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Home arrow Reviews arrow Albums arrow Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here 2011 Experience edition
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here 2011 Experience edition Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011

Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here - 2011 Experience editionSubsequent to the major release day at the end of September which marked the first phase of the Why Pink Floyd remaster and reissue campaign, phase two has now happened. Released in most territories on November 7th/8th 2011, Wish You Were Here is the second of the "big three" that have been given the Experience and Immersion treatment, and as a follow up to our reviews of the individual albums, the collection box set, and the Dark Side Of The Moon Experience and Immersion sets, we now turn our attention to these new editions of the band's 1975 classic.

To reiterate previous coverage on this site, this Experience edition of the album features the 2011 remaster of the album, and comes with a second CD containing previously unreleased and unheard live and studio recordings. The live tracks come from the Wembley Empire Pool in November 1974, and the studio recordings are alternative versions from the WYWH sessions, along with a second track from the aborted Household Objects project. In due course, our extensive look at the Immersion set and the SACD release will also be on Brain Damage, but before then, below, we take a good look at each aspect of the Wish You Were Here Experience edition...

Disc one
As we've already commented on this release in our discussion of the Discovery editions and Discovery box set, the presentation of the album, which forms - sonically and physically - has been done with subtlety and sensitivity. When we reviewed the Discovery edition, we knew that many people would be waiting with bated breath to see what the expanded Experience and Immersion editions would be like in comparison. Our review of the Immersion is coming very shortly, but unlike The Dark Side Of The Moon set of releases, we're thinking that fans will be more torn between the two extended Wish You Were Here editions. They both, of course, feature this first disc, which is the 2011 remaster of the album, that has done nothing to spoil the original, but which has given it a new (and subtle) verve and depth. Nicely done.

Disc two
Track 1: Shine On You Crazy Diamond (live, Wembley 1974)

A wonderfully mournful, and beautifully simple keyboard lament begins the song. Perfectly pitched by Richard Wright, it is an aching, yearning call to a lost friend. The simple, evocative four note guitar motif comes in sounding too fast - certainly faster than normal. As Nick Mason's drums kick in, it becomes apparent that this is no error, but this early version of the track was at a faster tempo. The whole first segment - prior to the vocal coming in - is more guitar driven, with a bluesy feel.

No surprises with the vocal, which is as expected, and you really notice how crystal clear the recording is. A wonderful job has been done in capturing, and mixing, this material.

The closing segment of the track brings in elements which were of course to span both sides of the original LP, book-ending the album. A reprise of the vocal (slightly different to the finished version) takes place before some particularly powerful drumming from Nick, accompanied by Richard's Hammond organ, whilst Roger and David provide an effective background. As it draws to a close, a simple keyboard note through the Leslie recalls elements of The Mortality Sequence, from the early iterations of TDSOTM, as the song fades into the ether.

Track 2: Raving And Drooling (live, Wembley 1974)
Nick's thumping bass drum, and Roger's bass guitar, pump this song along accompanied by Richard's almost siren-like organ, and a simple guitar pattern from David. Roger's vocal comes in with the angry, quite harsh lyric, and you can imagine the shock and surprise amongst the audience at the starkly different nature of the song. This early version, later to appear as Sheep on 1977's Animals, has a real feeling that the band are jamming, with a slight lack of overall focus for the direction of the track - not that there's anything wrong with that!

Track 3: You've Got To Be Crazy (live, Wembley 1974)
A slight formalisation of the title (it used to be known as Gotta Be Crazy, and is listed under this more casual title in the 1974 Winter Tour programme) but irrespective of this, it's another great early version, with a nicely performed guitar part early on, prior to David's quite different lyric.

A nice restrained, almost Hank Marvin tinged solo comes after the first verse, until the expected guitar notes and solo arrives. This too is pretty bluesy, and doesn't hint at the almost industrial nature of parts of Animals - especially when David's vocalised accompaniments arrive, which feature an amount of echo such that it calls to mind late 60s/early 70s live performances.

All in all, these three early live versions are fascinating and essential listening. A shame we've not got the complete Wembley 74 show recording but hopefully Echoes, the missing track, will appear as part of a possible future Immersion or Experience set, as Nick has alluded to in interviews.

Track 4: Wine Glasses (studio, Household Objects project)
As this starts, you instantly recognise it from the start of the released version of Shine On..., but then you realise the normal instrumentation isn't coming, and the key chords and changes are all being done using the titular objects. At just over one and a half minutes, the track is short but sweet, and with The Hard Way (which came with the Immersion edition of The Dark Side Of The Moon) we now have the sum total of what was achieved in the Household Objects sessions.

Track 5: Have A Cigar (studio, alternative version)
This 'alternative' version of Have A Cigar, which features not only a completely different musical performance from the whole band (but not dramatically a departure from the established version we all know), has what sounds to be Roger Waters with Roy Harper, sharing the vocal duties. The recent Best Buy Sampler which gave US fans a sneak preview of the track listed it as David Gilmour with Harper, but we can only presume this was an error - unless David is a very good mimic of Roger's quite distinctive voice. An interesting inclusion on this second disc.

Track 6: Wish You Were Here (studio, with Stéphane Grappelli)
In itself, it sounds a fairly standard version, albeit with some different acoustic guitar work at the start, an unexpected "Woo!" from David, and a vocal with a heavy belt of echo on it. Almost exactly half way through the song (just over three minutes into it) Stéphane Grappelli makes his appearance with an almost "folky fiddle" performance which does work well - and was nothing like I was expecting from this version when it was announced. It's his solo (if if can be referred to in that way - etiquette probably means it should be referred to in a different way, or even just "his performance") that controls the whole second half until its conclusion.

Wholy unexpected, a pleasure to hear, and (like the early version of The Dark Side Of The Moon) entirely the correct version was used on the album when it was originally released. How wonderful though that this rendition was found and included...

The packaging is up to the expected high standards. A slipcase featuring a black front and the image found on the original LP sticker, a white rear with the simpler image used on the original vinyl labels, holds a double gatefold sleeve. This features the expected images from the 1975 release, and the main spread is a triple pane of the Mono Lake picture. The lyric booklet, housed in the middle pocket, has some great studio shots that show hints of a band fractured and preoccupied with their own private lives and pressures. A very subtle touch on the cover and also outer slip, is the leading "E" of Experience not in black ink, but a dark blue. Clearly done for a reason - anyone care to venture an opinion why?

The Experience edition of Wish You Were Here is a wonderfully succinct and audibly thrilling package. The album itself sounds great, and the second disc holds a nice mix of live and recently discovered studio gems. Packaged very well, we're sure it'll be a popular release amongst Floyd fans.

You can order this from many retailers, and to make life a little easier for you, we've gathered together direct links to the set at various major online retailers:

Wish You Were Here Experience edition   Amazon UK (US) 
Amazon Canada Amazon Germany
  Amazon Spain (ES) 
Amazon France Amazon Italy

Finally, the following allows you to preview the material via this well done video:

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