While the mid to late ‘60s psychedelic era was forming in the San Francisco Bay Area, Britain was undergoing a pop and Cultural Revolution via the London Free School and underground movement. Back then, Pink Floyd served as the musical force via its mixed media performances, and soon-to-be fallen idol and guitarist, vocalist Syd Barrett. Although in reflection, Floyd’s Roger Waters states that he really didn’t know what the underground movement was all about. Since the young band was more focused on its natural progression and frequent gigs at Britain’s now legendary, UFO Club.
The flick zooms in on Barrett’s ingenuity with mention of his influence by free-jazz and experimental Brit icon Keith Rowe. And of course, we get the play-by-play of Barrett’s eventual self-destruction due to his excessive drug use. As Floyd drummer Nick Mason offers numerous insights, also including thoughts and reminisces by underground movement catalyst and photographer John "Hoppy" Hopkins.
The documentary is talky but informative and quite interesting. The footage is interspersed with black & white and trippy Technicolor type shots interspersed with previously unreleased footage of Floyd’s ‘60s performances. Phil May of The Pretty Things provides candid iterations as other notables from the scene discuss the activism and overall craze that manifested the country during that era.
The chronological events lead up to the fourteen-hour "Technicolor Dream," all-night event that occurred at Alexandra Palace on April 29, 1967. Prior to that seminal concert, there was a beat-poet reading at London’s Albert Hall to include innuendos such as poet Harry Fainlight’s amphetamine induced and quixotic rants about his experiences with LSD. Essentially, the underground dynamic marked a shift for Britain’s post World War II austerity, much as it did within the USA’s Vietnam War malaise.
Featuring shots of drug-crazed youth dancing and tripping out, Mason and Waters elaborate upon Barrett’s demise. For example, he detuned his strings until they fell off the fretboard during a concert. Moreover, the musicians also discuss Floyd’s extended song-forms, which were out of the norm for that era. Otherwise, the program is consummated with bonus material of the group’s 1967 performances of "Astronomy Domine, "Scarecrow," and "Arnold Layne." Essential viewing....