Dark Side Breathes

40 years ago today… 20th November 1971.

The Breathe riff heard for the first time during Embryo in November ’71…

It was the last night of Pink Floyd’s fifth tour of the United States. It had been a ’27 shows in 37 days’ (a 73% gigging rate) dash promoting the Meddle album, from the West Coast up to Canada, and across the Northern States to the East Coast.

For the last show the band played at the Taft Auditorium, Cincinnati, Ohio. It had been a hectic schedule, and the next UK Winter Tour was already planned for the New Year. Indeed the band needed or wanted new material to tour with, and here’s evidence that new ideas were jangling around the tour bus.

During a performance of Embryo – intro’ed here by The Doc – is the Breathe riff in its earliest form, during a 15 min 39 sec technical problem mid-song: listen carefully from 46:42 when Rick’s amp cuts out, and the rest of the guys use the time to play around with some ideas they were working on

– the Breathe riff is debuted by David at 48:28, then 50:52, 54:12, 56:03, and 1:00:48.

Subsequently it’s the longest version of Embryo, and it was the last time it was performed live. (My thanks to The Doc for this insight.)

Listen to the time-fill-jam from the Taft Auditorium, Cincinnati, OH – 20th November 1971. Ironically from one of the Floyd’s worst moments is the start of one of their greatest.

Raw, but it is Breathe.

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