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Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVDReleased by Eagle Vision, August 2003

The thirtieth anniversary celebrations of Pink Floyd's most celebrated album continue unabated, with the release on DVD and VHS of a documentary that was produced by Eagle Vision for broadcast on the BBC in the UK, earlier this year.

At the time, many UK fans were flabbergasted at the quality of the programme, and the depth of rare material included. Naturally, fans worldwide were somewhat dismayed at missing a milestone in Floyd visual entertainment; for a band who has always taken pride in the quality of the images, there is scandalously little video footage - legitimate or otherwise - in comparison to many of their peers.

Hopefully this review will provide a few tasters for you of what is included on what is a definate essential purchase. If you saw the original BBC broadcast, let me assure you that you will want this title in your collection - there's a lot more to take your breath away!

Opening the DVD case, which features a nicely designed cover, depicting pyramids at dusk (front) and at night (back), you then get the disc itself, with another new stained glass window DSOTM image, and a four page insert with a selection of pictures from the history of the album. All of the artwork on this DVD has been specially designed by Storm Thorgerson, which makes it an even nicer overall package.
Slip the disc in, and you get some nicely designed, animated menus, which feature the sound of a radio, with someone searching for a station not playing a Floyd tune! They have no success, tuning in and out of a succession of such stations...

Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - main menu
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - extras menu

The picture is presented throughout in very clear, very crisp anamorphic widescreen, with no sign of any digital or film artifacts intruding into the picture. Obviously some of the rare footage included has the odd mark or negative scratch, but that is a fault of the original, not this top quality transfer. The sound too, is excellent. Sadly not in 5.1 surround, the Dolby Digital 2.0 is clear and dynamic.
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - David at the mixing desk
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - David Gilmour

Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - Rick Wright
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - Money introduction loop

The main feature covers the genesis of the album - the events and music which lead up to it, the influences, and also the result of recording an album like this. All the members of the band are interviewed in depth - Roger, David, Richard and Nick, with all of them apart from Nick also recreating certain key songs and moments on a variety of instruments. Outside of the band, others are interviewed too - including Alan Parsons, the original engineer, who demonstrates things at length, and Chris Thomas, who mixed the album.

Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - Roger Waters
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - studio log

The documentary is full of great surprises, culled we suspect from Nick's extensive archives mainly. Things kick off in great style with the original studio rehearsals of Breathe, followed by David picking out the song on a guitar in his studio, Richard demonstrating certain key chords, Alan Parsons showing how David's double tracked vocals were created, and ending with audio and video of the end of Breathe and the start of On The Run (then called "The Travel Sequence" or "Travel") from the very first live performance (Brighton, England on 20th January 1972)!
This sets the scene for the rest of the album, with plenty of lovely present-day recreations of songs or parts of songs, by David, Roger and Richard, alongside original demos of the tracks, dusted off for us to hear. It is also fascinating to see the intricacies of the recording process, and the number of layers of instrumentation involved in the overall "sound" of the album.
You also get a chance to see two key individuals - Roger "The Hat" Manifold, who provides various comments and the crazed laughter, and Abbey Road doorman Gerry O'Driscoll, who provided the closing words on the album:
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - Roger The Hat
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - Classic Albums DVD - Gerry O'Driscoll

An astonishing forty-nine minutes - but that isn't all! There's a full set of extras included too - stuff that was either edited out or didn't really fit within the documentary. It provides a number of superb performances - Roger's acoustic Brain Damage, David's solo in Money, Richard's Us & Them chord sequences, David's acoustic Breathe onboard the Astoria, and so on.

Roger's original demo of Time sounds so much like Space Oddity era Bowie, and also features the original "Lying supine in the sunshine, let the grass grow in your brain..." lyric. The final extra, "Gerry Has The Last Word" finishes the DVD in the same way as the album, with Mr O'Driscoll's full "there is no Dark Side Of The Moon..." quote, heard for the first time, and repeated twice.

A fitting end.

If you cannot resist this essential title - and who could blame you? - it can be ordered through these special links, at time of writing this, with the bonus of a discount on the normal price! US/International, UK, Canada, France, or Germany. Buying any item through our Amazon links helps this site - and we appreciate it!

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