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Pink Floyd - The Great Gig In The Sky: The Album By Album Guide CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

1.85 | 18 ratings

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2 stars Long-winded and mostly "for fans"

The "Great Gig" DVD "album guide" is a massive 8-disc overview of the Pink Floyd recorded work. It is yet another of the rather checkered Floyd unofficial documentaries that by now likely outnumber official Floyd releases. Everyone except Regis and Kelly have now weighed in with their own critical analysis of the bands work. I don't mind---as a relative Floyd expert I enjoy watching to see how many factual errors and ridiculous opinions I can spot in these DVDs. And occasionally you get some interesting insights we well.

This one is not really better or worse than some of the others, just longer. With 8 discs there is plenty of time, though they don't fill all of the time as well as they could. The programs use the now familiar style of patching together old band member interviews, interviews with associates of the band (producers, collaborators), critics breaking down individual tracks with their opinion, and musicians explaining how certain parts of songs were played. The dialogue was presented with music, live video clips (usually of poor quality), and promotional film excerpts. The most worthwhile moments came from the recorded band interviews and commentary from the better informed critics. There is just enough good content to string along Floyd fans, casual fans I believe could get quite bored by the discussions. Syd fans should be aware that the "extensive archive interviews" with Syd, Roger, Nick, Dave, and Rick are really piped over recordings of the latter four. There really is no Syd "interview" except for the Hans Keller bit which you've no doubt already seen.

The problems with the program are many. Poor quality video makes the "rare footage" pretty useless in most cases. Apparently they didn't have the rights to use much actual Floyd music, as much of the program's airing of the band's choice material is not Pink Floyd at all, but recordings of bands like Mostly Autumn and others covering Pink Floyd. What an absolute joke that is. If you're going to bother putting together a critical analysis of a band's music, use THEIR music. Sometimes they did use Floyd but often they did not, and the segments that do not suffer immensely. The editing and timing are often well out of sync as noted by William Merrill:

"The presentation itself leaves a lot to be desired. Start with the poor editing, which includes occasional songs from different eras of the band's history, out of place chronologically. Then the individual album sections aren't put together cleanly. For ex., the Dark Side of the Moon documentary bleeds over into the Wish You Were Here segment. At first I thought it was on purpose, as sort of a transition, but the first 14 minutes of the 55 minute W.Y.W.H. documentary only talks about Dark Side, and makes no real attempt to link it to the next album." -William Merrill, web review

Credits are constantly placed on the screen over the program. The critics are often pretty predictable in their presumptions about what material is good and what isn't, the worst being some guy named Krusher who seemed to diss everything I like. They were particularly harsh on the experimental material and on The Final Cut. By the time they got to Final Cut, the budget must have been gone because they covered only two songs, repeating Not Now John and Fletcher Memorial over and over while we were treated to the tape engineers recollection of how "civilized" the band were when he was introduced to them. Of course you'll have to endure the typical assessments of Syd as a "casualty" and Roger as a "dictator" when the reality was more complicated than that. But the main problem is the drifting lack of cohesion throughout the shows---had the kept the best content, used all Pink Floyd music, and had more concision with their presentation, they could have had a pretty good documentary at about 4 hours length.

For the $63 this item currently sells for on Amazon, I cannot recommend the product to anyone but hard core Floydians who really want to sift through hours of material for the chestnuts. Despite gathering some impressive folks for interviews, this set feels pretty decidedly "unofficial" and I don't believe it worth the price. A better bet would be to rent the series if you can.

Finnforest | 2/5 |


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