On Thursday evening, 'Syd Barrett – A Celebration', a concert organised by Cambridge Live in conjunction with the Barrett family and estate, took place at the site of Syd's last ever public performance. The Corn Exchange in Cambridge was also the location chosen for a commemorative artwork, unveiled at a VIP reception before the sold-out concert in front of Syd's family and friends. Also in attendance were the remaining members of Stars, the band who Syd played with at his final performance at the venue.
The artwork - on permanent display in the venue - was designed by artists Clare Palmier and Spadge Hopkins with fabrication from Cory Burr. The piece is called CODA and uses reflective surfaces and bicycle components, along with a wheel spinning to reveal LED images of Syd.
As with all such art, a number of decisions as to the final presentation of the piece were required, looking at the balance between practicality and appearance, especially with the work being in a public space (albeit much of the time behind closed doors). Some of the imagery resulted from physical items being built, including a lovely metal silhouette of Syd's head which could be seen rotating at one point in the LED display.
Whilst completely different to what I (and others, it seems) were expecting, the piece is a fascinating and unique piece, that attendees of the venue are sure to find themselves absorbed in. Still pictures do not do the piece justice, as it does need to be seen in motion. Over on our Facebook page you can see a video showing some of the movement and images that drift in and out of sight.
Following the artwork unveiling, the main event was the very enjoyable - and for some, quite emotional - concert featuring Swedish band Men on the Border backed by the 50-piece Sandviken Symphony Orchestra who hail from the same town in Sweden as the band. MotB covered a wide range of Barrett songs, with some dramatic and unexpected symphonic interpretations on offer.
The concert also featured narration from acclaimed playwright, and former school friend of Syd, David Gale, and suitably psychedelic lighting - not just on the stage, but covering the walls, ceilings and even some of us in the audience of the Corn Exchange - by Peter Wynne-Willson, who was responsible for the Floyd's early light shows between 1966-68.
Also helping out, at one point, was Rachel Barrett who assisted on vocals, and can be seen in the pictures below (as can David and Peter).
To see a couple of local news video reports, visit ITV.com, and the BBC website.
Finally, here's some further pictures from the evening, of the concert itself: