Pink Floyd – Quadraphonics.

Also while I was the Production Manager at the Roundhouse Theatre in London we had a press “showing” of the quadraphonic version of The Dark Side Of The Moon.   For some reason Wikipedia states that this happened at the Rainbow Theatre.   Not true.  I worked both at the Roundhouse and was very much […]

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Also while I was the Production Manager at the Roundhouse Theatre in London we had a press “showing” of the quadraphonic version of The Dark Side Of The Moon.   For some reason Wikipedia states that this happened at the Rainbow Theatre.   Not true.  I worked both at the Roundhouse and was very much involved in the creation of The Rainbow as a Rock venue as well.  And whilst all manner of amazing concerts took place in the Rainbow, this one didn’t.

What happened is that the Pink Floyd decided to have a sort of private press show of the quadraphonic version of that amazing album, and they chose to do it in the Roundhouse because of the physical structure of the building.  As it was originally an engine roundhouse, it had a circular gallery running all the way around the central circle, so they could place speakers all around the full 360 degrees of the centre, and place the press corps in the middle, where they would get the full (literally surround sound) of the quadraphonics.

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At that period of my life I worked on a number of Pink Floyd concerts, and one thing that really stood out with this band was the totally professional way they went about preparing and performing their concerts, and this presentation of The Dark Side of the Moon was no exception to this rule.

Most bands tended to turn up as near to performance time as possible, leaving the sound checks, instrument tuning and so on to their various roadies – for the great majority of rock bands it was really only a matter of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, as the saying had it in those days – and being professional about how it all took place was not really a major issue for most bands.   But not with Pink Floyd.

On the day of the press showing, the band members and all their roadies, especially the sound guys, all turned up at the theatre early in the morning, and while the roadies were busy setting up endless huge speakers all around the gallery and getting the lighting and stage all set up properly, the band members were busy making sure that it was all done as they wanted it.

When finally all the equipment was in place, then they started the sound checks.  This went on for almost 8 hours, as each speaker was minutely adjusted, turned and balanced until it produced exactly the sound they wanted it to.

It was fascinating listening to that famous fly buzzing around the building, until it was finally swatted.  I know this fly was from Ummagumma, and not from the Dark Side of the Moon, but none the less they used it, as it was such a perfect effect for the quadraphonics.

So by the early evening all was ready for the press to be introduced to this amazing album, and a surprisingly large number of journalists (and their hangers on)  were let into the theatre and the show began.  Being the Pink Floyd, it all went superbly, the surround sound effect of the four track audio worked beautifully, and everyone was vastly impressed, and obviously, the music also impressed the audience.   In all respects it was a totally successful event.

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In passing, it is amusing to mention that the sleeve design for this (and many other albums), was designed by Hipgnosis, which was in fact a cousin of mine, Storm Thorgerson being the leading light of that outfit.   Small world isn’t it?

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