Pink Floyd 1973 concert streams

It's that time of year again for Pink Floyd's biggest fans. As they did at the end of 2021 and of 2022, the Floyd have released a large number -- 18, to be exact -- of full-length concert recordings to streaming services. This year's offerings consist of 18 shows recorded in 1973, the year in which their landmark album Dark Side Of The Moon was released. The first of these 18 concerts took place on March 6th of that year, just a few days after the release of the album. The last two of them took place the following November 4th, both performed at London's Rainbow Theatre.

Why have they done this? Reportedly, the release of these recordings extends copyright ownership for a longer time, whereas the legal rights to the recordings would expire and fall into public domain if the owners did not make use of them before a certain date. A Sony representative explained it this way to Rolling Stone magazine in 2013:

“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.’”

And this seems to be the only immediate reason for the digital release of the concerts, because the band has once again been as quiet as can be about the "copyright dump", which is presumably done not so much so that the concerts can be heard, but so that the band can maintain ownership of the legal rights. The similar digital releases from 2021 and 2022 have since been removed from streaming services, and these 1973 concerts will undoubtedly soon meet the same fate -- probably any day or week now. So, fans had once again better get cracking on listening to the concerts before they are gone. (Hint: If you are using Spotify, look under Pink Floyd's compilations tab, and scroll down to the year 1973). Here is the list of the current release titles:

  • Live at Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, USA - 6 March 1973
  • Live at Chicago International Amphitheatre, USA - 7 March 1973
  • Live at University of Cincinnati, USA - 8 March 1973
  • Live at Kent State University, USA - 10 March 1973
  • Live at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada - 11 March 1973
  • Live at Boston Music Hall, USA - 14 March 1973
  • Live at Radio City Music Hall, New York, USA - 17 March 1973
  • Live at Earls Court, London, UK - 18 May 1973
  • Live at Earls Court, London, UK - 19 May 1973
  • Live at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, USA - 17 June 1973
  • Live at Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, USA - 18 June 1973
  • Live at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, USA - 20 June 1973
  • Live at Sportatorium, Hollywood, USA - 28 June 1973
  • Live at Tampa Stadium, USA - 29 June 1973
  • Live at Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany - 12 October 1973
  • Live at Vienna Stadthalle, Austria - 13 October 1973
  • Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK (early show) - 4 November 1973
  • Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK (late show) - 4 November 1973

Most, if not all, of these concerts are sourced from bootlegs, so the recording quality often tends to be poor, with varying degrees of distracting audience chatter. There is sometimes an upside to the not-so-clear sound quality: the dreamlike qualities of the performances can sometimes seem even more dreamlike when they are heard through a distant haze. Still, only die-hard fans are likely to want to listen to any of these lengthy concerts in their entirety, and only obsessive fanatics will desire to binge on the whole shebang before it all disappears.

Indeed, the 18 concerts have nearly identical set lists, basically consisting of all the songs and instrumentals from Dark Side, a few selections from the previous album Obscured By Clouds, and a few earlier selections (including the always very lengthy "Echoes"). For example, the track list below is the one for the first concert in St. Louis. The set lists for the later concerts usually consisted of those same selections, sometimes in the same order, sometimes with a few omitted from shorter shows. After the first three concerts, the band would perform "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" in place of "Childhood's End".

1. Echoes
2. Obscured By Clouds
3. When You're In
4. Childhood's End *
5. Careful With That Axe, Eugene
6. Speak To Me
7. Breathe (In The Air)
8. On The Run
9. Time
10. The Great Gig In The Sky
11. Money
12. Us And Them
13. Any Colour You Like
14. Brain Damage
15. Eclipse
16. One Of These Days

* - After the first three concerts, "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" was performed instead of "Childhood's End".

Despite the lack of disparity in setlists, this is a golden yet fleeting opportunity for anyone who has an interest in hearing full-length Dark Side-era Floyd concerts. And it is certainly interesting to catch an audio glimpse of the band in action during that major moment in rock history. Still, it's less significant to listen to these just-after-the-fact performances of the Dark Side material than it was to listen to the material being fine-tuned on the road during the 1972 concerts released in last year's drop. I did not listen to all of these 1973 concerts in their entirety -- and I don't intend to -- but I can give a few quick suggestions based on my personal samplings of the streams. Skip the aforementioned St. Louis concert date, and opt instead for the second one recorded in Chicago; it has the exact same set list with slightly better sound quality. The Boston show and the second of the two Earls Court shows (from 5/19/73) are two of the better shows in terms of decent sound quality, although musically -- like many of the other shows -- they are both front-loaded with long stretches of prog jamming. Some of the other better-recorded shows are the ones from the Sportatorium in Hollywood (Florida, not California), New York's Radio City Music Hall, and Austria and Germany (both of which seem to suffer from less crowd noise than most of the American concerts). Ones to skip: The Jersey City show is unlistenably muddy, with particularly off-putting crowd noise making it worse; the Sarasota Springs show is another of the muddier ones; and the two London Rainbow Theatre concerts are both annoyingly muffled.

Remember to keep an eye out at the end of next December for possible availability of streams of Pink Floyd concerts from 1974, when they played seven summer tour dates in France, and 20 winter dates in the U.K.