Inside Out

Inside Out by Nick Mason

Book: Inside Out by Nick Mason Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nick Mason
Tags: Rock & pop
it. But since
     this would also mean we wouldn’t have had a light show for the rest of the trip, reason finally won the day.
    In between the endless journeys, we occasionally had a home fixture at UFO, although only once a month or so after January
     1967. However, two major dates in the spring helped keep us in touch with our original audience. The ‘14-Hour Technicolour
     Dream’ on 29th April was an all-night event at Alexandra Palace, with acts including Alex Harvey, Soft Machine and Arthur
     Brown, the whole thing organised by Hoppy and the
IT
crowd to raise more funds for the magazine following a police raid. ‘Chaos, but it worked,’ Andrew King recalls. For many
     people this lingers in their memory as a seminal psychedelic event, the pinnacle of that whole phase, with bands and acts
     playing through till daybreak. Peter Jenner, for example, says, ‘The “Technicolour Dream” symbolised everything. It was the
     pinnacle of pure amateur psychedelia, the crowning ceremony, the last big event of the gang. By the time the Pink Floyd came
     on in this somewhat dilapidated hall, it was dawn, the light was streaming through all the old stained glass windows, and
     people were climbing up the scaffolding around the Ally Pally organ. Virtually everybody was tripping, apart from the band,
     though Syd might have been. A great gig – though God knows what it actually sounded like.’
    But others found the whole thing just too commercial, the musical end of the underground movement dominating because it was
     the most profitable element – the ‘Technicolour Dream’ was really just a big rock concert. Miles recalls the band the Flies,
     who’d earlier urinated on the audience to establish their proto-punk credentials, standing at the side of the stage while
     we were playing yelling abuse and shouting ‘Sell-outs!’ I don’t remember this, but if they did, they might have had a point:
     the whole eventwas a sell-out. And our loyal UFO audience, used to enjoying shared experiences, found themselves faced with security notices,
     a ten-foot stage, and a role as exhibits in a freak show.
    From our point of view the ‘Technicolour Dream’ was more of a logistical nightmare. That night we had been playing at a gig
     in Holland in the early evening, finished the show, packed up, been driven through the night at high speed by over-excited
     Dutchmen to catch the last flight out, and rushed madly over to North London to make our appearance. Given this itinerary,
     the chances of enjoying any benefits of a psychedelic love-in were remote. Syd was completely distanced from everything going
     on, whether simply tripping or suffering from a more organic neural disturbance I still have no idea.
    In comparison, I think ‘Games For May’ a fortnight later was one of the most significant shows we have ever performed, since
     the concert contained elements that became part of our performances for the following thirty years. Peter and Andrew had set
     up the event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the arts complex on London’s South Bank through Christopher Hunt, the promoter
     who had arranged for us to play at the Commonwealth Institute. Once again Christopher’s classical music credentials proved
     invaluable, as he was one of the few people who could engineer an entrée into this prestigious venue.
    Although we had little time for preparation or rehearsal to fill our two-hour slot, we did manage to conceive the evening
     as a Pink Floyd multimedia event. Unlike our regular gigs, there were no support acts, so we were able to control the environment
     and create a particular mood. The audience at the Queen Elizabeth Hall were seated, so the intention was clearly that, uniquely
     for a rock concert, they should listen and watch, rather than dance. A large part of this show was improvised. We had our
     usual repertoire of songs, and premiered ‘See Emily Play’ (‘You’ll loseyour mind and play free games for May…’),

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