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Home arrow Reviews arrow Concerts arrow Pink Floyd - Top Rank Suite, Doncaster, England, April 16th 1971
Pink Floyd - Top Rank Suite, Doncaster, England, April 16th 1971 Print E-mail

Written by Brain Damage contributor, Will Smythe for BD Magazine

In 1971 I hitched with a friend from Liverpool to Doncaster to see the Floyd at the Top Rank. I remember talking to Roger Waters before the show and him commenting that he thought I was loopy for hitching over the Pennines when I could have seen them in Liverpool fairly soon! We met a few Doncaster fans and they stayed with us until showtime at 7:30pm. There were no seats on the ground floor available - everyone just sat and pretty soon the smell of hash was overpowering. Upstairs, around a horde of cross-legged people, was a gallery with bars serving alcohol. While we waited, the PA pumped out Terrapin by Syd. The first on the bill was a band who were not my cup of tea, so I gabbed with my Doncaster friends. The next on were America (had a hit with A Horse With No Name) who were a great deal better than the first band.

Then the stage revolved exposing the instruments - the lovely drum kit with its familiar Floyd design and the gong! Then the band came on one by one to great rounds of applause. I remember Nick and the others enjoying a standing joke about 'tuning' and Nick pointing an accusing finger at Rick - it was all very good-natured. Then the sounds of aircraft rose to the crashing chords of Atom Heart Mother. AHM is a tremendous piece without the orchestra and we were not disappointed.

Straight after AHM was Saucerful of Secrets at which point a lot of heckling came from the gallery above. Yells of “Play some fucking music!” by drunk and abusive ‘fans’ were returned by screams of “Shut up!” from downstairs and were promptly silenced by the roadies taking a break upstairs.

But the evening’s surprises were far from over as some jobsworth appeared on stage during Fat Old Sun and spoke into Dave’s mic “Would the owner of a grey Morris Minor registration number XXX please remove it from the front of house”. Dave and Roger were gobsmacked but quickly returned to the song.

They did Embryo (which was great!) with all its child sound effects, but not one of my favorites. They also did Careful With That Axe, Set the Controls, and Green is the Colour. Near the end Roger said, “What do you want us to play?” Some clever bugger shouted out "Telegram Sam" which had the band in stitches! I was shouting for all I was worth for Astronomy Domine of which they played a blinding rendition and suddenly it was over. I wish I had followed them from gig to gig. They were so inspiring and majestic, but above all else, no pelvic thrusts, no stage wardrobe, just talent and wonder.

The likes of Floyd will never happen again.

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