Forty years ago, on 20 January 1972, rock band Pink Floyd came to Brighton to perform at The Dome. This wasn’t their first show in the town, nor even their debut performance at The Dome; what makes it stand out is the fact that it was the very first time material from the iconic album, The Dark Side of the Moon, was performed in public.
The Brighton Gazette, reporting in advance of the event, pointed out that, ‘It would be difficult to recall a Floyd concert at the Dome which did not feature something totally new and unexpected…they are the first true minstrels of the technological age and for that alone they fully deserve their success.’
The material was certainly new: according to a review in New Musical Express, the band were still arranging it on their way to Brighton and it wasn’t recorded until later in the year. Unfortunately, the performance itself – in front of a capacity crowd – was interrupted by an electrical failure. A short piece in The Argus the following day explained that, ‘Crackling electronics that definitely weren’t part of Floyd’s sonic wonderland of electrics fouled up the concert’s first half and the group’s new masterwork.’
Nonetheless, it was obviously a memorable night, with the music press almost running out of superlatives. ‘The new piece expressed succinctly in musical terms the innermost feelings of a person, including the strain of being one of this country’s top bands,’ declared New Musical Express, while The Argus described it as ‘music that inspires, bewilders, disturbs and soothes, in that order.’
To commemorate the occasion, a free photographic exhibition, Dark Side of the Moon, opens today in the Founders Room at The Dome. It includes the work of Jill Furmanovsky who, at the beginning of her career, travelled with the band and was here with them in Brighton 40 years ago.
Brighton History Centre