Pink Floyd film at Abbey Road Studios - review
Written by Matt   
Monday, 28 March 2005

As we first revealed on February 6th, key parts of the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London are currently open to the public for the first time ever, presenting a two week season of films scored at Abbey Road. Here we take a close look at all aspects of the event, including Roger Waters' specially written poem!

As part of the Abbey Road Film Festival, the movie "Pink Floyd The Wall" has been screened in Studio 1, the world's largest purpose built recording studio, on March 23rd and 26th. The Festival marks the 25th anniversary of Abbey Road's involvement in the film scoring business. Studio 1 has become a cinema for the duration of the Festival, with a 350 seat capacity.

There are three screenings on each of the 16 days of the festival, with a selection of films scored at the Studios over the last quarter of a century, as well as a few other films associated with the Studios. These range from music films, such as A Hard Day's Night and The Wall, through to action films such as Indiana Jones and Aliens.

Ticket holders are also able to visit the famed Studio 2 where some of the greatest rock and pop recordings of all time have been made, from The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and beyond. Dark Side Of The Moon and Sgt Peppers are just two of the classic albums to have resonated off the studio walls during their creation.

In Studio 2 is a photographic exhibition which is an evocative selection of pictures, showing the studio in action over the years. Amongst these was a shot of Roger Waters and David Gilmour hard at work in the studios, in the early 1980s. Many of the pictures on display are also be available to purchase, with the Floyd shot being one notable exception, sadly.

Dotted around Studio 2 were various artefacts from the recording sessions - the piano used for The Beatles' Lady Madonna, the piano used for A Day In The Life, various microphones, and other items. From looking at the various pictures on display, it is clear that it has been unchanged for decades. The stairs up to the control room were out of bounds, unfortunately.

Also open was the famed Abbey Road canteen, where Nick Mason was once filmed (for the Live At Pompeii movie) turning down a corner piece of apple pie!

Studio 1 was a big disappointment for many, as with the black drapes covering the walls and hanging from the ceilings, none of the studio itself was visible. Having visited Studio 1 in the past, I could picture what was being covered. It is a massive room, hugely impressive, and such a shame that it was shrouded in black.

Indeed, it creates such an impression, that Roger Waters was moved to provide a poem, which is printed in the commemorative programme for the event! His prose, titled "Abbey Road - A Memory" starts with the lines:

      Knocking back the heavy latch
      How cool to take a peak
      Into the vault cathedral still
      Of Studio No. 1...

and concludes with

      ...Then strike one note
      One asdic ping
      Reverberating through the air
      Where Menuhin and Miller once held sway
      How cool to mingle with them there
      In dancing motes that never fade away.

The whole poem is printed in the programme.

The presentation of the film itself was very good. Projected from a DVD source, and with excellent quality surround speakers running at a reasonable volume, the picture was clear and sharp. Strangely enough though, as Bob Geldof whimpers "Stop" in the final section of the film, so the equipment in Abbey Road suffered a failure and the film ceased! Thankfully the technicians managed to get it working and we were treated to the last part.

It is worth noting that prior to the main feature was a short, fascinating documentary looking at the history of the studios, with footage from the Dark Side segment of Live At Pompeii included, along with special "thank yous" for Roger Waters and David Gilmour in the closing credits.

The Abbey Road Film Festival runs from March 19th - April 3rd 2005. The Studios themselves can be found at 3 Abbey Road, London NW8, and full details can be found at Booking is still open through the dedicated box office - telephone 0870 606 3433 in the UK, +44 870 606 3433 outside the UK.

Ticket sales are going very well - indeed, the films relating to The Beatles all sold out very quickly (although, of course, some can be found on eBay!).

Certainly worth making the visit for the unique opportunity to enter possibly the only recording studios in the world that most people would mention if asked to name one!