“The Dark Side of the Moon” spent an incredible 15 years straight in the Billboard Top 200 album chart and another two when it was re-released in 1994. It has sold over 50 million copies worldwide. It’s hard to explain it’s significance, hard to explain it’s huge appeal.
For such a massively popular album it must have been written quite quickly. Roger Waters put the concept of an album that dealt with things that “make people mad”, a topic close to the band given the illness of former member Syd Barrett, when they assembled in December 1971 prior to touring and they first performed the material at the end of January 1972. The band continued to refine the material through rehearsal and tour performance before first recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios from 24 May to 25 June, setting out on the road again and completing the album in January 1973. The album was engineered by engineer/musician Alan Parsons, the band give him a great deal of credit for the eventual album.
If you are one of the many people who has spent far too much time with your consciousness altered in some way listening to “The Dark Side of the Moon” (DSotM) then it may be time for you to take strong hold on your wallet. This is because the most expensive boxed set version of the album has now been released. The good news is that this set offers the most amazing quality and most comprehensive collection ever assembled for a Pink Floyd album.
At the core of the set is 6 discs; 3 Compact Discs, 2 DVDs and a single Blu-Ray disc. Disc 1 is a CD of the 2011 remaster of the album. Disc 2 is a CD of the live performance at the Empire Pool Wembley in 1974. Disc 3 is an Audio only DVD containing the 5.1 surround mix from 2003 in two sampling rates, the 1973 LPCM stereo mix and the 1973 4.0 Quad mix from 1973 also in two different sampling rates. Disc 4 is an Audio-Visual DVD of the Pink Floyd concert in Brighton in 1972, The Dark Side Of The Moon documentary from 2003 and the Concert screen films in the original LPCM stereo mix and a 5.1 surround mix. Disc 5 is a Blu-Ray containing all the material from discs 3 and 4. Disc 6 is a CD of previously unreleased tracks including demo versions of ‘Us And Them’ and ‘Money’ and an entire early mix of the album. Obviously if you have a Blu-Ray player you can consider this a 4 disc set as the two DVDs are replaced by the single Blu-Ray.
Along with those disks you get a bunch of memorabilia and stuff including a facsimile concert ticket and back stage pass, a book of photos from the DSotM tour, some marbles, art cards, drink coasters and a scarf.
Make no mistake if you have a good stereo system and Blu-Ray player then there is no better way to hear this album than popping disc 5 in and spending a day trying to decide if you prefer the 1973 quad mix or the 2011 5.1 surround mix, personally I prefer the surround one. The 2011 remaster has in my opinion taken some of the sound out of the bottom, making the softer passages clearer, and added better channel separation and some top end clarity. You will need a good sound system, good speakers and patience to hear the difference. I tried hard to tell the difference between the Blu-Ray and DVD versions and convinced myself I could, but failed on a blind test given by a friend.
When you have done that then glorying in all the other material such as the live performances and concert films is another joy. Make no mistake, it is entirely possible to lose more than one entire weekend on the extra material. One of the joys of this material is the way you can follow the progress of the album from the original ‘demo’ recorded by Waters in his garden shed studio through the live material to the eventual album.
This boxed set is a total essential for the dedicated Pink Floyd fan.