Dec. 5 1967 - Final Concert of the Jimi Hendrix Package Tour
Pink Floyd, with their legendary guitarist/songwriter Syd
Barrett on board, were probably the most surprising addition to
the lineup. Two Top 30 hits earlier in the year, a Top 10 album
and tours in their own right, had already established the group
amongst the country's top-flight psychedelic attractions, and
there was little doubt that they could comfortably have taken
billing alongside any band in the country.
According to Tony Secunda, however, Floyd's managers knew
exactly what they were doing when they slipped the band into
such a lineup. "Basically, they were worried about Syd Barrett,
but needed to keep the band's name out there, but nobody knew if
Barrett was up to it. The general feeling was that he wasn't."
By the fall of 1967, Barrett was indeed busily building the
themes of his eccentricity which would subsequently become his
maker. And no matter how lowly the band's billing may have, the
tour only added to the legend. Co-manager Peter recalled, "[Syd]
was going onstage and playing one chord the entire set. He was
into this thing of total anarchistic and never really considered
the other members of the group."
Offstage, too, Barrett was hard to pin down...literally. "Every time
when we reached a new town," O'List recalled, "Syd would go for
a walk, and not get back to the venue until just a few minutes
before the band was due onstage. He'd play the show, go off
again, come back hours later, in time for the second. But one
night, he didn't turn up at all, so they asked me to go on
instead of him."
The Floyd's set, with characteristic unconventionality (but with
an eye for Barrett's own unpredictability) , comprised one song,
a full on version of "Interstellar Overdrive." "It was a fairly
straightforward guitar thing, so I was able to pick it up quite
quickly," recalls O'List. "At first I kept my back to the
audience while we were playing, and the audience was really
impatient, shouting 'turn round, Syd,' and things like that. So
I turned round, and they all shut up immediately. Then turned
back and carried on playing." After Barrett's departure the
Floyd was confirmed, O'List admits, he entertained hopes he
might be invited to replace him full time. "But of, they'd
already decided on Dave Gilmour by then.
"Syd was an amazing guitarist," O'List continues. "He really
was, as much as Hendrix was in his own right." And in later,
with both Jimi and Barrett long since absent from the scene,
British journalists slavered at the thought of how these
geniuses of the guitar might have related to one another. In a
1974 edition of the English New Musical Express, journalist Kent
asked Peter Jenner, "surely the two uncrowned kings of rock,
Hendrix and Barrett, must have socialized in some?
"Not really," replied Jenner. "Syd didn't talk to anyone."
Move bassist Ace Kefford agrees. "Syd never spoke to anyone. He
hardly moved sometimes. He was on another planet."
"Once the Floyd started having hits, Syd changed dramatically, "
Secunda confirmed. "I remember different members of the Floyd,
and the other bands as well, tried to get through to him, it was
like he had this shell around him. Personally, I think the best
thing that could have happened to him would have been to have a
night out with The Move."
excerpt from: TAKING BRITAIN BY STORM
Behind The Scenes On The Experience's Second UK Tour
By Dave Thompson