Watch the Trippy Screen Projections Used by Pink Floyd During their Dark Side of the Moon Tours

Even in the ear­ly years of Pink Floyd’s career, the band was exper­i­ment­ing with the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the live expe­ri­ence. Already daz­zling audi­ences with boom­ing sound, col­or­ful light shows, and bub­bling translu­cent oil pro­jec­tions, the group called in Abbey Road engi­neers to design a quadro­phon­ic sound sys­tem in 1967 to send Rick Wright’s key­boards around the con­cert hall, along with nature sounds, foot­steps, or mani­a­cal laugh­ter.

By the time of Dark Side of the Moon, the band had even more of a bud­get, and began to screen short films, some ani­mat­ed, dur­ing their world tour con­certs. Not real­ly pro­mo­tion­al videos, these films haven’t been seen out­side their live con­text since. But the Inter­net has a way of find­ing these things.

Ear­li­er this month, sev­er­al YouTube users uploaded the film reels used on Pink Floyd’s 1974 North Amer­i­can Tour, with music from Dark Side of the Moon added back in to give an indi­ca­tion of how it was used in the show. (The mix­es are also quite dif­fer­ent from the album–maybe a fan can tell us from where these come?)

We get some very Kubrick-like trav­el­ing shots down both an emp­ty hos­pi­tal cor­ri­dor and of Heathrow’s arrival lounge, and lat­er a fist punch­ing a bowl of eggs, Zabriskie Point-like explod­ing tele­vi­sions, shots of Nixon and Idi Amin, and final­ly back to open­ing shots of the moon for the finale.

But there’s also moments of ani­ma­tion cre­at­ed then-unknown film­mak­er Ian Emes.

The up-and-com­ing and self-taught artist had already made an ani­ma­tion “French Win­dows” set to the Floyd song “One of these Days,” filled with trip­py land­scapes and roto­scoped dancers. It won awards at ani­ma­tion fes­ti­vals and was shown on British TV. Accord­ing to Emes:

“Hav­ing seen my film French Win­dows on BBC’s The Old Grey Whis­tle Test, the band com­mis­sioned me to make their first-ever ani­mat­ed film, which they sub­se­quent­ly toured the world with. The Time sequence is used to this day. It was a breath­tak­ing expe­ri­ence to see my film pro­ject­ed live at Wem­b­ley Are­na before a huge crowd of tripped out fans.”

The con­cert films dif­fered from coun­try to coun­try, shar­ing 75 per­cent of their footage, which means if you are a true fan, you’ll have to watch the British Tour ver­sion and the French Tour to know what you’re miss­ing. The British ver­sion fea­tures more infor­ma­tion, but it’s not clear if it’s also by Emes.

After Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd con­tin­ued to bring visu­als into their live shows, most notably anoth­er ani­ma­tion for “Wel­come to the Machine,” seen below. This time they used anoth­er up-and-com­ing illus­tra­tor and ani­ma­tor called Ger­ald Scarfe to cre­ate the har­row­ing graph­ics. Scarfe, of course, would lat­er cre­ate many more works for Pink Floy­d’s The Wall, and those ani­ma­tions would be used in con­cert and lat­er in the Alan Park­er film, The Wall.

via Boing Boing

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pink Floyd Per­forms on US Tele­vi­sion for the First Time: Amer­i­can Band­stand, 1967

Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” Pro­vides a Sound­track for the Final Scene of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

Hear Lost Record­ing of Pink Floyd Play­ing with Jazz Vio­lin­ist Stéphane Grap­pel­li on “Wish You Were Here”

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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Comments (3)
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  • A. Gh. says:

    The first video is removed from YouTube now, and the asso­ci­at­ed account ter­mi­nat­ed. This is not the first inci­dent of remov­ing even the short­est of clips!

    I won­der why Pink­Floyd, with all their lega­cy, fan­dom, and great­est days behind them, are being so aggres­sive in pros­e­cut­ing whose who want to share their art, enjoy it, study it and spread it, moti­vat­ed not by prof­it, but by love and appre­ci­a­tion!

    I won­der whether Pink Floyd them­selves are aware and approv­ing of this prac­tice, or it is their legal agents and YouTube’s robot­ic agents who are act­ing on their own accord!

  • ymo1965 says:

    Lucky I man­aged to grab it before it was tak­en down :)

  • WKwkms says:

    Is there any­way you could share them with me?

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