Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here
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Wish You Were Here , released in September 1975, was the follow up album to the globally successful The Dark Side Of The Moon and is cited by many fans, as well as band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour, as their favorite Pink Floyd album. On release it went straight to Number One in both the UK and the US and topped the charts in many other countries around the world. This program tells the story of the making of this landmark release through new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason and archive interviews with the late Richard Wright. Also featured are sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson, guest vocalist Roy Harper, front cover burning man Ronnie Rondell and others involved in the creation of the album. In addition, original recording engineer Brian Humphries revisits the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios to illustrate aspects of the songs construction. / Bonus Features:
The Blu-ray contains additional bonus material not featured in the TV broadcast version, including further interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason plus Roger Waters and David Gilmour performing excerpts from the Wish You Were Here album.
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Using the template from the famed British (and also VH1 Classic) TV series called Classic Albums has been around for many years, the company that produces that show (Eagle Rock) unleashed in March of 2012 its documentary on Pink Floyd's 1975 classic Wish You Were Here.
Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here album had a well deserved celebration in 2011/12. First came the Discovery reissue. Then the Experience 2-CD set and Immersion (2-CD/2-DVD/Blu Ray) box set, the long awaited Hybrid SACD issue remixed by James Guthrie and and was re-released on 180 Gram Audiophile vinyl which sounded superb. Then finally, came this DVD documentary which looks at how the album was made.
The three surviving band members being co-founder/singer/bass player/songwriter/lyricist Roger Waters, singer/guitarist/songwriter David Gilmour, co-founder/drummer Nick Mason are featured in new and exclusive interviews in this documentary plus comments from the late co-founder/keyboard player/songwriter/occasional singer Richard Wright from 2001. Roger and David also play songs and demonstrate themes from the album which its theme used the madness of Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett as a symbol for the isolating alienation of the modern world, in particular the greed of the music business. David's superb reenactments of the album's centerpiece tribute to Syd Barrett "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and Wish You Were Here's title cut and Roger's acoustic versions of "Have a Cigar", a countrified "Wish You Were Here" and "Welcome to the Machine" are stellar. The album's original recording and mixing engineer Brian Humphries sifts through the original multi-track tapes isolating some parts of songs to hear some parts isolated either on their own or not ever heard before. Also, there is concert footage from the band's performance at The Brighton Dome in Brighton, Sussex, England in June of 1972 plus some rare seen pictures of the band at Abbey Road from the recording sessions and animations from Gerald Scarfe which were used on the band's 1977 Tour when they played all of Wish You Were Here start to finish. Plus you get additional interviews with Gerald Scarfe, British journalist Nick Kent, the original 1967 era Pink Floyd producer Joe Boyd, the group's first manager Peter Jenner, photographer Jill Furmanovsky, backing singer Venetta Fields, British folk singer Roy Harper, album cover designer Storm Thorgerson, co-designer Aubrey Powell and the man who was set on fire on the album's cover Ronnie Rondell to flesh out this great documentary.
There is 25 minutes of extra footage with more demonstrations from David playing "Wish You Were Here" and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" in full, Roger playing his unplugged "Wish You Were Here" plus more interviews with Gilmour, Waters and Mason which didn't make the TV documentary due to time constraints.
When I first saw the documentary online in May of 2012 (VH1 Classic showed twice and is more interested in That Metal Show and One Hit Wonder junk), I anxiously awaited the DVD and got the DVD yesterday and it is SUPERB!
Third, then and now. Us and Them. Focused mainly on Gilmour and Rogers, with Mason, Wright and, en abstentia, Barrett, Floyd members give us insight and heart. When Gilmore reflects on their former bandmate, Syd Barrett, he exudes the vulnerable heart and soul of the band and their brilliance in its expression. He almost whispers his regret over the absence of what was possible, but is lost, with Barrett. To the Machine. Gilmour holds in sublime understanding the fragility of this life. It's invisible but always there, "The Dark Side of the Moon". Rogers seems more acerbic, "Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun". He illuminates the real dilema, "We're just two lost souls... running over the same old ground, [living with] the same old fear". Rogers expression lets us know that he still wishes, wishes for the resolution to the fearful choice: whether to live the risky but fullfilled life of the hero or to exist in the effortless but empty life of a worker drone. The endless question and quest is still on Rogers face. The paradoxical challenge. Watching this program, I better understand the pain, anger and inertia the band members experienced when they woke to the realization of being cogs in the relentless gears of the music industry i.e. modern life.
Considered one of the best Pink Floyd concerts, the May 9, 1977 "In the Flesh" tour concert at the Oakland Colliseum is on YouTube. Pink Floyd performed Animals and Wish You Were Here. I was there with Santa Cruz college friends. The atmosphere was hazey, but the show was crystal clear. The sound system and set must have cost hundreds of thousands, and the band wore jeans and laughed. It was a life envigorating and transforming event. The aireal parade of house sized animals, people and a refrigerator#?# was awesome. The light show was astounding. The audience was an integral part of the performance in delight and gratitude.
There is a great deal of reference to Syd Barrett - including a photo of him in the studio in his unannounced and not-immediately-recognized appearance - and the fact that "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is all about him; the source of much of the sorrow and depression evident throughout.
Still, I'm glad to have it.