Tank Malling

Smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry

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RoIO Review

KAOS on the Road (HRV CDR 015)

Colisee de Quebec - November 7, 1987

Radio KAOS. Those were dark days, weren't they?

I know I'll catch hell among some of the album's diehard fans for saying that, but so what? It's my opinion, and as I learned in grade school, opinions can't be wrong. (Although, paradoxically, that's an opinion, isn't it?) The entire music business seemed to be going through a synthetic phase of sorts during the 80s, with the newness of items like sequencers and PCs, and almost no one took that to heart more than our own Roger Waters. In an admitted bid for radio airplay and relevancy, Roger wound up making the most quickly dated album of his career.

Sure, KAOS has its moments, but too often it winds up sounding more like Duran Duran trying to be Pink Floyd and mangling it badly. The concept is a confused, muddled mess, a mere shadow of the archetypal universality of The Wall, or even the jumbled but powerful nightmare of Pros & Cons of Hitchhiking. Perhaps the most grievous sin is that the album drains its performances of all spontaneity and immediacy with its overproduced sheen (something that, fortunately, Roger was able to regain with Amused to Death, particularly through the stunning contribution of one Jeff Beck). So one's logic wouldn't be faulty for thinking that Radio KAOS might recover some of what it lost in the studio when Roger headed out on tour to support it.

But does it?


Simply put, no finer sonic document of the KAOS tour exists than the superb Harvested release KAOS on the Road (HRV CDR 015), so we should just do away with discussions of sound quality here and now. The album was culled from Westwood One broadcast tapes, and shows almost no flaws often present in documents of that sort: excessive FM hiss and pops are absent to my ears, and there aren't any obnoxious radio announcers or promos popping up (that aren't part of the show, that is). This show existed for years in single-disc form, edited down to mostly the Floyd hits from the show, on a variety of releases, including one ROIO I used to own called Goodbye Mr. Pink Floyd, which went missing in the great dorm room robbery of 1995. The good folks at Harvested expanded it to its present, though still not totally complete, form a few years back, and for my money (okay, I got it for free), it's the best KAOS RoIO. Ironically, it is missing most of the KAOS material, but you won't hear me complaining. (However, if you're looking for a more complete show, with all the KAOS fixins, you should track down KAOS Creek, also a Harvested release.)

So how does the performance rate?

A Roger Waters show is a Roger Waters show, there's no way around that. They are almost always tightly regimented affairs. Not that the latter-day Floyd shows were any less-regimented, but there always seemed to be an element of freedom to the instrumental side of things. Dave, especially, could be counted on to cut loose with his guitar solos, and the entire band always seemed to be having fun during the jammier parts of "Money", a song that a lot of hardcore Floyd fans like to flog, but the band itself nearly always seemed to enjoy playing, and I inevitably find that energy infectious.

Waters shows, by comparison, seem almost note-for-note the same as the album, or the show before. Technically, they are faultless, but they also seem lifeless, too. He only seems to escape this tendency when he has sidemen with really powerful musical personalities, like Clapton on the Pros & Cons tour, Bramhall on the recent tours, or even some of the guest stars from the Wall in Berlin show. There is no such sideman on this show. The closest we get is Paul Carrack, who, while talented, sticks to "the script," so to speak.

That's not to say that Roger doesn't have some inventive arrangements here. "Have a Cigar", "Wish You Were Here", and "Mother" all get 80s makeovers to varying degrees, "Wish You Were Here" being the most extreme of the three, though personally I like it. Roger's voice doesn't have quite the same lilt as Dave's does, so the addition of the sax gives the song a bit of balance.

The rest of the material, though, could very easily have been lifted from the albums they came from with some crowd noise thrown in. The performances are all excellent, but lack any sort of energy that one hopes for from a live concert. I'm more than willing to grant that it would be a different matter if I had been at the show, but I wasn't, and this review isn't really about that, now is it? (And, to be fair to Roger, I practically had a religious experience when I saw him at the Rosemont in Chicago, 1999, so I know he has it in him. For whatever reason, during the late 80s, he just didn't seem to bring it out much.)

But as a Floyd fan, you can't argue the setlist on KAOS on the Road. Roger does bring out many of the hits and favorites, as well as a few neat obscurities too. But apart from the interesting and somewhat moving version of "Wish You Were Here", I don't know that I can call any of them definitive, even if we're just picking from the Roger solo performances.

Harvested tacked on some interesting bonus tracks. Lacking some of the actual pieces from this show, we get a few spliced-in KAOS gems like "Molly's Song" and the "Fish Report with a Beat". There are also some demos, B-sides, and other rarities from KAOS singles, but nothing worth writing home about in my opinion.

As KAOS shows go, you could do a lot worse than KAOS on the Road, but as Roger shows, you could also do a lot better.

Patrick Keller is a staff writer for Spare Bricks, and a guest RoIO Reviewer.


Tank Malling

Mason and Fenn do it again

Mary Whitehouse would be proud.

You remember Mary Whitehouse don't you?

Mary was a big political activist back in the 1960s and '70s. Her campaigns for a return of moral values were immortalized to all Pink Floyd fans when Roger Waters penned a verse about her in his song "Pigs (Three Different Ones)".

Mary Whitehouse was a schoolteacher who, in the early '60s, began a second career as a self-appointed, and much derided, guardian of British morals. She especially worked towards cleaning up what she felt was offensive on television. If anyone trademarked the phrase "sex and violence", it was probably Mary Whitehouse. She used those words continuously in her attempts to eradicate them from British television.

Tank Malling (1988) cast & crew

Tank Malling



Sir Robert



Directed by

Music by
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Ray Winstone

Amanda Donohoe

Marsha Hunt

Peter Wyngarde

Jason Connery

Glen Murphy

James Marcus

Nick Mason and Rick Fenn

Now it's 1988; a decade has passed since Roger wrote "Pigs", and everything has gotten worse. And not just on TV. Moral decay and crime rule the day. Clubs that cater to every social depravity line the streets of London. Prostitution, murder, rape, drugs, gangs--you name it, it's everywhere. Now, enter the charismatic Sir Robert Knights--a self-proclaimed messiah. Sir Robert promises to clean up the country. All you need to do is donate to his campaign fund.

"Just give me the money and the power and I'll make all your problems go away." A tempting proposal to a public currently gripped in fear as a serial murderer known as the Soho Ripper is on a killing spree. Even a 12-year old girl is included in his list of victims. How is anyone to feel safe in this environment?

But there is the charming Sir Robert on the television. The viewing public is mesmerized by this man and all the grand things he proclaims he will do for the city. Seated with Sir Robert on the dais are a Bishop, the Chief of Police, and a Judge of equally high rank. For the people, disillusioned by the current state of affairs, the solution is obvious--make a substantial donation to Sir Robert's "Moral Revival Campaign".

But Sir Robert is not all that he appears to be. Like Mary, he too is a "charade". The church, the police, and the judges are not so much seated next to him as they are situated in his back pocket. Even the murderous Ripper is in Sir Robert's employ! It's an age-old con, but on a new scale. The unwitting public is being duped into paying what amounts to "protection" money to Sir Robert and his cronies.

But not everybody is duped by Sir Robert's organization. A reporter named John "Tank" Malling is onto Sir Robert's dirty plans. Malling recently spent a couple years in prison for printing disparaging words about Sir Robert without any proof to back up his allegations.

Trying to forget the past, Tank and his girlfriend, Salena, are busy making a new life together. When much to Salena's chagrin, Tank's ex-girlfriend Helen, an insider in Sir Robert's organization, arrives on the scene. She has seen the horrors that his people have committed. Tank's appetite to bring down Sir Robert is whetted. But what good is Helen's testimony? It is little more than "he said, she said" hearsay. Where's the proof? "The diary!" exclaims Helen. Sir Robert keeps a diary--every name, every date, every penny, all his dirty little secrets.

When the opportunity arose, Helen stole Sir Robert's diary and fled. Mr. Dunboyne, Sir Robert's lawyer and right-hand man, sends Mr. Cashman to retrieve the diary and dispose of the problem. A quick search of Helen's apartment turns up the diary, but no Helen. As Cashman pursues his leads in trying to track her down, the body count attributed to the ripper increases. That is to say, Cashman is the ripper and he slays each of his informants after obtaining what they know as to Helen's whereabouts.

I'm not sure if it was the bad acting, the bad directing, or the bad screenplay, but I somehow walked away with a negative feeling towards this film.

Meanwhile, Malling makes arrangements with a publisher to print the ugly truth about Sir Robert, but only if he can get the diary back. After enlisting the help of an old friend with safe-cracking skills, Tank infiltrates Sir Robert's guarded estate and steals back the diary.

Back at Salena's (where Helen is hiding out), Tank contemplates how it was "all too easy". Indeed it was. Unknown to Tank, Dunboyne secretly aided him in his escapade to retrieve the diary. But Tank's suspicions are too late--Cashman has succeeded in tracking them down. In quick succession, the safe-cracker, Helen, and Salena are killed. Cashman ties up Malling and brings him and the diary back to Dunboyne.

While orating some gloating words about how Tank himself has been set up to take the fall for Helen and Salena's murders, Dunboyne secretly cuts Tank's bindings and slips a pistol into his pocket. Dunboyne then departs, leaving Cashman to finish Malling off. But Dunboyne's assistance allows Tank to turn the tables on Cashman, and Cashman is killed after a lengthy brawl.

His life in ruins, his friends all dead, and finding himself wanted by the police for their murders, Tank fixates his vengeance on Sir Robert Knights; the man he knows was ultimately responsible for all of this mess. At a televised fundraiser for the Moral Revival Campaign, Tank Malling guns down Sir Robert in cold blood. Even at the end, Tank seems unaware of his being used as a pawn in a bigger game.

The film ends with Dunboyne on the phone to his mafioso boss. Dunboyne relates how everything has gone to plan, how Sir Robert is out of the way, and how he is now taken his position as secretary of the campaign. The way is now clear for him to transfer the millions of pounds in the campaign's accounts to their Swiss account. As Dunboyne laughs his ass off, the credits roll.

• • •

Well, that was different. Who says the good guys have to win all the time? I'm not sure if it was the bad acting, the bad directing, or the bad screenplay, but after first viewing this movie, I walked away with a negative feeling towards the film. That feeling has been tempered somewhat by subsequent viewings; but not enough to recommend it to anyone to go see. By far, the best thing about this film was the music.

The soundtrack for Tank Malling was provided by that dynamic duo of Nick Mason and Rick Fenn--a continuation of their collaboration after doing the soundtrack for 1987's White of the Eye.

The music is difficult to describe. It's background music. It's mood music. It's not much in the way of actual "songs". It is the appropriate music for a film soundtrack, and it does its job quite well. However, there are a few numbers capable of standing on their own. Some catchy up-tempo music is used to accompany scenes in the movie where the action takes place in a strip club. Pretty girls working the pole to the rhythm of Mason and Fenn--very nice.

But they saved the best for last. As the closing credits roll, the Rick Fenn composition "See You in Paradise" is played, as performed by Nick Mason and Rick Fenn, and featuring Maggie Reilly on vocals. Suddenly, all the money I spent to purchase this PAL formatted VHS tape and get it converted to NTSC became money well spent. All I was hoping for was a pleasant instrumental, unstepped-on by film action. What a treat: a complete song with verses and a guitar solo! A great piece that plays well extracted from the film. The only blemish being Dunboyne's laughter at the beginning.

"See you in paradise" is a catchphrase from the film, a refreshing variation of the oft used "see you in hell". "See you in paradise" are Cashman's dying words, set up earlier in the film when the song "Stranger in Paradise" by Tony Bennett is performed--the only non-Mason+Fenn music in the film.

To the best of my ability, I've transcribed the lyrics to "See You in Paradise". I'm sure there are some errors; but it's a good start. Please feel free to send me any ideas you may have for corrections.

See You in Paradise (Fenn)

You cast a shadow through the castle wall
You stare at every love arise
And to everything you conquered in this little land
You got hooks in mankind

No hope of flight in your brittle wings
Wrapped around your frozen waist
I've seen your peace deliver respite
But I see the lines in your face

When I see you in paradise
But I won't be there

I won't be there
And I'll see you in paradise
But I won't be there
I won't be there

With your evil eyes and your bushy tail
You're one step ahead of the hounds
From where I lie on this harrowed earth
I'll see you tumble down

Backed into a corner of your own design
You play for the highest stakes
But no one wins in the killing game
You'll find out far too late

And I'll see you in paradise
But I won't be there
I won't be there
And I'll see you in paradise
But I won't be there

I won't be there

What do you feel?
Do you feel at all?

Do you feel the blood run cold in your veins?
Do you sleep at night?
Do you dream of beauty?
The beauty of the beasts in a golden cage

I will see you in paradise
I won't be there

And I won't be there
And I'll see you in paradise
I won't be there
And I won't be there
I won't be there
I won't be there
And I'll see you in paradise
I won't be there
And I won't be there
I won't be there
I won't be there
And I'll see you in paradise
I won't be there
But I won't be there

Ed Paule is a staff writer for Spare Bricks


Smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry

Classic Albums DVD: The Dark Side of the Moon


"Dark Side of the Moon was an expression of political, philosophical, humanitarian empathy that was desperate to get out." So begins the new Dark Side DVD, produced by a company called Eagle Vision. Billed as 'the creative story behind the masterpiece', the DVD offers a tight, slickly-produced, 45-minute-long documentary on the album, including extensive interviews with the four Floyds, engineer Alan Parsons, mix supervisor Chris Thomas, Storm Thorgerson, music journalists, and more.

Source material is culled from a variety of sources, including these new interviews, demos, rehearsal tapes, bootlegs and soundboard recordings of pre-release performances of Dark Side, and the Live at Pompeii film. Among the real highlights, however, are the footage of Waters, Gilmour, and Wright performing various songs unaccompanied, discussing the songwriting and recording processes. Gilmour and Parsons sit at the mixing desk, breaking down the songs into their individual component tracks, and describing the effects and techniques used to give the album its distinctive sound.

If you are a Floyd fan and a fan of this album, you will almost certainly enjoy this DVD. There is tons of footage from the films used during performances of Dark Side (including an uninterrupted, unobstructed version of Ian Eames' original "Time" animation), new performances, rare insights into the lyrics and the band's responses to them, and so on. This is not the 'ultimate' Dark Side documentary (there are lots of holes in the story--the complete omission of anything about "Speak to Me" or "Any Colour You Like", for starters), but it is fantastic source material, and a truly wonderful addition to the serious fan's collection.

Mike McInnis is a staff writer for Spare Bricks.