Not to be confused with the later, superior and similarly titled track from LCD Soundsystem, the Pink Floyd crew belted out Us and Them time and time again. It is clear to hear why fans are so taken with the live performance of great work. Dark Side of the Moon is no exception, and Pink Floyd, exceptional as they are, committed themselves thoroughly to this Live at Wembley experience. Hearing Us and Them right there from the gorgeous stands of the arena, without even seeing it, gives a great and grand perspective for fans of the band. Creeping, slightly sinister, but booming through with that progressive rock creativity at the heart of it, Us and Them (Live at Wembley 1974) gets a worthy remastering.
Their presence on stage can be felt rather immediately in this piece but it, of course, blows up in the same expansive, powerful way Us and Them does regardless of live or studio version. As the crashing percussion washes over and Richard Wright stakes his claim as one of the greats, Us and Them comes together with real, raw beauty. Gilmour and Wright share some incredible work together here and Roger Waters too, the trio come together alongside additional stagehands and impressive musicians that add layer after layer to this Dark Side of the Moon track. It is taken through the paths of jazz number and explosive intimacy by the beautiful work from Dick Parry on saxophone.
He pairs incredibly well with Nick Mason on drums and percussion, and while the pair maintain a focus on the crashing final moments, it is their pairing that exceeds expectations. They sound better in these instrumentals than Waters and company do when the lyrics flow through the arena. Placement like that is a powerful experience, and Us and Them has that in abundance. Raw power caught right there on tape, much of it reliant on the instrumentals, as Pink Floyd often are given their innovative and creative sound. This Live at Wembley experience is no exception though, a progressive series of charming flickers on a hefty eight-minute experience. Quite the experience it is, too, a piece that would have defined Pink Floyd at their highest point had it been released in an accessible way all those years ago.
But at least the desire to remaster, re-release and re-capture the wallets, hearts and minds of fans does not go unblemished as a miserable project. Yet another working of Dark Side of the Moon is a small price to pay for the release of Live at Wembley 1974. If the singles are anything to go by, then the articulation of an influential piece right there on the stage is intact. Only time will tell whether it comes together as well as these fractured moments sound. Breathe may have been an odd choice for release but did well to run through the essential stop-offs Pink Floyd always find value in. Us and Them, then, is a reminder that their strongest moments came not from looking back but playing around with the form they already had in front of them.