Recorded between 1970 and 1972, the records immortalize performances across Europe, the United States, and Canada. Most of the sets draw from Pink Floyd’s albums Atom Heart Mother (1970), Meddle (1971), and Obscured by Clouds (1972), but the collection also features early performances of songs from their 1973 classic The Dark Side of the Moon; a 1972 Tokyo gig sees the band perform the album almost in its entirety, a year before its release.
While these performances are clearly looser than the notoriously meticulous band’s studio recordings, they also reveal how intense Pink Floyd’s live shows could be. “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” runs for 15 minutes in that Tokyo show, and “Atom Heart Mother” comes complete with the record’s opening horns. It’s also a kick to hear the cash register noises in “Money” recreated in a live setting for an audience who isn’t even expecting it.
Pink Floyd may have released these live albums to extend their copyright periods, Rolling Stone explains. A rep for Sony told the magazine, “The copyright law in Europe was recently extended from 50 to 70 years for everything recorded in 1963 and beyond. With everything before that, there’s a new ‘Use It or Lose It’ provision. It basically said, ‘If you haven’t used the recordings in the first 50 years, you aren’t going to get any more.’” The band likely released the EP 1965: Their First Recordings in 2015 for the same reason.
Here is the full list of titles:
They Came in Peace, Live, Leeds University 1970 Washington University 1971
Live at Grosser Saal, Musikhalle, Hamburg, West Germany 25 Feb 1971
Mauerspechte Berlin Sportpalast, Live 5 June 1971
Live, Lyon 12 June 1971, Tokyo 16 March 1972
Live in Rome Palaeur 20 June 1971
Amsterdamse Bos Free Concert 26 June 1971 (Live)
Live in Montreux 18 & 19 Sept 1971
KB Hallen, Copenhagen, Live 23 Sept 1971
KB Hallen, Copenhagen, Vol II, Live 23 Sept 1971
Over Bradford Pigs on the Groove Bradford University, Live 10 Oct 1971
Embryo, San Diego, Live 17 Oct 1971
The Screaming Abdabs Quebec City, Live 10 Nov 1971
That’s not the only surprise from Pink Floyd this week, however. The band has also announced the impending release of a restored and re-edited version of their concert film, P.U.L.S.E. Originally released in 1995, P.U.L.S.E. was recorded during the European leg of “The Division Bell Tour.” Available on February 18th, the P.U.L.S.E. concert film will be available as 2x Blu-ray and 2x DVD deluxe box sets, featuring video footage re-edited by Aubrey Powell/Hipgnosis from the original tape. Pre-orders are now ongoing.
Pink Floyd also recently released an updated version of their 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason back in October. Soon after, drummer Nick Mason — who has compared Roger Waters to Stalin — announced a run of North American tour dates for 2022. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster.