Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Pink Floyd - London 1966-1967|
Actors: Syd Barrett, John Dunbar, John Lennon, Nick Mason, Yoko Ono
Director: Peter Whitehead
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
In terms of archival value, Pink Floyd: London, 1966-1967 is essential viewing for Floyd collectors and anyone who's curious about the swinging pop scene of London at the dawn of the psychedelic era. Casual fans be warned:... more »
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Set the controls for "Swinging London"
Scott Bresinger | New York, USA | 10/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, this disc is recommeded mainly to Floyd fanatics and Syd Barrett completists, neither of which describes yours truly. Still, this is also useful as a cultural artifact of a brief period of time and place mythologized as "Swinging London," where the burgeoning hippie culture of the late 60's collided with the mod fashionistas that London has always attracted. It was basically then and only then that the terms "hippie" and "hipster" were interchangable. Of course, the presence of cheap and plentiful LSD helped, as well.
The DVD portion of this package is centered around some very early recording sessions for Pink Floyd, who at the time were more interested in largely improvised psychedelic jams, rooted far more in jazz and blues than say, the Grateful Dead and their dreaded progeny, "jam" bands like Phish. This is music to take drugs to listen to music to, as the saying goes. It was not long before the group would start playing actual songs. Within two years of these recordings Syd's mind would be totally fried and a somewhat ghoulish cult would spring up around his final disjointed recordings. Of course, if you watch the brief footage of the band that is included here, one can't help but notice that Syd was already starting on a journey to the center of his mind that he'd never return from. The two lengthy tracks here (one being an early but quite recognizable version of "Interstellar Overdrive") clock in at about a half hour altogether, and that's all the music there is. Purists can listen in the original glorious mono while people who'd like to simulate the drug experience without actually being stoned can take the alternate 5.1 enhancement. For greater convenience, the package also includes a CD with the same music, this time in stereo.
The film on the DVD, shot by Peter Whitehead, is in part an excellent snapshot of what the cultural atmosphere of "Swinging London" was really like, wiping away the commercialized silliness of the "Austin Powers" movies and revelling in a more artistic silliness. A fascinating portrait of the "14 Hour Technicolor Dream" is helpfully condensed to just under 12 minutes, and includes a brief scene of one of Yoko Ono's more notorious performance art pieces, where audience members are invited to cut away at her clothes with scissors. Elsewhere in the crowd is John Lennon, who had not yet met Yoko, filling his downtime from the Beatles by becoming a professional scenester (I'm not knocking him; we should all be so lucky to do that). The only real "special features" are short (about 2-4 minutes apiece) interview segments of celebrities and luminaries--Mick Jagger, Michael Caine, Julie Christie and David Hockney. None of them have much to say, but it still creates a fascinating portrait of the milieu. In any event, the picture quality is wonderful; some of this looks as is if it could have been shot yesterday. Mind you, the direction, full of quick cuts and loopy pans, are more a product of their time, although the influence on music videos is unmistakable.
Don't expect this short release to be a complete learning experience, but it's nevertheless an interesting artifact, and I couldn't help but notice that some of the music bears more than a passing resemblance to current noisemakers such as the Black Dice. History again repeats itself..."
Buyer beware-2 floyd songs & irrelevant filler
P. G. Weidner | Breckenridge, Co. USA | 11/11/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"i guess the interviews are relevant, by the fact that they are indeed from the 60's. that's about it. you get to hear julie christie, michael caine, david hockney, and jagger talk about their feelings. i knew that the floyd performed only two songs, but i did expect to see 'the floyd' during these performances. it's more like a music video, with occasional shots of the band. a time capsule of history i agree, but if you're going to release a dvd and call it a 'pink floyd' dvd, have more than 28 and a half minutes of the band (shown sporadically), and some meaningless interviews to round it out to an hour. just another example of using the 'pink floyd' name to sell a dvd. should have known better when 'rolling stone' gave it a good review. 2 stars cause it's syd barrett even if you don't get to see very much of him. (or the rest of the band for that matter) very disappointing."
Kerry Leimer | Makawao, Hawaii United States | 12/26/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"We are once again asked to witness the snarled and ultimately predatory relationship between music and commerce. This DVD should be promoted as a short film by Peter Whitehead, supplemented by shorter interviews with Michael Caine, Julie Christie and a few others (uniformly uninteresting interviews, by the way). Then one could approach this for what it is, the work of a filmmaker who happened to like what Pink Floyd got up to on stage and decided to edit event footage using Floyd's music as the soundtrack -- the ONLY soundtrack by the way: no location sound occurs anywhere. When you watch the performance the sound you hear is the sound of studio overdubs, not of live performance. Had this DVD been titled "Let's Make Love in London, A Short Quasi-Documentary Film Featuring Mostly Stoned Audience Members Trying to Dance to a Soundtrack by Pink Floyd" one assumes interest would be significantly lower. Instead, it is billed as a film about Pink Floyd, which it clearly is not.
Looked at as a documentary snippet of an era in which noodling -- with sound or with images or with other persons -- was elevated to high art, this DVD stands as little more than a mildly interesting example of period style, never attaining the heights of better works of the time which could be indexed as "style, period."
Looked at as a Pink Floyd concert, you will be better off slipping on the "full length" CD versions of the hastily-made studio takes of a somewhat rambling "Interstellar Overdrive" and a nearly disposable "Nick's Boogie". (As an unrelated aside, "Nick's Boogie" does beg the listener to participate in a rather playful thought-experiment: What would the early work of Floyd, up to and including Umma Gumma, have sounded like if Nick Mason had been forced to play without his tom-toms?)
As another reviewer has already correctly noted, with some effort this could have been of great interest (Think Allen Ginsberg, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Syd Barrett, et al) had those in a rush to grab a few bucks considered a better, more honest effort to include relevant information and opinions about the events, the time and the place from the artists involved. Absent of Whitehead's somewhat self-congratulatory tone, others directy involved in the events documented here remain literally mute. But before we get ahead of ourselves on compiling a list of possible improvements, given the bald-faced greed demonstrated by the manner in which this material is "packaged", do the artists even matter in this case?
HAPPY '08 UPDATE: It's good to see that the manufacturer has done the right thing and discontinued this DVD.
Great material, endlessly repackaged...
Walter Five | 13th Floor Elevator, Enron Hubbard Bldg. Houston T | 05/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, this *is* great. It's a Holy Grail in Psychedilic Music. The Pink Floyd footage here pre-dates their EMI Contract, the band signed the releases, so it's the earliest available Pink Floyd footage and music to be legitimately found *anywhere*, coming from Feburary 1967. (Another underground film, "San Francisco" has the Floyd playing a long version of Interstellar Overdrive from 1966, but it's an audio soundtrack; no film of the band to go with it). It's also one of the very few non-bootleg DVDs that actually has the Floyd's founder, Syd Barrett present, and without the drug-induced confusion that would cause his departure from the band a year later.
However, this has got to be the fifth, or sixth time (at least) that this material has been re-packaged and re-released. And it's same material that's been available since the original 1988 VCR release. If you've already bought it before, you'll find nothing new in this edition. If you've somehow *missed* the previous incarnations of this release though, buy this with confidence, it's the real thing."