Over the years many people have written about this groundbreaking album. Here is my personal story about what it was like to see Pink Floyd live in concert and how it inspired me to pick up a guitar.
At 11 years of age, my mother and father decided to send me to boarding school - Scarisbrick Hall, near Southport, England - which was run by husband and wife Charles and Muriel Oxley who were devout Christians.
Long hair and rock ‘n’ roll music didn’t go down very well, to say the least.
It was the 60s and even under the shadow of religious conservatism, music was very much a part of school life and where I picked up my early and most impactful influences.
By the early 70s, Wishbone Ash was all the rage and I soon developed a voracious appetite for all new rock music: Atomic Rooster (my first ever album), Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Ten Years After and of course, Pink Floyd.
The summer of 1974 was the hottest on record and I remember sitting outside in the school gardens strumming my guitar.
I had just started playing and it was never out of my hands, totally obsessed, pestering sixth-formers to teach me a song or some new chords.
I was listening to Meddle all the time, learning that lovely ascending guitar line in Fearless.
The Dark Side of the Moon was also never off the turntable and I was totally smitten with the fabulous guitar playing of David Gilmour.
Lying around in the common room was a copy of Melody Maker advertising a Floyd concert in Liverpool. I pestered my dad, who was a great supporter of my guitar playing and he bought me tickets for the gig.
I can’t remember who I went with but do remember the amazing experience.
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I distinctly remember rocking up to the Empire in Liverpool on November 29, 1974, full of expectation: I was 16.
Gigs were still pretty new to me, seeing my first - Golden Earring - with my friend, staunch musical collaborator and former bandmate Tim Wright at Liverpool Stadium on March 23rd of the same year.
But back to Floyd.
In the foyer, I dutifully bought a programme, the de rigueur back in the day. The scans of which are in this article.
There was a palpable sense of excitement in the audience as reviews from the gigs had been excellent and always the geek, I was looking forward to hearing the much talked about quadrophonic sound system. People sat reading the programme and the lights dimmed.
I couldn’t remember the exact setlist but fortunately found it online courtesy of Setlist FM. The performance totally bowled me over and not just the playing and sound, but also the light show and back projection. It was the space age and I had never witnessed anything like it!
Sheep (Early version, known as "Raving and Drooling")
Dogs (Early version, known as "You Gotta Be Crazy")
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) (Early version)
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX) (Early version)
The Dark Side of the Moon
Speak To Me
On The Run
The Great Gig In The Sky
Us And Them
Any Colour You Like
As we are now so used to special effects and sounds, it seems crazy to imagine everyone ducking as the sound of the helicopter seemingly moved from the rear, over our heads, to the front of the theatre.
The soaring female vocal in The Great Gig In The Sky - the solo in Money, were all mindbending.
I left, elated and went right back, picked up my guitar and tried to work out the 7/8 riff in Money.
There have been hundreds of articles about this album but if you are interested in finding out more with a concise look at the gear employed in making The Dark Side of the Moon, there is an excellent article written by those wonderful people at REVERB and well worth a few minutes of your time.
Of course, if you haven’t watched this video, drop everything and do it now.
The Supertone Show podcast
In episode #114 of our hour-long podcast, Suzy and I discuss, in-depth, the recording techniques, production, songwriting, lyrics and general feel of this incredible record.
Side two is featured in next week’s episode.
You can listen on Spotify, but if you are not a fan of Big Tech, all the episodes of the show are available to stream from our website.
As you have probably gathered, I love Pink Floyd and live gigs. To me, Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here are the band’s most glorious albums.
Together Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason plus the mighty Alan Parsons, who engineered the album, gave me a great insight into joyous arrangements, sensitive production, meaningful lyrics, stereo placement of instruments, rich sonic textures, analogue synthesisers and the beauty of samples.
The live performance showed me what was possible from an audio-visual perspective and along with Andy Powell from Wishbone Ash, Gilmour gave me the desire to seek out the most appropriate guitar sound and melody which serve the song.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and please do not hesitate to share your stories by commenting below.
Next week Suzy is in the saddle so to speak.