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Snapper Music presents
Pink Floyd: London 1966/1967 (1966/1967)

"Tonight, let's all make love in London."
- Allan Ginsberg

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: November 02, 2005

Stars: Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright
Director: Peter Whitehead

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (brief nudity)
Run Time: 00h:29m:19s
Release Date: October 04, 2005
UPC: 636551504676
Genre: rock


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- BB+A- B-

DVD Review

With the release of their 1975 album, Dark Side of the Moon, England's Pink Floyd would cement a place in music history, with the longest charting album of all time. Under the direction of bass guitarist, Roger Waters, and guitarist, David Gilmour, the band would continue to release landmark albums and stage live events on a scale unseen before, but Pink Floyd's origins a decade before the band's breakthrough success are due in large part to the mastermind of original guitarist and leader, Syd Barrett, who left the band a victim of his overindulgences with LSD. The first two Floyd albums, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets showcased Barrett's unique, and often bizarre, songwriting talents, influenced by the drug culture of the time.

By 1965, Pink Floyd were beginning to make an impression on the London scene with their long form improvised jams. While attending the British Film Institute, filmmaker Peter Whitehead was enlisted to document the burgeoning London scene, and a mutual aquaintence suggested using the band on the project. Already familiar with the Floyd from his time in Cambridge, where they rehearsed in the basement of the house he was living in, he agreed to shoot them in a studio environment, also funding the two day recording session. Included here are the two instrumental tracks from that session, which are intercut with excerpts of Floyd perfomances at the UFO and Marquee clubs, framed by a montage of footage capturing the atmospheric of the time, including 1967's 14 Hour Technicolor Dream, which included a collection of musical and performance artists, including Yoko Ono, and an appearance by Beatle John Lennon circa the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

The first track, Interstellar Overdrive, became a centerpiece of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn album, recorded a few months later, and while performance versions clocked in at up to a half hour or more, this rendition runs just over 17 minutes. The second track is an improvisation, later dubbed Nick's Boogie, which more a free form jam.

Floyd's early work stands in sharp contrast to the highly orchestrated, elaborately produced works that the band has become known for, and this film captures a raw genesis that would ultimately evolve into what it is today. The film, entitled Tonite Let's All Make Love in London, after a line from an Allen Ginsberg poem, eventually had most of Floyd's performances removed in favor of other artists on the sponsoring label's roster, but this verion restores the complete session recording for the soundtrack. Filled with psychadelic imagery, it represents a fleeting era in the musical landscape, and will interest both musical historians and hard core Floyd fans.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality is very respectable considering the film format and the age of the material. Grain structure is evident but natural looking. Film defects are minor, colors are vivid, blacks solid, and the black and white segments don't exhibit any transfer induced anomalies.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in both original mono and an enhanced 5.1 track. The mono track is solid, with a sound quality fitting for the era, not overly hyped in either bass or high frequency. The 5.1 one track is noticibly louder, with more pronounced highs, and is also more enveloping in its ambience, although not really directional.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Music/Song Access with 2 cues and remote access
Packaging: Digipak
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus CD
  2. Interviews
  3. Bonus footage
  4. Overview with the director
Extras Review: On disc extras include an overview (3m:19s) and comments on the London experience (4m:37s) with director Peter Whitehead, along with interview clips from Mick Jagger (3m:18s), Michael Caine (2m:42s), Julie Christie (4m:43s) and David Hockney (6m:49s).

The package also contains an essay on Whitehead by Mike Stax, plus a bonus CD with the two studio recordings included on the film soundtrack.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

This pair of performances will appeal first and foremost to the hard core Pink Floyd fan for whom this will be essential, to finally enable having these recordings in their entirety, both accompanying the film and on the bonus CD. It will also be of interest to those looking for a representation of the mood of the mid sixties London era. Those without previous exposure to Floyd's early work or an appreciation for the psychadelic influences may find it too unstructured and arty.

 


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