‘A Psychedelic Experience in Technicolour’ was how the local press advert previewed Pink Floyd’s appearance at High Wycombe Town Hall on Tuesday 23rd May 1967. The band had been formed in London in 1965 by students Syd Barrett (guitar and lead vocals), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass and vocals) and Richard Wright (keyboards and vocals). At the time of the High Wycombe appearance two years later they had all reached their early 20’s and were now at the forefront of the rising psychedelic movement sweeping the UK music scene, with their debut single, Arnold Layne, released in March 1967.
In the weeks leading up to their High Wycombe outing they had been putting the finishing touches on their debut album – The Piper at The Gates of Dawn – as well as performing a ground breaking concert in London. In addition, their extravagant live performance had caused a stir on BBC TV.
‘The Pink Floyd’, as they were known then, had appeared at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall onFriday 12 May 1967 to perform the first ever ‘surround sound concert’. The ‘Games for May’ gig was described as:
“Space age relaxation for the climax of spring – electronic composition, colour and image projection, girls, and the Pink Floyd.”
It set a landmark for future gigs but owners of the venue at the time, were less impressed. The Floyd’s bubble machine and flower petals had messed up the posh seats and carpets of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and they were banned from performing there again.
Two days after the show and just over a week before the Town Hall, the group performed and were interviewed on BBC’s ‘The Look of the Week’ show. Their performance on Sunday 14 May 1967 of ‘Astronomy Domine’ is previewed by Dr Hans Keller, who suggests:
“There is continuous repetition and proportionally they are a bit boring”.
In the interview that followed with Syd Barrett and Roger Waters, Keller asks Waters:
“Why does it all got to be so terribly loud? For me, frankly, it’s too loud. I just can’t bare it. I happened to have grown up with the string quartet which is a bit softer. So, uh, why does it got to be so loud?”
“Well, I don’t think that it HAS to be. But I mean, that’s the way we like it. And uh, we didn’t grow up in the string quartet so I guess that could be one of the reasons why it’s loud. I mean, it doesn’t sound terribly loud to us.”
The gig hungry Floyd were soon back on the road, taking in lower scale gigs in Newcastle, Southport and Brighton, before their ‘Technicolour’ performance in High Wycombe.
The set list for the Town Hall gig would most likely have included many of the songs performed from the ‘Games of May’ gig:
‘Matilda Mother’, ‘Flaming’, ‘The Scarecrow’,”See Emily Play’, ‘Bike’, ‘Arnold Layne’, ‘Candy and a Currant Bun’, ‘Pow R. Toc H’ and ‘Interstellar Overdrive’.
‘See Emily Play’ was released as their second single in June 1967 and they performed the song on Top of the Pops in July 1967. The original video recordings were wiped by the BBC put a badly damaged copy was discovered in 2009 and was since uploaded to YouTube.
Meanwhile, ‘The Look of the Week’ clip is also available via YouTube:
Did you find it ‘terribly loud’ at High Wycombe Town Hall on 23rd May 1967?
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