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Rock Reads: Echoes - The Complete History of Pink Floyd by Glenn Povey

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Remember the first time you saw Pink Floyd in concert and how your, uh, "medication" kicked in right when that one song started playing? And how you've spent all these years trying to figure out the name of the spacey jam that still lingers in your mind? Perhaps Glenn Povey's painstakingly-compiled new book Echoes can finally give your overtaxed synaptic grid a break. Amazingly, Echoes contains a listing of every known Pink Floyd concert ever given and includes the set list for each show from 1970 forward. And that's just the beginning of all that's packed into this coffee table-style tome; if it has to do with the Floyd it is here. Laid out chronologically, Echoes documents recording and rehearsal sessions and special events like the 1994 press reception where the band promoted their upcoming European tour by flying journalists over London in a blimp painted to look like a giant fish. Road crews are listed for tours and if a particular concert was canceled you'll find out why (it was huge snow drifts that put the kibosh on a show in Vienna.) The history of pre-Floyd groups like the Ramblers (w/David Gilmour) and the Hollerin' Blues (w/Syd Barrett) is revealed and on the other end of the spectrum each member's solo career is explored along with a thorough discography. There are even tidbits about special promotional items, like how the record company in France manufactured plastic pig racks to display Animals when it was first released there. All this information makes Echoes a treasure trove for trivia buffs and a great reference book too. Each chapter opens by telling part of the Pink Floyd story, much of it in the words of the members themselves, covering everything from the initial twinkle in Syd Barrett's imagination to the point where he lost his band and his mind and then through to what the surviving members are doing today. But Echoes isn't a book you have to read cover to cover in one sitting. Liberally decorated with seldom seen photos and color reproductions of flyers and posters the book will entertain no matter what page you flip to. If The Piper at the Gates of Dawn just happens to be playing in the background, then all the better.

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