New York Times, July 1977
Dreamy Rock and Nightmare Words
July 3, 1977
Let the Craftworks and Tangerine Dreams of this world come and go; there can be little doubt that Pink Floyd is the premier mind- blower hypno-rock ensemble of our time. The British quartet (occasionally augmented to a quintet or a sextet by extra guitar and saxaphone players) opened a four-night run at Madison Square Garden Friday night, and wove a coldly perfect program of multimedia psychedelia.
Well, almost perfect: the group's climactic flashy double mirror wheel, with the core revolving the opposite direction from the layered; outer rim, and the whole meant to cast myriad beams of light, misfired when it couldn't be coordinated with the spot light. But otherwise everything worked with sovereign smoothness.
What Pink Floyd does is blend mostly instrumental progressive rock with films and unusually mustering a coherence that escapes most such bands, and distinguished by Rick Wright's rich, exotic keyboards, Dave Gilmour's sometimes arresting guitar, Roger Waters's compulsive bass lines and Nick Mason's solid drumming. Sometimes Mr. Waters sings (as does Mr. Gilmour, to lesser effect) and the words are mostly eerie, lonely nightmares.
The movies on Friday were nightmarish, too, in the second part devoted to the band's "Wish You Were Here" album.
The first half of the concert was given over to music from the band's latest album, "Animals," which is rather less spacily evocative than its earlier work. Still, the final coup de theatre, and the symbol for this entire tour, was impressive: a huge, lowering pig, at least 50 feet long, lurched out over the crowd (suspended on a wire), its glowing eyes shooting evil beams into the smoke-filled air (Pink Floyd had provided smoke a few minutes before).
There is a certain manipulative naiveté about all this, to be sure, and some observers might find it suspect that a band would devote its energies to providing diversions for an audience blitzed on drugs and liquor.
On the other hand, mind-clouders are part of our times, and people who choose to cloud their minds probably have a right to be entertained just like real people. More to the point, Pink Floyd's music and multimedia work far more convincingly for those of us who haven't indulged than those of most mind-blower bands. It's a focused, effective show, if not the most celebratory or exalting one, and for that reason Pink Floyd makes legitimate claims to artistry.