AUSTRALIAN TOUR RECOLLECTIONS
Report By Guy Hughes
Pink Floyd first performed in
Australia on Friday 13th August 1971, at Melbourne Festival Hall, and
on Sunday 15th August at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.
arrived in Australia on 11th August 1971, and at Melbourne Airport they
were interviewed by Gary Mac for Go-Set (a 24 page music newspaper).
Australian journalists, not realising that the Floyd disliked talking
about the music, actually received a couple of decent interviews with
all the members of the band. Mac's interview plus a review of the
Melbourne concert appeared in the Saturday, 28th August 1971 edition of
Go-Set (volume 6, number 35).
The Rock Concert Club of
Australia was responsible for bringing Pink Floyd down under on this
occasion, but their promotion left a lot to be desired. The resulting
audiences put Floyd off coming here again. At each gig, the Rock
Concert Club put 10" round, purple leaflets on every seat, telling the
audience that if they were members of the club they could have seen the
band for free. I am sure that the Floyd were unimpressed by this.
The Melbourne Festival Hall is
renowned for its poor sound, but the Floyd along with their quad sound
were able to overcome the hall's shortcomings. The hall was only about
half full owing to almost non-existant promotion. At both concerts Pink
Floyd were supported by other bands, a very rare occurrence indeed!
Pirana came on first and played for one hour followed by Lindsay
Bourke. Both bands were well below the Floyd standard of extreme
After a ten minute break (9:30pm
approx), Pink Floyd came on stage and Roger announced "Good evening.
This is called Atom Heart Mother". They then went into a sixteen minute
non-orchestrated performance of the piece. After a minute or so of
tuning up, Roger announced, "We're just going to retune then we're
going to do two things together. The first of which is a song from the
soundtrack from the film More, which I hear was banned over here, and
it's called Green Is The Colour. And the second is an instrumental
called Careful With That Axe, Eugene". Both songs together lasted
fourteen and a half minutes. This was either the last, or the
penultimate, performance of Green Is The Colour (I'm not sure if it was
played in Sydney).
After that, Roger said "This next
thing is a new piece, and it's called Echoes. And it's going to take us
a minute or two to get it together because one of our lenses has burnt
out". This was the first time it was announced as "Echoes" (and lasted
twenty two minutes), but it still had the alternate lyrics for the
first verse and chorus, and the quick ending without the multi-tracked
choir as at the Montreaux 1971 gig.
The band then played a twelve and
a half minute Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun without
announcing it. They then played an eleven minute Cymbaline before Roger
proclaimed "Okay. This is going to be our last tune. Thank you all for
coming. It's called A Saucerful Of Secrets and we'll see you again some
time". Unfortunately the original tape ran out after five and a half
minutes into Saucerful. The show was recorded about fifty yards from
the stage using a Sony TC80 mono portable cassette recorder, smuggled
in a schoolbag, and a normal position BASF cassette (chrome wasn't
available in 1971)!
the Melbourne concert out of the way, Pink Floyd made their way to
Sydney for an afternoon performance at Randwick Racecourse. Before they
went on stage, they were interviewed for the GTK (Get To Know)
programme in one of the rooms at Randwick (see transcription in the
Pink Floyd Interviews section of this site). The GTK programme was a
short (five to ten minute) music show that was screened weeknights
before the 6pm news. The Floyd interview lasted for nearly nine
minutes. This is the only interview on film that features all four
members talking together!
As yet, no audio recording of the
Sydney concert has surfaced, but the GTK programme aired a two minute,
fifteen second film with audio taken from the Ummagumma version of
Careful With That Axe, Eugene. This showed the band surrounded by the
audience with the cameraman at the top of the stands, achieving good
closeups of the band, stage, and audience. It is not known how much of
the concert was filmed, but this segment is all that has survived. The
third part of the GTK show was a two and a half minute clip for Set The
Controls using the Saucerful album version. It featured three girls
running around in the desert and is an Australian only promo. This was
broadcast after the band left Australia on Tuesday 17th August 1971.
No one here (Australia) who saw
the Floyd in 1971 knows anything about a 1972 tour. I am still seeking
information on this, but I believe the March 1972 dates were cancelled
as was the Japan gig on the 11th March 1971.
Note: This article first appeared in Brain Damage Magazine
Report by Peter Calcroft
I, too, attended the Sydney show
in question, in 1971. Unfortunately it was a very poor show, and the
author above is right in blaming the organisers... it was not at all
the fault of the band.
There was a gale force wind
blowing across the audience and the band was huddled together on a
small, makeshift stage that barely contained their equipment. The
sound, that we the audience heard, was just a loud din, barely
recognisable as music. I can still remember the look of frustration and
distress on David Gilmour and Roger Waters faces as they tried to make
the best of the appalling conditions. I made up for it, however, by
seeing them again, under ideal circumstances this time, whilst visiting
the UK some years later. This later show remains one of the main
highlights of my more than thirty years of concert going.
Please understand, though, I was
only thirteen years old at the time, and had not yet developed any
sense of the importance of what I was witnessing on that day in 1971.
However, even as a boy, I was quite perceptive and able to recognise
the fact that the problems of that afternoon were not of the bands'
What also surprised me was the
small size of the crowd. I don't know the exact numbers but it couldn't
have been more than four or five thousand people. That, and the "host",
"on-stage announcer", call him what you will, pleading with the crowd,
"Please, people, The Pink Floyd are perfectionists!". This, in response
to the moans and groans from the audience about the delays in getting
the show started.