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Home arrow Articles arrow Dark Side Of The Moon SACD
Dark Side Of The Moon SACD launch report Print E-mail
Written by Christopher Kluttz   
Thursday, 09 March 2006

On Monday, March 17th, 2003, I received an email from an old friend. The title said it all: "FW: Invitation to Sony and Capitol Records Press Event for Pink Floyd's DSOTM...". I dashed through the email and went right to the attachment.... on Monday, March 24th, Sony and Capitol Records would celebrate the release of the SACD version of “Dark Side of the Moon.”  What really had me was the line that the event would include special guests... my mind wandered.

Hayden PlanetariumBefore returning my friend’s email, I checked out the train schedule - I’m a few hours away from New York City.  Even though the party was on a Monday, I could get out of work... again, the “special guests” had my mind wandering. 

I booked the ticket - a long day ahead of me... up and back all in a day.  I contacted my friend and told him I was coming; we were both so excited. He was the one with me back in college when I got my first David Gilmour autograph.  He promised he wouldn’t let me get too excited at the party.

The entire week of waiting was filled with excitement, then, I got another email.  It was another forward and all my friend typed was “see below...”  There was a note from one of the reps. It said that one of the band members would be there.  I about lost it.

The rest of the week took forever!  I didn’t sleep much the entire weekend - just filled with excitement.  Finally, the day came.  I went into work for a few hours, unable to think about anything but the trip to NYC.

I took an early afternoon ride and was in NYC by 4pm or so.  I met my friend and we headed straight for the Hayden Planetarium - see photo above.  The building was beautiful, especially on the perfect, cool spring day.  The sun set through the building – some great pictures. 

sacd launchWe walked around (since we were there early) and hypothesized who’d be there.  I had my money on Waters, seeing as he has a place near NYC.  My friend hoped for Gilmour, since I’m such a big fan, he wanted to see how big of a fool I’d be if he was there.

We entered the planetarium and immediately noticed the open environment- whoever was there would definitely be approachable (good thing I packed my Sharpie!)  

I took a few shoots of a group being photographed... I didn’t notice any of the Floyd and at that point I was a little disappointed.  I figured, if they were there, they’d be in the photo. 

The event soon opened and we made our way down.  My friend knew several of the media contacts.  I was introduced as the fan... kinda embarrassing but one of the reps insisted on bringing James over to meet me.  Shortly thereafter, a smiling James Guthrie appeared.  James is the long time Floyd engineer/friend. 

He was great!  He warmly introduced himself, we had a few quick words and said to come up to him after the speeches.  I was a little in shock... but then the event began.  A few of the Sony/Capitol reps spoke, then the floor was given the James.  James, who I was later told hates public speaking, gave a great account of working on the SACD DSOTM re-release.  He said he’s a fan of SACD over DVD Audio and wanted to do something special with the 30th anniversary, as opposed to “just another re-release.”  The result was the amazing sounding CD.

sacd launchJames gave accounts of being stuck in a great blizzard in his home studio in California.  The deadline kept creeping closer- and he didn’t have any power!  James mentioned that he hoped to get “a couple of the band members to attend” but that their schedules didn’t permit. 

Needless to say this was a big disappointment but during the middle of James’ speech, I noticed a familiar face in the crowd...  Holding a camera and documenting the occasion was... Jon Carin of Waters/Floyd fame!  He freely moved around and no one noticed him...

Back to James... another great tidbit, he revealed that Storm Thorgerson worked on a series of artwork for a 3-3-03 release.  The artwork focused on the series of “3”s in the date, as well as the “current” number in the band and 30th anniversary... too bad we couldn’t see any of it! 

James wrapped up and we were invited into the listening area (below the prism projection.)  The sound was truly amazing.  It was provided by ATC/Acoustic Engineers.  The front and rear speakers were each 3+ feet tall and gave me the feeling that the 70s model Floyd were playing right in front of me. 

At this point, we were free to roam.  Having listened to a better part of the album near the listening area, we decided to take James up on his offer.  He and Jon stood together, with never more than a few people around them.  I worked up some nerve and walked up to Jon, patted him on the shoulder and asked if I was the first person to recognize him.  James proclaimed that he knew someone would recognize Jon.  They had a good chuckle. 

sacd launchMy friend and I proceeded to have a great visit with Jon and James.  James spoke about how rough the Floyd/Waters relationship really is... he would be on the phone- one line would be Gilmour, the other Waters.  They still don’t speak!  Jon was especially friendly.  I was again introduced as the fan- Jon wanted to know all the times I saw Waters/Floyd live.  I recounted a Waters’ show near Scranton, Pennsylvania- it poured for the whole show.  The show was outdoors and that summer (1999) was a bad drought for much of the east coast.  For whatever reason, it decided to rain that night.  A few songs in, the skies opened and it poured!  Lightning, thunder!!!  Jon couldn’t believe that  I (and most of the audience) stayed!  He was really amused- and flattered, I think. 

Jon is amazingly humble.  He had a funny story in that he loaded up a hard drive with all of his sounds for Waters’ son, Harry, for the latest round of live shows.  Jon couldn’t tour because he and his wife had just had their first child.  

We continued to chat- I asked about the latest Waters’ studio album- he confirmed that Waters’ was still working on his opera and that that was demanding a lot of time.  He did mention that he had just spent a month working on the new studio album!!!  He said the songs were great!!!  As expected though, the process is a slow one- no one would ever agree that Waters isn’t a perfectionist!  Jon did not mention when the album would be released. 

sacd launchJon and James began joking about James’ speech- Jon said he came to document the occasion because James hates public speaking.  Who knows, maybe his photos will end up in Waters or Gilmour’s hands?

Before we left for the evening, I had a chance to get my photo taken with both Jon and James.  I can’t say enough good things about them- they were both wonderfully friendly and genuinely appreciative of the praise they received....

You may remember at the beginning of this account that I mentioned there’d be a member of the band at the event.  Well, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed that none of the “big four” were there. 

However, Jon and James were great and technically, there was a band member there!  The rep, who earlier in the evening grabbed James and introduced us, told us she’d make up for that... so you may get another story out of me! 

The trip home was long- it had been a long day... I kept thinking about the evening- recounting all of the conversations and replaying the great tunes in my head.

 
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