At the Live 8 concert in London, England, in 2005, Roger Waters joined his old mates in Pink Floyd for a show-stopping set. With the passing of keyboardist Richard Wright, it would be the last time the classic Dark Side Of The Moon lineup of the band would play together in public, making “Wish You Were Here,” a high point in their set, even more poignant. The scenes for this concert serve as the introduction to the Blu-ray about the album of the same name, Pink Floyd: The Story Of Wish You Were Here.
Four notes from David Gilmour’s guitar were all it took for Waters to come up with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” a song about the band’s original guitarist and leader, Syd Barrett. The whole album’s not about Barrett, of course, but a sense of absence permeates the record and, given Barrett’s descent into madness, it’s not hard to frame these songs around him.
The album’s lyrics also reflect a disillusionment with the music industry and nowhere is this more evident than on the scathing “Have A Cigar.” After Gilmour and Waters decided that Waters would not be able to give the vocals the treatment they felt it deserved, singer Roy Harper was brought in to finish the track, a move Waters now regrets.
The Blu-ray, which is similar to the Classic Album series, is told through a series of individual interviews with the surviving band members and through archival footage of Wright. Gilmour and Waters demonstrate some of the songs on guitar and we are treated to isolated tracks from a mixing board. In addition to the new material is archival footage from the period. While Gilmour and Waters really started butting heads during this period, they are quick today to point out the accomplishments of one another on the album.
We also hear from Storm Thorgerson, designer of the Wish You Were Here album cover. Thorgerson wanted the album cover to represent the band’s music without having a photo of the band. From this we learn that in those pre-Photoshop says, if one wanted a man on fire on their album cover, they literally had to set him on fire. This image, fitting for one of their most memorable albums, is one of the most iconic of the band’s career.
The Blu-ray is offered in 1080i high definition widescreen, presented in a 16:9 (1.78:1) ratio. If offers the choice between DTS-HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo. Bonus material includes 25 minutes of additional footage not shown on television.
Wish You Were Here conveys the feeling of absence better than most albums, which is perhaps why so many people easily relate to it. The fact that the lyrics are based around memorable music doesn’t hurt either. For better or worse, Waters would take more control over the band for the remaining three albums he did with them, culminating with his departure in 1985. Pink Floyd: The Story Of Wish You Were Here tells the story of one of the last fully collaborative albums the group was to make, which was also one of their best.