Title - Still Wish You Were Here: A Tribute to Pink Floyd
Artist - Various
For those still wondering, Pink Floyds 1975 album, Wish You Were Here, surely counts as one of the greatest rock albums of the 20th century.
A musically and emotionally complex tribute to the bands former leader, vocalist Syd Barrett, whose deteriorating mental health had caused the band to oust him in 1968, the album has become a touchstone for a generation of artists who sought to achieve the synthesis of brilliant, multi-part suites, poignant ballads, and heady melodic rockers that Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, & Nick Mason realized on this album.
And now, a stunning all-star line-up of rock and metal royalty have gathered to recreate this epic masterpiece as a testament to its long-enduring legacy.
Still Wish You Were Here includes awe-inspiring performances from keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice, Rock Hall of Fame nominee Todd Rundgren, ex-Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate, guitar god Joe Satriani, Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie, spacebass super genius Bootsy Collins, The Damneds Rat Scabies, PiLs Jah Wobble and lots more!
1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5) - Geoff Tate, Steve Hackett, Billy Sheehan, Mel Collins, Geoff Downes, Ian Paice
2. Welcome To The Machine - Todd Rundgren, Rick Wakeman, Tony Levin
3. Have A Cigar - James LaBrie, Steve Stevens, Patrick Moraz, Rat Scabies, Jah Wobble
4. Wish You Were Here - Rik Emmett, Joe Satriani, Edgar Froese, David Ellefson, Carmine Appice
5. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9) - Rod Argent, Steve Hillage, Ian Paice, Bootsy Collins
Well, containing one of the greatest elegies in classic rock, or any genre, in the form of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, the only thing that subtracts from it is the fact (and by the fact I mean my dumb opinion) that Parts 8 and 9 originally seemed a tad bit unfocused and low on ideas compared to the rest of the thing.
And yet here, and handled in those latter chapters by Rod Argent, Steve Hillage, Ian Paice, and the always-brilliant Bootsy Collins, somehow they have breathed a new life, a new ebb and flow into the old girl.
Regardless, Shine On You Crazy Diamond is a behemoth (no matter who undertakes it) and it dominates the majority of the album even now.
But the other three songs all stand up still and are as classic as anything else on the original album, or indeed this collective tribute, of course.
Really, and with that in mind, it is no surprise how many people say this was Pink Floyd at their best. They are highly distinct from each other: Welcome to the Machine (done here by Todd Rundgren, Rick Wakeman, and Tony Levin) is still a cold, industrial progressive rock piece, albeit with acoustic guitars, and Have a Cigar (James LaBrie, Steve Stevens, Patrick Moraz, Rat Scabies, and Jah Wobble) is futuristic electric Blues-rock at its finest.
And, even now, Wish You Were Here (Rik Emmett, Joe Satriani, Edgar Froese, David Ellefson, and Carmine Appice) is still like an English stoners version of the Country and Western genre.
While the songs are thematically connected, the extreme musical differences between all of them, gives Wish You Were Here a disconnected patchwork quality.
The contrast between, say, Have a Cigar and the title track, for example, are so jarring that it sounds like two different bands. I suppose this is appropriate for a band that is said to have been struggling with its own identity by the mid-70s.
Thus, that apparent disconnectedness worked to the albums advantage then, and most assuredly still works today on this quite magnificent tribute.
Overall, whether it be then or now, lyrically, you are dealing with a seriously haunted record. It is Roger Waters trademark mixture of human compassion and mechanized cynicism at its most focused.
The guys heart is clearly being pulled in at least two or three directions, and it is messing with the essence of his very soul. If the album could speak it would say something a bit like this: Look what they have done to us. Look what they did to Syd Barrett. Look what we did to ourselves. Look what we did to Syd Barrett. Get us out of here, we just want to be a band again.
Still Wish You Were Here will be available on both CD in a beautiful 6-panel deluxe digipak and a stunningly gorgeous gatefold vinyl in a variety of colors come May 28th, 2021.
Official CD Purchase Link
Official Color Vinyl Purchase Link