Pink Floyd's early Brighton Dome gigs recalled

Image caption Pink Floyd were intellectuals who liked fine wine, says Ms Furmanovsky

A music venue in Brighton where Pink Floyd first performed Dark Side of the Moon has applied for lottery funds to chart the legendary 1972 gigs.

Here, a photographer who got backstage at one of those gigs and later toured with the band shares her memories.

As an 18-year-old student photographer working for free at London's Rainbow Theatre in January 1972, Jill Furmanovsky was in the perfect place at the perfect time.

Her favourite band Pink Floyd had just begun rehearsing a new concept album called Eclipse, which would be released a year later as Dark Side of the Moon - one of the best selling albums of all time.

Image caption The first ever live performance of Dark Side of the Moon was interrupted due to technical problems

She took a few photos of her idols from the wings, and after meeting their booker was allowed to snap them when they played the Brighton Dome five months later.

Although she missed their first ever live performance of tracks from the album on 20 January - also at the Brighton Dome - she managed to snap the famously private musicians backstage at two gigs there in June.

"They had seen me around at the Rainbow Theatre and I managed to get backstage and into their dressing room, which was virtually unheard of," she said.

"They were very reticent and private. I got into the dressing room and took a few pics, they didn't mind.

"I don't think I said a thing to them and they didn't really look at the camera. With Pink Floyd you didn't know if you were persona grata or non grata.

"I was persona half grata. They thought 'if she doesn't get too annoying she can sit in the corner and take a few snaps, if they're not too intrusive and it's not for too long'."

She said they were an intelligent bunch from Cambridge who did not fit the more typical mould of a working-class band.

In 1974, she was given the opportunity to know them better when she was invited on their six-week tour of the UK to promote the famous album.

She said they were intellectuals who liked fine wine and surrounded themselves with interesting musicians, designers, singers and lighting technicians, who were all given equal status.

"People not welcome were groupies and record company people. They didn't entertain large numbers backstage," she said.

Image caption Jill Furmanovsky has snapped many of the biggest names in rock

"They were sports fanatics. If Match of The Day was on, they had to finish the gig in time to be back."

Ms Furmanovsky's first brush with fame at the Rainbow Theatre formed the foundations of her long career.

The award-winning photographer has turned her lens on many of the biggest names in rock including The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Blondie, Oasis, The Ramones and Bob Marley.

The Brighton Dome has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund to help it tell the story of the venue's musical past, of which the Pink Floyd gigs are among the most famous examples.

It wants to collect memories and artefacts from people who attended the performances to discover and celebrate the venue's "fascinating legacy".

The Dome's deputy chief executive Amanda Jones said: "Pink Floyd's concert 40 years ago is one of many live shows that together create Brighton Dome's rich performance history."

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