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Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here

John Edginton

Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here
The problem with a documentary like The Story of Wish You Were Here is that the iconic Pink Floyd album's tale is actually quite well known, even amongst casual fans. This latest regurgitation of the English quartet's past follows the Classic Albums format, interlaying interviews with band members and people close to the group with mixing board listening sessions of alternate takes and mixes from what would prove to be the band's most personal recording. Faced with the daunting task of following up Dark Side of the Moon and its subsequent tour, the English quartet found themselves creatively aimless. Feeling somewhat disillusioned by their new-found fame, singer/bass player Roger Waters cast his gaze back to the group's original singer, Syd Barrett, and wrote "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" after hearing the song's four-note intro played by guitarist David Gilmour. The song became the basis for an album that would espouse disillusionment with the record industry and success ("Have a Cigar," "Welcome to the Machine"), absence and alienation ("Wish You Were Here"). Given that this is a band-sanctioned release, there's little in the way of revelations or juicy gossip ― this is a stick-to-the-legend affair, although it's clear that Barrett's famed appearance in the studio during the recording sessions is still upsetting to members. The main feature is bookended by the band's appearance at Live 8 in 2008. And while the reunion is framed as a reconciliation of sorts, it's clear Gilmour and Waters still have their differences. None of the members are interviewed together and the bonus features include separate solo performances of "Wish You Were Here" by Waters and Gilmour ― clearly neither was willing to share the spotlight. The rest of the bonus material is extended and deleted interviews, including Nick Mason explaining his knack for staying out of the band's famed internal conflicts. The Story of Wish You Were Here provides no revelations or new insights into the creation of one of the cornerstones of the classic rock pantheon. But it tells the tale well and, let's be honest, after all these years, it remains a compelling one. (Eagle Rock)
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