Special Report

By Kingsley Harris
Posted: 22-Oct-2013
 It's always fascinating putting together anecdotes from the past. When I first heard of the gig where The Alex Wilson Set supported The Pink Floyd [19th July 1967 Floral Hall, Gorleston] the story went that the band [PF] turned up late, didn't sound check and when they went on basically got booed, leaving The Set to re take the stage and finish the night. It later got added that the performance was recorded for BBC2 TV. However, it was only the other day after talking to David Clayton [BBC Radio Norfolk] that I heard that this recording was for the Colour Me Pop series. Confused that dates floating around in my rather musically water logged head didn't match up I decided to spend the whole day (lucky me) researching the situation, after all Pink Floyd must now be as well catalogued as The Beatles and The Stones.


 The first thing I find out is that the show Colour Me Pop didn't first air until June 1968 and although there are two good resources [Wikipedia / Rock on TV]  on who performed for the show which only lasted until August 1969 neither of them mention Pink Floyd. It's not gospel but the Rock on TV site is pretty awesome and I don't think I’d like to go head to head with them.


As you can see, not off to a good start. It was time to approach it from a different angle.


 The Pink Floyd website Brain Damage is pretty impressive and lists the gig but points out that the gig was recorded for BBC 2 TV but for a programme called Impresarios and that it was aired on 23rd October 1967. However, in Glenn Povey's book Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd, a day by day account of the band, he says that the series was canned and that it was not aired. Glenn Povey's account of that gig is a quote from a review in the local publication East Anglian Times, which appears to be an edited version of the Here and Now columnist’s Jim Tudor’s published in the Eastern Evening News on 24th July 1967.  Jim was at the gig and seems to recall a totally different event to the one I’ve been picturing. I've copied the text out so you don't have to buy the book to read it, although if you are a Pink Floyd fan you probably have it as it’s a real platinum anorak job. I've copied it exactly.


Excerpt for review: Echoes - The Complete History of Pink Floyd by Glenn Povey

Wednesday 19 July - Concert - Floral Hall, Gorleston, England

Supported by The Alex Wilson Set.

 This show was filmed by BBC2 TV for inclusion in a proposed TV show entitled Impresarios and subtitled ‘Underground Impresarios’. Unfortunately the show was shelved and not broadcast.East Anglia Times reported that: ‘Determined to ensure that the Pink Floyd turned up at the Floral Hall – previous bands having let him down – promoter Howard Platt drove to Manchester to escort them back from Manchester Airport. He had a lonely wait. The group changed their plans and flew direct to London, leaving poor Platt in a frustrating psychedelic trance at passenger disembarkation, as they passed overhead at 20,000ft. But in the end they made it to Gorleston on time, one of the first groups to do so of the whole season. The crowd about 800 strong, were subjected to many mind-expanding (trans-psychedelic) influences before the appearance of the group. A BBC2 camera team were there, preparing to record the freak-out, and at the far side of the hall stood a young girl surrounded by slide projectors – or were they magic lanterns? – preparing instant colour slides with tints and potions from a portable dispensary. The significance of this act was made apparent later. Suddenly it happened. As the curtains of the stage drew back the Pink Floyd launched themselves into a shuddering opening number, sending the decibels flying around the hall. Flashing green lights, the flashes linked to the rumbles of the guitars, burst around the group from all angles so that at times the different shadows thrown gave the impression that there was a whole crowd of people on the stand. Vocally they were disappointing. This wasn’t their fault. Their own amplification had broken down and they had to borrow the Set’s PA system. In the middle of that gargantuan instrumental sound they sounded very small – I felt the same way. Visually and sound wise the Pink Floyd are interesting, even exciting, but after the initial effect has worn off, it all seemed a bit thin. As one Floral Hall raver told me, “You’ve seen one freak-out, you’ve seen them all.” To appreciate this further, I think I needed some other influencing factor, not readily available at the bar. The Floral Hall atmosphere didn’t help. Stifled by the heat, my eardrums at perforation point, I dropped out of the Floral Scene.’


 Just before putting the research to bed I received an email from Syd, no not that Syd but Syd of Rock on TV who said this:

Hi Kingsley,

"The Impresarios" series was broadcast on BBC2 including part 6 on 23rd October 1967 which was subtitled "Transport by Underground" (the last edition of the series). George Melly included a paragraph in his television review for The Observer the following Sunday and mentioned that it covered the hippy scene but he didn't make any reference to Pink Floyd. I guess it's possible that the director deemed the Norfolk footage unsuitable for broadcast (maybe because it was too dark or something like that) and Pink Floyd were not included, hence the belief that the show never went out at all. One small clip from show 4 included on a programme about Glenda Jackson in 1971 may be all that survives of the series.



As you can see Glenn has misquoted the title of the program in his book. If Rock on TV is correct and now knowing the correct title I can confirm that the series did go ahead and is confirmed through several sources, we can also tell you the man who made the decision on the footage was Director Gavin Miller. You could well argue this gives more credence to the original story that Pink Floyd had to leave the stage, or just weren’t being received that well. It could also be because the footage was too dark…


It is also good to note that only ten days earlier the BBC2 TV crew filmed them at the Roundhouse in London reportedly for the Man Alive series but this also seemed to have been canned (according to Glenn). So what was all the fuss about, well the sudden interest around that time were the advanced reviews for their debut album Piper at the Gates of Dawn [COLUMBIA SCX6157 released 5th August 1967]


Were you there? How do you remember the gig?


Kingsley Harris