pink Floyd shows that had bigger impact on their career than this one) and the performance is absolutely brilliant, no matter what David & Roger may think. On top of that, this release has excellent sound quality, yet another great job from the Harvested team.
So, if you don't have a copy of Who Was Trained Not To Spit On The Fan? already, do yourself a favor and grab one ASAP. It's available for $50 on eBay, or you could just go and ask politely for a copy in the usual trading forums. :-)