Essentially borrowing the format of the “Classic Albums” series, Eagle Vision and Kayos Productions has just released the excellent Pink Floyd – The Story of Wish You Were Here on DVD.
Packed with new interviews of the three surviving Floyds (and some old ones with the departed keyboardist Richard Wright), this outstanding documentary sheds light on the quartet’s follow-up to Dark Side of the Moon.
Dark Side of the Moon is arguably one of the finest classic rock albums ever. Moon was on the Billboard chart for a record 741 consecutive weeks. A proper concept album that matches brilliant lyrics with memorable melodies. Packaged with iconic cover-art imagery and innovative recording studio trickery – Moon is a true watershed in rock and roll.
The story of that album is brilliantly captured in one of Classic Album’s finest installments (for Dark Side of the Moon). Not only did Moon propel the Floyd from astral-jam band cult status into mainstream super-stardom, but it also set the stage for their eventual break up as Waters began to assert his dictatorial control.
The story of the pressure of following up with Moon and the power struggles within the band are vividly captured on the new DVD. The dots from David Gilmore’s breakthrough four-note opening riff to Roger Waters’ decision to make Wish You Were Here a concept album about departed founder Syd Barrett are all connected here.
The biggest challenge with these types of documentaries is that many musicians who were there are bumbling idiots, drug burnouts, or worse of all… dead. They can not remember nor explain the past. To compensate, these documentaries bring in talking head ringers who weren’t there to flesh out the story. This is very hit-or-miss.
Fortunately, leader/lyricist/bassist Roger Waters, guitarist/singer David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, and keyboardist Richard Wright are some of the most articulate rock musicians. Not only do they recall the story, but they tell it with drama and perspective. The story is told primarily through their words.
There are also scenes at the mixing board where parts of the album are isolated and replayed with commentary – a classic album staple. These scenes are terrific. The interviews with the artists who did the album’s “burning man” cover are also excellent.
For many Floyd fans, Wish You Were Here is the most intimate of their albums. Perhaps this is due to the band’s connection with Syd – as all were affected by his burnout and subsequent exit from the bar. Could be. There is a certain ominousness to his visit to the studio and all strain holding back emotion as they recall the story.
Whatever the case, Here serves up an undeniably great triumvirate of rock classics, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “Have a Cigar,” and “Wish You Were Here” – which will forever be played anywhere classic rock is.
Therefore classic rock fans should not miss this terrific documentary! Four stars!