From the faux "backstage pass" front cover, the memorabilia-strewn back cover, and the staging schematics just inside the cover, it is immediately apparent that Bobby Hassall's "Backstage" is a Pink Floyd book with a difference.
A revised and rejuvinated edition of the book Hassall originally published in limited numbers back in 1991 (and distributed via Brain Damage Magazine), it is a fascinating look at life on the road as he follows Pink Floyd's 1989 Another Lapse tour, Knebworth 1990, and, now in this new edition, the 1994 Division Bell tour in Europe. Initial attempts to jump fences and dodge security to see the shows ended with Hassall being "adopted" by the stage crew and even ending up working with
From the outset, Hassall's book draws you in and absorbs. Clearly written by a fan, for fans, the style is conversational and first person in perspective. As each situation presents itself, and the author manages to make each "blag" further into the live show, you feel his sense of astonishment and thrill at his achievements. Just how easy certain things were comes as quite a surprise.
Throughout, Hassell seems pretty grounded, metaphorically pinching himself at each turn, and never really adopts a superior or casual note, knowing that each experience was a privilege.
Part diary, part scrapbook, and part narrative, Hassall brings the reader into each situation and the various elements (including his numerous backstage/operational pictures) all come together well. In addition, Hassall includes some interesting technical drawings and details gleaned from key members of the road crew - such as the lighting rig details, and the make-up of the whole Venice staging operation - that flesh out the book nicely.
Whilst there are longer Floyd books out there, this is a nicely presented, large format book which makes no bones about focusing on a small number of shows. The original version of the book found favour with David, Richard and Nick, as Hassall found when he approached the Floyd's then-manager, the late Steve O'Rourke. Find out why they enjoyed it so much, and were touched that Hassall went to all the effort of publishing the book, by placing your order now directly through the publishers, www.mindheadpublishing.co.uk.