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Case Number 27396: Small Claims Court

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The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story

Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2001 // 48 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // May 29th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Daryl Loomis is just a lost soul swimming in a fish bowl year after year.

The Charge

Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?

The Case

In 1965, London college students Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright formed a band called Pink Floyd. Their psychedelic sound and elaborate stage shows got them established in London and, soon, the rest of England, but it was their weirdness that made them unique among their fellow bands. Much of their early creative spark came from guitarist and frontman Syd Barrett, a poetic madman whose vision made his lyrics and rhythms a sound that was one of a kind.

The trouble was that Barrett also was a fan of LSD, a really big fan, and his frequent acid trips, shockingly, got to him eventually. By 1968, his increasingly erratic onstage behavior brought his tenure to the band and the band replaced him with David Gilmour. For Pink Floyd, they would reach international acclaim and live shows with production values that rival Hollywood budgets. Syd Barrett had a different path and, after a pair of moderately successful solo records, called it a career and lived a quiet life with his mother in Cambridge.

Frankly, it's not the most exciting tale of rock and roll excess ever, but The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story adeptly relays the tale, uneventful as that story might be. It's sad, I suppose; I've known acid burnouts and nobody likes to see that, but it's not as though he did anything all that outrageous or, really, that interesting.

I should specify that I'm only disinterested in the story of his breakdown, because I'm a huge fan of the music he created. Great as some of their records were, Pink Floyd was never the same after Barrett left. The spark was gone and, although a different kind of energy emerged and they did some truly unique work, those first albums are the ones I return to over the years.

The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story, through interviews and archival footage, get all of this across perfectly well. Originally produced for BBC in 2001, all the members of the band chime in, along with other associates and friends, all telling pretty much the same tale: a mad genius, a sad story, a wasted talent, etc.

Fans of the band already know the story backward and forward, but they'll still enjoy hearing it all over again. The archival footage shows them at their craziest; these are concerts I would die to have attended. It's an insubstantial documentary, but I can't really argue with anything about it. The only complaint might be that, in the time since the piece originally aired, Barrett passed away. Some kind of update would have been nice in the meantime, but as far as anybody in the movie is concerned, he's alive and well in Cambridge.

The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story is an Eagle Rock reissue of their own 2006 DVD. The packaging makes it look like a Blu-ray, and maybe that was strategy, but it's definitely a standard definition release. I'm not sure what difference it would make, though, and it looks fine as it is. This is all interviews and archival footage, so it looks sharp and crisp in the former and understandably rough in the latter. The sound is a standard stereo mix with clean vocals and decently rich music.

Extras are limited to additional uncut interviews from each member of the band, as well as Robyn Hitchcock, an old friend of the band. Pink Floyd fans will love the additional material and, at over two hours in length, dwarfs the main feature and makes the set much better value.

If you already own the original release of The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story, there's nothing to make you buy this one. If you like Pink Floyd and haven't seen it, it's a perfectly worthy musical documentary about a relatively sad rock 'n' roll story I can easily recommend.

The Verdict

Case dismissed.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 84

Perp Profile

Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.66:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• French
• German
Running Time: 48 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Concerts and Musicals
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Interviews


• PinkFloyd.com

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