Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wish You Were Here

So far I'm pleased with what I've heard from the new Pink Floyd remastered catalog (at least from Meddle onwards). The volume is not very loud, unlike a lot of classic rock remasters released in the market today. Which is a good thing because this doesn't compromise on the dynamic range, an important factor in the sound of any Floyd record. In order words they're not brickwalled. Wish You Were Here is the second album, after Dark Side, to receive the extended 'experience' and immersion' treatments (The Wall is coming next Feb). This time I settled for the former, because I wasn't willing to shell out extra for the blu-ray audio.

The second disc's first three tracks are worth the price of the set, all taken from the band's 1974 performance at Wembley. The sound quality here isn't perfect, but still highly listenable. These songs were played before they performed Dark Side in its entirety. Shine On You Crazy Diamond opens the set, a much unpolished live version, in a good way. And then it's followed by a song called Raving And Drooling. I'm not a big Floyd buff, so when I first heard it, I was like holy shit! -- it's the song, Sheep, still a work-in-progress at that time (more loose, different lyrics). It's by far my favorite Floyd tune, and I always get goosebumps when David Gilmour comes in full force strumming his electric guitar at its ending climax; this early live rendition contains that.

You've Got To Be Crazy is another soon-to-be-on-Animals song, which turned into the epic Dogs (they really ought to release an Animals extended edition in the future). The last three songs are from the studio; Wine Glasses taken from the abandoned Household Objects project, which would end up as the intro to Shine. This particular Have A Cigar features Roger Waters on vocals. The story was that he felt uncomfortable singing it, so he got Roy Harper to do it. Also Gilmour refused to sing it, from what I read in the Comfortably Numb biography. It's not surprising the words are still damn relevant today, a hard stab at the soulless, greedy record companies. The set concludes with a different version of the title track, with a violin taking center-stage.