. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Pink Floyd – Live At Gyllen Circelen, Stockholm – September 10, 1967 – Sveriges Radio.
Anyone who is a fan of Pink Floyd will no doubt know about this and probably already have it. It’s a significant discovery made several years ago by an engineer who had recorded this previously unknown and long-thought lost concert, given in Stockholm on September 10, 1967. It’s been a source of much speculation, some controversy and a lot of surprised looks.
This is one of the earliest known recordings of Pink Floyd in concert featuring original founder and writer Syd Barrett. It was made at a one-off gig at the Gyllene Circelem, ordinarily a Jazz club which doubled as a restaurant. How they managed to get booked there is a mystery, but the fact that someone was on hand to record it is something of a miracle.
Like a lot of these recordings, it was long thought lost, or never to have existed in the first place, as the original recordist was reluctant to reveal his identity, and waited until 2011 to make his treasure known.
As a result, it’s gotten a considerable amount of press attention, as well as excitement from long-time fans as well as people who have come to Pink Floyd around the Dark Side Of the Moon days onward.
Everyone who has heard it raves about how great the sound is – something else of a miracle, considering so few live recordings of bands during this time are listenable.
But there’s a catch – and it could be a big one if you aren’t already aware of it.
As has often been the case with these early live recordings, Soundboards really didn’t exist in those days. Most mixing consisted of voice microphones leaving out the rest of the band, or relying on bleed-through of the instruments to create the illusion everything was miked for the PA system. But here’s the clincher, the original recordist didn’t rely on the PA system for his mix, rather he set up his own microphones in order to adequately capture the instruments. The vocals are suspiciously missing, or mixed way in the back so as almost not to be heard. That’s frustrating – but not as much of a tragedy as you might think. Because listening very closely to what vocals there are, they are terribly off-key. Rumors at the time suggested Syd was well into his downward spiral and this may very have been one of those gigs where Syd more of less did it in automatic.
But suffice to say, this is an important document of a band in their formative stages during a pivotal time for Rock Music in general.
It’s interesting, at a recent interview, the two surviving members of Pink Floyd, Nick Mason and Roger Waters were both quoted as saying they were awful and wouldn’t have passed an audition for Britain’s Got Talent. I suspect if such a show were on British television in 1967, they wouldn’t have passed the auditions anyway. Pink Floyd were never your average Rock Band – they were well ahead of their time. And even though they were very popular in the UK from the start, it took years before they caught on in the U.S. The fact that they evolved the way they did – had the opportunity to evolve the way they did, probably speaks more to the current state of affairs with music than it did in 1967. Expectations are so much higher now, and the gift of nurturing and listening to a band grow while not being abandoned by their label, is something that just doesn’t happen these days. The expectation is that every band who calls themselves a band are expected to be life-changing out of the box – failure and pathfinding just aren’t in the lexicon for bands and musicians these days, especially the mainstream. So, I doubt very much if Nick Mason and Rogers Waters would be celebrating a long and illustrious career if the executives at EMI decided that if See Emily Play didn’t reach Number 1 in an allotted amount of time their contacts wouldn’t be renewed.
Times have changed – and formative years for a band are instructive to anyone coming along. And that’s why this particular recording of Pink Floyd, live at a Dinner-Club in Stockholm is so important.
So have a listen, and remember what I said about the vocal mikes – I was just as disappointed as you are. But the bigger picture is, this is an incredibly important document and a historic milestone.
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