Any Colour You Like
Original Artist: Pink Floyd
Original Album: Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Historian: Mark Toscano
This song, sometimes referred to as “Breathe – Second Reprise,” has been in Pink Floyd’s conception of Dark Side of the Moon from the very beginning. The song cycle was organized conceptually, touching on and interweaving themes of madness, both personal and societal. As a result, the Floyd wanted to have some recurring musical themes throughout the album. “Breathe” is a primary theme in Dark Side, built more or less on a syrupy, waking dream of a two-chord progression. This theme, after being introduced in “Breathe,” shows up a few songs later as “Breathe Reprise,” a relaxed sigh following the mounting energy of “Time.”
In the second half of the album, “Money” provides a hotbed of nastiness that is perfectly complimented by the blissful languor of “Us and Them,” the former segueing into the latter by means of some overlapping sound bites. “Us and Them” then practically trips over “Any Colour You Like,” which starts up immediately after the former song’s final verse. This reprise of “Breathe” is a different animal, though. It’s not at all like the underwater sleepwalk of the first two instances, although it retains the same two-chord values. This song is all-instrumental, and is driven by an insistent beat and a funky demeanor. “Any Colour You Like” is almost dirty, as if the band suddenly turned a corner into a bad section of town. The track boasts its own confidence, and in fact was often one of the only jamming showcases for Pink Floyd during their live performances of Dark Side after 1972.
Enter Phish. “Any Colour You Like” had its turn under the chopping block on 11/2/98 for the now-legendary, surprise Dark Side performance at the ‘E’ Center in Utah, and the guys played it with adequate strength and groove. However, one can’t help but wonder what they could have done with the song if it hadn’t been played so late in an already exhausting show. It might’ve been a monster.