Friday, September 30, 2011

Pigs fly again, Pink Floyd is back

Pink Floyd fans rejoice.

This week has seen the release of new remastered versions of Pink Floyd's 14 studio albums (separately as well as in the "Discovery" box set), as well as a six-disc "Immersion" box set of Dark Side of the Moon, the band's greatest (in my view) album. There's also a smaller "Experience" version of Dark Side. In addition to the regular studio album, both feature a live performance of the album from 1974 (Wembley). Needless to say, the "Immersion" set includes a great deal more, including different mixes and unreleased early versions of some of the songs. Similar versions of Wish You Were Here will be released in November. The Wall is set for release in February.

I'll probably end up buying the "Discovery" set, if only because I need to own every Pink Floyd release (or re-release). What can I say, I collect Pink Floyd stuff. I have everything on CD, of course, but I also have a fairly large collection of books, magazines, (original) vinyl, tapes, and posters, as well as various items like candles, incense, drinking glasses, etc. No, I'm not the hardest of hardcore fans, but I'm up there for sure. But what's really exciting about these "Immersion" sets, all of which include collectibles along with the discs and books, is all the previously unreleased material that at long last is being made available.

Pink Floyd is notoriously careful, probably in a good way, when it comes to protecting its music -- the official releases are the official releases, Dark Side is Dark Side, etc. But this means that we haven't been able to get hold of early and alternate versions (as, for example, are in the wonderful Beatles Anthology), nor old live performances, except through bootlegs (which are generally of bad quality and hardly complete). The "Immersion" sets don't include nearly enough, in my view, to satisfy fans like me, but they're a great start. And, after such a long wait, I'll take whatever I can get.

I hardly need to recommend Pink Floyd to you... or maybe I do. Whether you don't know much about them at all or haven't listened to them in a long time, now is a good time to get to know them. Go listen to Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall, then other albums like Meddle, Animals, The Final Cut, and The Division Bell. Or go back to the beginning, to the psychedelia of "Arnold Layne," "See Emily Play," and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Or go find Pulse, the live concert album (and DVD) of their great Division Bell tour (which I saw in Boston). And, if you can, go see Roger Waters, the band's bassist and main songwriter, perform The Wall. I've seen it twice and hope that he comes back to North America for more. It's incredible.

(And check out their YouTube page, with all sorts of great clips.)

And for now, just for a taste, watch this:

(Photo from The Globe and Mail.)

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