The British psychedelic/progressive rock group Pink Floyd achieved several hundreds of live performances from their beginnings to 1995. However, only three live albums and four video titles were officially released by major labels, and the huge majority of the shows was recorded by fans using stealth equipment; in fact, the band admitted that none of their shows were professionally recorded nor filmed in a long period (this is not entirely accurate: several soundboard recordings and even pro-shot films surfaced and were released by RoIO [Record of Illegitimate/Indeterminate Origin] labels and even by the official labels).
As with many bands in the 1970s, most of the live shows had a strict no-camera rule, making video recording very difficult for both audiences and TV. Very little footage has been filmed by news stations, compared to the extensive time the band played. This decision was made by the band management as a marketing strategy: Creating a mystical image of the group (by releasing very little amount of photographs for example) eventually led more people to buy the albums and follow the band, they then didn't need any more advertising or exposure to the mainstream medias. While the band has made several TV appearances, full-length live footage is rare (with some exceptions, notably a few pro-shots at music festivals) and considered as holy grail for many fans.
Syd Barrett Era (1966-1967)
Pink Floyd made mostly TV appearances during the period when the group was led by Syd Barrett; the magazine Record Collector listed at least 20 live performances, but only 5 (more or less) of these shows have been found. Footage with Syd Barrett is considered as extremely rare, and no complete concert has surfaced in any video form.
Most of these TV extracts disappeared due to the common method of wiping the tapes, very usual among companies like the BBC at this time. Several events are poorly documented: sometimes a TV crew is only briefly mentioned in a local newspaper, without any more information. Very little is known about the group appearance in foreign TV shows. Finally, there are some documentaries that are believed to include footage from the band, but nothing can be confirmed since they weren't rebroadcast or the tapes were lost/wiped in most of the cases.
Thanks to private recordings and pirates copies, some of the TV broadcasts in question resurfaced in various degrees of video quality: in January 2011, the BFI discovered in a private collection two (albeit damaged) recordings of the Top Of The Pops show from 1967, one of them featuring a live performance of See Emily Play with Syd Barrett.
Three live performances with Syd Barrett are notably known to have been recorded, partially or entirely:
- A small portion of their 20 January '67 show at the UFO club appeared in a Underground Scene documentary broadcast on Granada TV (now ITV Granada). The show could have been entirely taped. Another UFO show is known to have been taped by Videoheads' Jack Moore, and Hoppy Hopkins is in possession of one or more recordings too.
- A mystifying photo taken during the International Love-In festival (on 29 July '67 at the Alexandra Palace, London) clearly shows a cameraman filming Syd Barrett on stage. It is supposed that the cameraman was working either for the French ORTFTV (as a news segment about the festival was broadcast on French TV later that day), the BBC (which is known to have recorded lot of footage for music programs) or a Dutch company. Since none of Pink Floyd footage from this day appeared as of 2014, the film captured by the cameraman might have been judged unusable and wiped.
- In a Joe Cockers's With A Little Help From My Friends promo, are included 3 seconds of footage from the "Christmas On Earth Continued" concert that took place on 22 December '67 at the Grand and National Halls with Jimi Hendrix, Traffic and Pink Floyd.
None of the aforementioned footage has since appeared publicly.
A fair amount of TV appearances, mostly on French and British TV, are mentioned in Record Collector. Unfortunately, most of this footage remains elusive, probably locked in archive vaults or lost forever, still due to the tapes-wiping practice.
The Pink Floyd Video Anthology from the RoIO label Harvested, which is generally accepted as the most complete unofficial video collection of the band, features a little less than 20 TV segments from this era (after the departure of Syd Barrett), complete or not, despite extensive researches.
Hyde Park & Fête de l'Humanité (1970)Pink Floyd was one of the groups performing live on the 5-hours Hyde Park free concert in London, on July 18th, 1970. Beside the audio of the whole Pink Floyd segment (1 hour long) was entirely recorded by audience tapers, the whole 280-minutes show was filmed as well by Hoppy Hopkins (the founder of the legendary underground “UFO” club where Pink Floyd previously played, and also member of the International Times paper editorial team) for TVX. The full performance was allegedly screened two times publicly, shortly after the concert, and the Pink Floyd segment was released, albeit in poor quality, on a Japanese bootleg DVD (sourced from a 2006 transfer). The 2006 transfer revealed the poor condition of the reel: only Atom Heart Mother was entirely recoverable. The 5 other songs were really damaged and/or suffered tracking problems. A cleaner version of the footage, sourced from an earlier transfer, represents today the holy grail for many Pink Floyd fans and collectors.
Jack Moore from Videoheads Group videotaped 4 of the 6 songs performed this day by Pink Floyd but only two of them (namely The Embryo and Atom Heart Mother) were watchable, again due to the deterioration of the tape. Videoheads taped more Pink Floyd concerts (such as an UFO Club concert, the first public performance of Atom Heart Mother at the 1970 Bath festival, or the Amsterdam Rock Circus gig two years later) which got leaked, as Jack Moore had been against the sharing of his footage, until a few years ago, when he started digitizing his archives and uploading videos to Youtube. With Moore's decease in February 2014, the fate of his 72,000 hours of video archives is uncertain.
Another public appearance of Pink Floyd is the concert at the Fête de l'Humanité, on September 12th, 1970 in Paris. According to the book “In The Flesh: the complete performance history”, 500,000 people witnessed the show and the French TV filmed it, likely for a news report. But for some reason, this footage was never broadcast. As of 2014, it is not known to have been showed publicly anywhere. Back in 1970 there were two public TV channels in France, but the archived footage from these two channels belongs now to the INA (Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, the French equivalent of the Library of Congress for audiovisual content): it is highly possible that the INA doesn't even have the film, as this one isn't mentioned anywhere in the INA catalog.
Richard Patz from Shroom Productions (who produced the bootleg DVD Mind Your Throats Please and had at one point access to Jack Moore's archives), claims to own a hour worth of footage from this day. However, none of it surfaced on the Internet nor is known to have been shared.
Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii Outtakes (1971)
From October 4th-7th and December 13th-20th, Pink Floyd recorded both video and audio footage of several songs which would later be released as the first Pink Floyd concert film, Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. Being notable for both presenting a concert film without an audience as well as extensively capturing the Pink Floyd sound of its era, the film was released numerous times on various home cinema media.
During production, it was discovered that footage for the song One Of These Days was missing. The existing footage was cut together to include the song on the film, essentially depicting Nick Mason solely drumming with David Gilmour being shown only briefly. The fate of the footage depicting other members is unknown.
In 2003, a Directors Cut was released, extending the original 60 minute runtime to 90 minutes with interviews of the Pink Floyd members as well as cantine footage and outtakes. During the research for additional leftover material from the original production, Director Adrian Maben learned that 548 cans of 35mm archive footage had been incinerated by an employee of Archives du Film du Bois d’Arcy which archived the tapes.
The Dome, Brighton: The full show (1972)
On June 28th, 1972, the group performed live in The Dome, Brighton (UK) and was professionally filmed. Only the video snippets of Careful With That Axe, Eugene and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun appeared (as a feature in Peter Clifton's 1973 film Sound of the City) whereas witnesses of the show reported that more than two songs were filmed (it has been reported later that the rehearsals were filmed too). These two extracts were later spread, shared by traders and widely broadcast on TV for years, but the rest of the show is missing, maybe unusable or judged useless by its owners. The audio of the gig was taped by audience recorders, but the video remains elusive. In 2001, to promote the upcoming release of Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd, EMI put these two clips on promotional VHS, mystifying the fans again about the existence of the other footage. In 2012, the Blu-Ray disc included in the Dark Side of the Moon Immersion Boxset featured these two clips again, but this time restored and remastered on Blu-Ray. But to the deception of the fans, the rest still was not included.
Life Could Be A Dream (1986)
Life Could Be A Dream is a short (26 minutes) film directed by Mike Shackleton about Nick Mason's passion for motor sports, his life in the group as drummer and also his solo career. The music is written by Nick Mason and Rick Fenn, and, interesting detail for Floyd fans, included are several minutes of home movie shot by Mason himself in 1968 (where the band appears), as well as (supposedly pro-shot) footage from the May 15th, 1971 concert at the Crystal Palace Bowl Garden Party. The film has no known public release but was reviewed by collector and music historian Vernon Fitch (author of the Pink Floyd Encyclopedia).
Interestingly, a private collector is reportedly in possession of the Crystal Palace video.
Existence Unconfirmed & Rumours
Yoko Ono is said to have two complete video recordings made in 1967 at the UFO club, featuring the band with Syd Barrett. Her and John Lennon witnessed several shows there.
Philadelphia Music Festival, July 24th 1968: Late addition to the show, Pink Floyd played 4 songs in he JFK Stadium. Shroom/Patz claimed several years ago to have pro-shot footage from this show (but this claim has never been proved) and promised never to share it.
Royal Festival Hall, April 14th 1969: Film director Anthony Stern was called by the band to attend their latest piece, The Man and The Journey. However, he only got the permission to film the rehearsals and was later thrown out by the security. Hence only tantalizing B&W footage of the rehearsals exist; this is the story confirmed by Stern. But it is believed by some people that Stern was “busted” at the end of the first set (“The Man”), and so he may have filmed half of the concert. If this recording actually exists, it is unknown whether it will surface any time. Stern has been transferring his work into newer formats but there is no reason why he would keep the remaining footage. Curiously, Roger Waters stated in an interview that he has seen footage of a The Man and The Journey performance, but the date, venue & source of this footage has not been figured out.
Pittsburgh, June 20th 1975: There are rumours among Floyd fans about a pro-shot recording of this gig, but various photographs from witnesses show no apparent camera during the performance. It is possible that a TV station shot some video there as the concert was featured by the Press, but no video is available nowadays.
Several news reports and music programs filmed the group in motion, but only snippets of these were actually broadcast. Full recording of the these concerts might (but doubtfully) exist in archives.
All that remains from the 1977 tour period are silent home movies shot on 8mm in more-or-less poor quality, likely due to a bad transfer process (some of them have been processed in the 90s). Some research have been made to obtain the 8mm master, in order to make a new transfer, but without success. A French taper by the name of Paul D. was supposed to have several 8mm video recordings from 1972, 1974 and 1977, shot from the audience, but the footage in question never surfaced before or after Paul's death in the early 1990s.
After the release of The Wall in 1979, Pink Floyd engaged a long tour in 1980 and 1981; it is confirmed that all the 1981 shows have been filmed on 35mm. A clip shot at Earl's Court shows Roger Waters performing The Happiest Days Of Our Lives was released in The Wall Immersion Boxset in 2012.
The possibility of seeing new footage from the 1966-1995 era depends on broadcast of never-seen-before material, on the work of the fans community and also on the rightsholders to open their vaults.
- ↑  TV appearances list, pf-roio.de
- ↑  News on the discovery of the TOTP recordings. Retrieved June 24th '14
- ↑  Post on yeeshkul.com by hallucalation about the festival footage
- ↑  Promo clip, with Barrett appearing at 4:19
- ↑  Documented article with some pictures, Hoppy's footage is mentioned.
- ↑  Interview with Adrian Maben about Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, retrieved 5 May '14
- ↑  Review by Vernon Fitch
- ↑  25-minutes footage from Stern's backups
- ↑  Harvested compilation, approx. 70 minutes