The Archive.

Pink Floyd In 1969.

3-19-69. Going Down Ball - Swansea University refectory .

Set list . Astronomy Domine. careful With That Axe Eugene, Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Interstellar Overdrive, Encore : A Saucerful Of Secrets.


   I wonder if the fact that a set list survives of this show means that  it was recorded ? More likely  someone was there making notes. I attended with three friends from school , Allan Jones from Uncut Magazine, Ian McPherson our Scottish mate and possibly Brian Griffiths, (but it could have been Martin Wallace or Alun Thomas , where are you all now guys ? )

   I would have then been in the sixth form, so we were flaunting the licensing laws as we were all under 18 . The refectory was not exactly a hallowed hall, just a basic rectangle with quite a low ceiling , not a lot of ambience, but the acoustics were good and the audience responsive to the band .

  Whatever, this was the first time I saw the Floyd and it was perhaps the best - (I would liked to have seen them at the Kee Club at Bridgend a few nights before , where apparently they played on a stage that was so small that their heads nearly hit the ceiling , but I could not persuade the parents to let me go out twice in one week)  - but certainly , this show  was the closest I ever got to them and it definitely featured the best sound .

    We got there really early , were the first people in and grabbed the plum spots. Fortunately there were no seats, so we sat right in the centre of the floor about three feet away from Nick Mason'sbig double drum kit, which was poised more or less on the edge of the stage . Since the stage was only about two feet or so in height this was VERY close. Mason was in the centre. Waters to the left  , Gilmore stage right but I can't remember where Wright was , I was so busy concentrating on the three in front , who were more or less in a direct line , that he is now completely erased from my memory banks.
I must admit that the Floyd were a very  powerful force at this period, the set list featured some of their spaciest music ( although I'm sure they were a lot more fun and weirder with Syd Barrett in the line-up ) and they really belted it out .Mason was a powerhouse, we got his drumming right in the face so to speak and that definitely was the main memory I have of this gig. I can well remember being completely blown away by the opening number ,  Astronomy Domine- the dynamics in that song were just terrific, the initial tentative organ riff , then all hell broke loose as the band jerked frantically into top gear . The solo segment was terrific , Mason all over the place and Gilmour laying a crazed guitar part over the top, then back down into Wright's gentle spaced out organ piece, then the bass line gradually heralded the build up into the roller coaster ride with its high pitched Oooooooooooohhhhhhhh’s  .One of the best opening numbers I've ever had the privilege to have seen.
    After that we were totally hooked, and totally blitzed by the band . As far as we were concerned they could do no wrong. I have no particular recollection of the sort of crowd it was that night , no doubt they were the usual Uni crowd , half of them getting pissed at the bar and the rest sitting entranced by the music. Anyway, drugless, I was just spaced out by this band . They were a completely natural high .

      Other memories ,  Waters, hair all over his face ,creepily  crooning then building up to screaming the lyrics of Careful with that Axe Eugene into the mic.  At that distance the effect was amazing , it blew off the tops of our collective heads !

There was a lot of head dancing going on from us I can tell you.

    All too soon , it was over, many bands didn't play sets much over an hour in those days, the encore being  A Saucerful of Secrets , - which was as usual  ,completely over the top,  a veritable masterpiece of psychedelic mania -and then they were gone . But then ,  so were we , I really don't know if I could have endured much more of their onslaught . We staggered out of the hall feeling aurally blitzed. An amazing night of music. A month later they were recording the live shows for Ummagumma , but they could just have recorded the show from this night , it was easily as good. . .

Related Pink Floyd pages on my website.
Back to the main Archive.