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Pink Floyd - The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First of all, the documentary has been made in 2001 by BBC; it has been published on DVD in 2003, but you can find a re-issue from 2004, under the same name but with a different cover. That reissue is listed here as "The Syd Barrett story" entry in SYD BARRETT's section.

The documentary is divided into 8 chapters, from his beginning in Cambridge and forming of PINK FLOYD to the end of his musical career. The consistency if the documentary is not on the same level all the time, while the early, floydian years are interesting, the commentary of his solo career is somewhat boring. At the end documentary is getting more interesting again, even touchy (Syd's last meeting with the band).

After I watched the DVD, I felt somewhat disappointed. OK, nobody expects the mystery and the real cause of Syd's madness to be revealed, but I get an impression that something is missing here.

First of all, it's music. There is almost no music on the DVD, just the short excerpts or, in the best case, the songs in background. We have an opportunity to hear ultra-rare track "Vegetable Man", refused by EMI because it was too raw. Why just an short excerpt?

On the other hand, there are three short acoustic performances of Syd's songs by Hitchkock and Coxon. Graham Coxon's "Love You" is to be avoided.

The members of the band were interviewed, and some rellevant and not-so-relevant people, but palette of questioned people should've been wider, really.

Syd Barrett's death just 3 years after the publishing of this DVD marks a label for this issue too: this documentary won't stand up on the test of time, because it's missing the final chapter. But it is full of gaps anyway.

There are good parts in the documentary - for example, the story how Syd left PINK FLOYD, told by Gilmour (he's rechristened Gilmore in one of the tracks), and the part describing the last meeting of Syd with the band (while they were recording the album that will be hommage to Syd), where nobody from the band actually recognized him.

As for the bonus tracks, Gilmour's comment on "Wish You Were Here" is interesting, two performances of Syd's material by Robin Hitchkock are bearable, and that's about it.

This DVD is a must for the fans of PINK FLOYD and Syd Barrett...until something better hits the market.

I'm rating it with three stars, and I'm being too generous here.

Report this review (#110390)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This video tell the story of Pink Floyd's wonderful original Guitarist and Vocalist. It has interviews from the band itself and other close friends of Syd's. The way it tells the story is wonderful. Also included are some of Syd's songs sung by other people. These song's are really some of his greatest songs and really show how talented he is. I think that this video is a great telling of Syd's life in Music.
Report this review (#140658)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Wish you were (still) here

This DVD has been repackaged a number of times but remains essentially the same in terms of content. It is now widely available (in the UK at least) at a budget price.

It should be said straight away that this is not really a music DVD, it is a 50 minute documentary about the life of Roger "Syd" Barrett. There are extracts of tracks including "Interstellar overdrive", "Arnold Layne", etc., but they are incomplete, and are often spoken over.

All the Pink Floyd members appear, including Bob Klose, who modestly opines that his departure accelerated the band's progress. Mason, Wright, Waters and Gilmour all offer personal reminiscences of Syd and the atmosphere of the time when he was in the band. All paint a picture of a good friend slowly destroying himself through drug abuse and personal weakness. Also included are friends and fans of the band such as Robyn Hitchcock , Jerry Shirley of Humble Pie, and Graham Coxton of Blur. Hitchcock and Coxton are featured in the "Bonus" section performing acoustic versions of Barrett songs.

The documentary covers both Barrett's work with Pink Floyd and his solo material. It also features subsequent songs by Pink Floyd which relate to Barrett such as "Shine on you crazy diamond" and "Wish you were here". At one point Waters even says that main character in "The wall" was essentially based on Syd too.

Despite the fact that at the time this programmes was recorded, Syd was still alive and living as a recluse, it comes across very much as a requiem for the Syd the contributors new and loved. When the four Pink Floyd members talk about him arriving unannounced in the studio during the recording of "Shine on you crazy diamond", and failing to recognise him, there is genuine emotion and regret in their voices.

Worth a look.

Report this review (#148259)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Pink Floyd & The Syd Barrett Story (documentary made in 2001)

What if....?

Some of us have an interest in the historical context of musicans, bands and genres. Some of us want to know why music was made, in which environment and who it developed. I'm one of those persons, my interest in late '60 and early '70 prog isn't solely about the music: it's partly about history. These ancient progressive bands have become a nesting place for mysterious thoughts, I've never lived in these roaring times (I'm now 21) and this specific period of time has amazed me since I was young. After some time history becomes a mystery, and documentaries like this Syd Barret story become valuable.

Having this said I must say this is a nice documentary to watch. It shows the beginning of Pink Floyd with Barrett as a special front-man. His ideas are supposed to have changed music history in his own psychedelic fashion. Combining psychedelic music with rock and introducing space rock and children's stories is quite an achievement for the timespan this had all happened. Unfortunately this doc doesn't have a happy ending: due to drugs experimentation and demise of his artistic freedom because of the music industry Syd Barrett had become a insufficient member for the group and he was just partially there when the second album was recorded.

The doc give an inside view about the whole situation with new interviews with the member specially for this doc. The footage used is interesting, but don't expect great early material of the band because you ain't going to get it. If even an halve an hour of '68 Pink Floyd playing live was shown this would have easily been a four star dvd, but it isn't. It's just a doc.

Conclusion. This dvd is not per se for fans of progressive music, because you ain't going to get a lot of music. This dvd is for people like me who are interested in the context of a band and it's influence on prog history. After watching this two times the fun is over and you won't get that much for you money, but it remain an historical document of a special period of a special band. The bad ending gives this affair an inspiring bitter feel and leaves us with one lingering question: what if...?

Report this review (#275570)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not much Pink Floyd or Syd Barrett music is featured in this documentary movie, but it is interesting, nonetheless. I particulary enjoy the last part of the movie when they discuss Syd's relationship with the Floyd members years after he moved on. It is touching to hear the band members discuss having Syd come into the studio while they were recording WISH YOU WERE HERE. Touching and sad, actually. However, the lack of much music by Syd or the band really takes away much from the story. Although there are some Barrett songs performed by friends. This would be interesting to a true Syd Barrett or Pink Floyd fan who wants story rather than tunes. 3 stars. Good but not fantastic.
Report this review (#444969)
Posted Monday, May 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you are bored and you have nothing to do, or if you are just curious about who Syd Barrett really was, get this video. It's more than just a derivative tale of how a pop-rock star tumbled onto the concrete like a giant and heavy piano. It told me pretty much everything I didn't know about Syd: his childhood and teenage-hood, his artistic tendencies, his girlfriend, his first LSD trip, his songwriting and production techniques of choice, etc. It also shedded some light on his solo works and obscure activities in the early 70's, i.e. when he was a randomly acting musician having bad gigs with a backing band. The movie also told me a bit about Mike Leonard, a tutor who was experimenting with light and gave The Pink Floyd Sound (as they were known at the time) something to jam to.

I got to know about a few people on whom Syd made a significant impact, as well as their perceptions of what Syd was delivering in his songs, like 'Vegetable Man' and 'Dominoes'. By the way, when in the movie it was playing 'Jugband Blues' to a speedy montage that had its focus on Janis Joplin and a lobster, that's when that song just clicked with me. I know that's weird.

Maybe this movie does not look really cool and may seem to you as a bit of a preachy documentary about how drugs can take control of you, not the other way around, but I don't see it that way. Besides, I got to hear some of his oldies once again as well as an unheard improvisation The Pink Floyd Sound were playing to one of Leonard's photo-experiments. Odd enough, this is my most favorite "track" of all on the entire film. All it was is E minor, B minor, E minor, B minor, etc., and Rick Wright's organ tone was just something I had to hear.

Syd could have had a bright future had he not tripped too hard, but then again we'll never know.

Stamp: "I like it."

Report this review (#712879)
Posted Friday, April 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Reviewing the phenomenal Rush's "Beyond the lighted stage" documentary I mentioned The Beatles Anthology and this one as the few worth rock documentaries made on the subject of a music group history that can relate for both fans and non-fans alike. This one briefly tells the story of the ascension of Pink Floyd under the guidance of his early mentor and his well-known fall into mental illness that led him to be fired from the group.

From a non-fan point of view I think that the main interesting line of the movie is how a bright and sympathetic young folk lost himself in his first steps to the path of glory. I don't think it's preachy about the drugs subject but you can't talk about Syd's oblivion without mentioning this component that expanded his mental health issues. As a parent it's scary and as a fan it's real sad. The musical component of the story is well-balanced with the life of Syd portion and specially his last Floyd songs are well-explored (Vegetable Man e.g.) to explain his situation at the time, along with his short solo work.

Maybe the most touchyg part of the film is the Floyd members recollection of the Wish you were here sessions, which is actually the only non-Syd Floyd era that is explored on the documentary. It's a profoundly sad part of the band's history at a time when things are slowly starting to fall apart among the members.

All in all it's an interesting, important and depressing movie. But who said that life (and music) is all about joy and happiness?

For any Floyd fan it's an easy 5 stars. Considering the non-fan I think it's a 4 star movie, so I opted for this rating.

Report this review (#806891)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2012 | Review Permalink

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