Pink Floyd – The Story Of Wish You Were Here – Blu-ray (2012)
Interviews with Roger Waters; David Gilmour; Nick Mason; Richard Wright; Storm Thorgerson; Roy Harper; Brian Humphries; Jill Furmanovsky; Aubrey “Po” Powell; Venetta Fields; and many others
Chapters: Prologue; Into the Studio; Have a Cigar; The Album Cover; Shine On You Crazy Diamond; Welcome To The Machine; The Burning Man; Wish You Were Here; Epilogue; Bonus Features
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment [6/26/12]
Director: John Edgington
Video: 1.78:1 for 16×9 1080i HD, color and B&W
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, PCM Stereo
Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: Audio **** Video****
With the avalanche of re-mastered Pink Floyd material, a wider audience is able to contemplate their strong musical impact. The entire catalogue has been re-released. There has been a specific focus on Dark Side Of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. Multi-disc boxes, vinyl and hi-resolution digital recordings have enhanced these seminal recordings. The band members, (especially the feuding Roger Waters and David Gilmour) have become very accessible to discuss all things Pink Floyd.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s latest offering is a Blu-ray documentary entitled Pink Floyd: The Story Of Wish You Were Here. In a concise, informative eighty-five minute film, the various details about the 1975 album are discussed at great lengths. Using simple interview head shots, archival footage and photographs, the narrative contexts are explained. There are incisive musical anecdotes (ex: how the opening four notes of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” served as a base for the album). The three surviving members (Waters, Gilmour, Mason) reminisce all about founder Syd Barrett and his influence on the material. There are abbreviated scenes (black & white and color) of vintage performances (“Astronomy Domine”, “Jugband Blues”) interspersed with the sorrowful recounting of his LSD-induced breakdown.
Of greater interest are the details of the songs and their eventual sequencing. Not lost is the struggle for creative control between Waters and Gilmour. Sound engineer Brian Humphries goes back into Abbey Studios to demonstrate many intricate instrumental and vocal elements of the original master tapes. Veteran musician Roy Harper, whose vocals on “Have A Cigar” were amazing (Waters seems a bit resentful about this), regales the viewer with his version of the story. Throughout the interviews, Gilmour and Waters (in separate studios of course) play bits of songs “live”.
Taking into consideration the visceral artwork of this project, several contributors are interviewed, including Storm Thorgerson (album designer), Aubrey “Po” Powell (album photographer) and Jill Furmanovsky (studio photographer). Another highlight is surreal animation from Geralde Scarfe (who also makes an appearance in the documentary). The stuntman used in the “burning man” cover, talks about the photo session.
The transfer to Blu-ray is clear and balanced. The animation scene of a sea of blood morphing into “hands” is extraordinary. The sound is very clear…you can hear every spoken word easily. Although there is excellent 5.1, there is not a lot of extended musical output. Consequently the PCM stereo is more than adequate. The bonus feature (comprising nearly twenty-five minutes) is exceptional. There are back to back performances of “Wish You Were Here” by Waters and Gilmour, underscoring the brilliance of their songwriting.
TrackList: A Last Recording; Astronomy Domine; Breathe (In The Air); Have A Cigar; Interstellar Overdrive; Jugband Blues; Pow R. Toc H.; Set The Control For The Heart Of The Sun; Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5); Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-8); Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part 9; Us And Them; Welcome To The Machine; Wine Glasses; Wish You Were Here:
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.