on November 15, 2002
Freed from the shackles of what Pink Floyd has become, David Gilmour sounds positively liberated on his new live DVD, David Gilmour in Concert. The years have snuck up on him, as it inevitably does to all of our heroes, but his voice is even more expressive now than it has ever been. He's actually becoming more like his long-estranged counterpart Roger Waters, and that's a good thing, a great thing in fact.
They are both world-weary veterans having finally arrived at similar crossroads in their lives after drifting apart in their not-so-distant youth. Both men's voices are thinning, sometimes straining to reach notes. While Waters is still the bleeding-heart poet, and Gilmour still the guitar virtuoso, both seem tired of the bloated excesses of the rock n' roll machine that had welcomed them with open arms all those years ago, instead opting to embrace a more deconstructed approach to performing.
Even moreso than Waters' latest hits tour, Gilmour has unearthed rarely performed gems and obscure covers, and has re-invented overplayed classics. The result is breathtaking. His take on Syd Barrett's seminal Terrapin is pure magic, and Dick Parry's sax solo on Shine On is a freeform revelation. It's this sense of experimentation that has been missing from Gilmour's repetoire since he and the Floyd recorded Dark Side. He's even managed to take his latter-day Floyd tunes into exciting new directions. Take High Hopes for example, what once sounded somewhat inflated and bombastic confined to its awkward Floyd-by-numbers construct, has now taken on a more stripped and organic flavor. Even his lyrics play better without the baggage of the brand name. It's also wonderful to see Richard Wright, playing Breakthrough from his own Broken China album, sounding relaxed and beautiful.
Much of the beauty of the performances is in the rawness of the sound; often times you can hear each finger slide down the fret, each bend of the string. It's a clear and pristine recording to be sure, but it's not sterile and perfect, it's live, alive. Listening to the 5.1 surround, you could swear Gilmour is just feet away, acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder, entertaining guests at an intimate gathering.
The bonus features are equally rewarding. Gilmour's cover of "Don't", the Leiber and Stoller song made classic by Elvis Presley, is heart-wrenchingly beautiful, and his rendering of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, with Michael Kamen, is sublime.
I was quite frankly shocked at how much I enjoyed this DVD. I've already played it more times than I've played Waters' excellent In The Flesh Live. I'd nearly forgotten how definitive Gilmour's guitar sound is, and how much I missed his voice. It's truly the sound of a wisened man with nothing to prove, a man no longer haunted by the ghost of Roger Waters. If this release is any indication of things to come, I will be waiting with just as much anticipation for Gilmour's next solo album as I am for Roger's, and praying for old friends to make amends.
There was a time when I went nowhere without a Pink Floyd album close at hand. "The Wall" and "The Final Cut" formed the crux of my listening habits for nearly two years back in the days when such things mattered more than they do now. Eventually, I picked up every Pink Floyd album I could lay my hands on, along with solo albums from Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Syd Barrett. Probably the capper of my Pink Floyd listening days was finally getting to see them live in 1994. I don't listen to this stuff as much as I once did, but anytime I get a chance to check out something new I usually do it. That is why I decided to watch "David Gilmour in Concert," a collection of concert footage shot between 2001 and 2002 in London's Royal Festival Hall. There are no fireworks, no huge video screens, and no massive sound system belting out the hits to tens of thousands of people here. Instead, you just get Dave along with a small group of musicians and a few backup singers. Those used to seeing Gilmour blasting out Pink Floyd hits with the rest of the band--sans Roger Waters, of course--will still enjoy how effortlessly he cranks out the music in a much smaller venue than he is probably used to playing.
Arguably the most notable songs on this DVD are the Syd Barrett tunes Gilmour adds to his play list. Hearing "Terrapin" and "Dominoes" performed live really thrills, even if it isn't Syd Barrett doing them. Gilmour has a perfect right to play these songs, in my opinion, because he helped produce Barrett's solo albums back in the early 1970s. Heck, he even provided back up on more than a few of them as well as performing live with Barrett during a few abortive live shows. History has it that Gilmour and Barrett were very close friends, and the two even spent a summer slumming through France playing tunes for pocket change years before Pink Floyd morphed into the stadium powerhouse we are familiar with today. Fans know that several Floyd albums pay tribute to their crazy founder in one way or another, so finally seeing someone from the band play some of Syd's solo songs provides more than an additional reason to pick up this DVD.
Gilmour certainly doesn't stop there. Several Pink Floyd tunes find there way onto the play list. There are two separate versions of the guitar anthem "Comfortably Numb," both of which are excellent renditions. On one of them, none other than Bob Geldof--looking very old and sporting a huge comb over--walks out on stage to recite a few of the lyrics, on the other version Soft Machine member Robert Wyatt (I think) does the honors. The guitarist performs a stellar interpretation of parts of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" from the Wish You Were Here album along with several lively cuts from the Division Bell album. The real treat, for me at least, was finally hearing a live rendition of "Fat Old Sun" from the Atom Heart Mother recordings. I have always considered this one of Gilmour's finest contributions to Pink Floyd's body of work, and he doesn't disappoint with the treatment given to it here. Well, he disappoints slightly because the version is acoustic. The vocals sound perfect, but hearing that soaring, groovy electric guitar would have been nice. Gilmour proves that he still has what it takes to make it all look effortless. Pink Floyd fans should not express much disappointment with these performances.
A few odds and ends make their way on the disc. "Smile" is a nice little tune that Gilmour says is new. Before playing the song, he goes so far to advise bootleggers to "start recording now." "Hushabye Mountain," "Je Crois Entendre," and a Richard Wright tune, which the Floyd keyboardist turns up to play, "Breakthrough," rounds out the DVD. Also included is a nifty little tune, "Sonnet 18," on the disc that shows us the inside of Gilmour's floating recording studio while letting us know that his voice is as strong as ever. It is always nice to hear Gilmour play some non-Pink Floyd material. My only problem is he didn't do enough of his solo songs, songs that are often excellent in their own right.
You have completely lost it if you cannot find something to like on this disc. Pink Floyd fans often see Gilmour as a lesser force, usually submerging his talents and importance under the contributions of master lyricist Roger Waters. That's true to some extent, but Pink Floyd would never have made it this far without Gilmour's stellar guitar work. This disc underscores what an excellent musician this man is even without any Pink Floyd influences to fall back upon. He makes it all look so effortless, as though he is merely crossing the street or doing his laundry. Actually, Gilmour could probably set his laundry list to music and people would turn out to hear it because it would sound so good! Pink Floyd fans will want to add this DVD to their collection, but even those interested in good music should give this one a go. Attention: Gilmour goes acoustic for most of the songs on the disc, so stadium fans should take note of this and act accordingly.
on November 18, 2002
David Gilmour's new DVD is absolutely amazing. The music is performed beautifully. Even though there's not the flash and spectacle of the typical Pink Floyd concert, Dave proves that the music can hold its own. I can't stop watching it. You even get to see Rick Wright join in with the band for a couple of songs, something every Pink Floyd loves to see. I especially enjoy the extras that come on the dvd. They give fans a glimpse into the life of David Gilmour, something that He has usually kept to himself. There are scenes of his house boat Astoria while he sings Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, and I think that is my favorite part of the dvd. It's absolutely breathtaking. The music, Dave's voice, and the scenery create an almost dream like experience. I would urge any true music fan to buy this dvd. It should be an essential item in everyone's dvd collection. A must have.
on December 19, 2002
If David Gilmour's music had evidenced this kind of vision for the last decade and a half, he might have immunized himself from the scorn of those who thought Pink Floyd suffered a beheading when Roger Waters departed. Gilmour has absolutely reinvigorated many of these songs. Some are performed with substantially new arrangements for the very first time, no longer suffocated by Gilmour's almost military precision during Pink Floyd's last two tours. Gilmour even includes two songs from Syd Barrett's solo repertoire, "Terrapin" and "Dominoes," preserving their surreal playfulness without succumbing to the frustration and anxiety that pervade Barrett's own recordings. Most refreshing of all, Pink Floyd classics such as "Comfortably Numb," which has never sounded quite right without a united Floyd, finally bloom under the stewardship of a band capable of recapturing some elusive but essential qualities of the original recordings. This great song has suffered endless failed makeovers, including execrable vocals by Van Morrison in Berlin and Bruce Hornsby in Seville as well as Gilmour's soulless arrangement from 1984 to 1994 that sounds in retrospect not altogether unlike grunge metal. The versions on this DVD begin at a slow, sedate pace that should transfix listeners of such bands as the Grateful Dead and the Cowboy Junkies. Each features a different vocalist substituting for Roger Waters. I slightly favor Bob Geldof, whose starring role in The Wall film certainly bolsters his credibility here, but both successfully execute the hushed expressiveness that characterizes Waters' vocals. The atmosphere unravels as it was intended, fraught with trepidation in the beginning, anasthetized on a cushion of air when Gilmour's chorus melts the tension, and soaring above everything once Gilmour unleashes the greatest guitar solo ever played, which always sounds as though it wants to continue wailing forever.
Other highlights of the performance that merit special comment include "Smile," debuting here, a beautiful new song similar in style to "Green is the Colour"; "Je Crois Entendre Encore," a serene but haunting Bizet aria; "Fat Old Sun," Gilmour's first performance of his 1970 composition since that era; and "Breakthrough," from Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright's underappreciated 1996 solo album, Broken China. Although Sinead O'Connor sang "Breakthrough" on the album, Wright appears here as a guest (to great applause) and performs the vocals with Gilmour's band. Accordingly, this is the only version of one of Wright's best songs that he actually sings himself. One should also take care not to neglect the special features the DVD offers in addition to the main performance. Even presented alone, they would stand among the most interesting artifacts in the Pink Floyd universe, and longtime fans should applaud the powers that be for finally realizing that these experiments and curios merit commercial release. The most interesting is the choral version of "High Hopes," where Gilmour brings his dozen background vocalists to the foreground and treats the audience to a haunting tone poem. Minimalism triumphs as the choral component alone proves more arresting than "High Hopes" itself, as beautifully chilling as the "Celestial Voices" part of Floyd's psychedelic melange, "A Saucerful of Secrets." Also included is William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? . . ."), sung by Gilmour to music by Michael Kamen, Gilmour's current pianist and an alumnus of Roger Waters' band (and also the man who paired Guns n' Roses and Metallica with the Philharmonic). Kamen's "lite FM"-style arrangement is almost muzak, exacerbated by accompanying imagery reminiscent of Japanese karaoke footage, but it's a nice song and an interesting companion to "Golden Hair," Syd Barrett's 1970 adaptation of a James Joyce poem.
Who can ignore the elephant in the living room of any Floyd solo project: What new evidence does this present in the ongoing inquisition into "Which one is Pink?" Gilmour's efforts on this DVD unquestionably make a stronger case for his role in crafting Pink Floyd's sound than does any other project since Waters' departure. The world tours he organized for the fractured Pink Floyd in 1987 and 1994, notwithstanding the awesome spectacle of the stadium shows, would not have sounded substantially different had the band simply left a greatest hits compilation playing on a turntable. Gilmour had seemed to reason that a less guarded performance would have betrayed the band's radical reconstitution and therefore elected to play it safe and assemble a glorified tribute band. Presently Gilmour proves more adventurous, and it pays off, as he demonstrates with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" that he can interpret the song as authentically when he stands alone with his acoustic guitar (parts I-V) as when he performs it with a well-rehearsed band (parts VI-IX). Gilmour's new material, moreover, is tender and etheral, knit together by lead guitar parts woven with classical meticulousness and perfectly seasoned with background vocal harmonies, plodding percussion, and even Dick Parry's saxophone -- essential properties of Floyd's most characteristic albums. Suddenly it seems that Gilmour's signature on the Pink Floyd sound faded in direct proportion to the increasing responsibility he assumed in the group. When he played sole bandleader, he was barely there, and if that story seems familiar, it proves the timelessness of a certain album and the pertinence of its infinitely recurring question, "Isn't this where we came in?" Finally, in 2002, David Gilmour has come back to life, and with this concert appears to have broken through his own Wall.
on October 21, 2003
The real talent behind Pink Floyd? You be the judge. Everyone seems to give Roger Waters the nod. And I'm not here to take anything away from Waters. He is a very talented lyricist, and was definitely a very bold, creative force behind the huge success of Pink Floyd. But watching this DVD, and seeing Gilmour do what he does with those guitars of his, and hearing his effortlessly recreated renditions of some classic Floyd tunes, tells me that at least musically this is the person responsible for the band's popularity. He is a fantastic guitarist and is responsible for writing and playing some of my favorite songs of all time (i.e. Shine On, Comfortably Numb, Wish You Were Here, etc.) I have to admit that it is a bit disconcerting to see David Gilmour looking more like your dad than the Rock and Roll Guitar God that he is. But as soon as you hear him strum those familiar tunes, and hear that soothing voice of his, it doesn't matter. I agree with the previous reviewer though ... he could have dressed a little more for the occasion. But the bottom line is, he knew that he didn't need to. Once the first note was played no one would be paying any attention to anything else anyway. Although laid back, this is a great DVD and full of some great music. If I lost it I would buy it again.
on January 16, 2003
Firstly I will say that I am a Pink Floyd fan of all eras and had the pleasure to see Roger Waters - In The Flesh concert when he was in Australia.
I was disaponted when I bought the Roger Waters - In The Flesh DVD because I felt it failed to capture the atmosphere as when I saw him live in concert.
So I was a bit hesitant in buying this DVD when I first heard about it. After reading several reviews I was intrigued - David playing Pink Floyd songs unplugged as well as Syd Barrett songs and one song from Rick Wrights album Broken China.
A few warnings to people considering buying this DVD:
. Don't expect lasers, floating pigs, fireworks. This is David playing in small scale venue in some cases entirely on his own.
. This is David Gilmour in concert not Pink Floyd so the selection of Pink Floyd songs he has selected to play mostly are from the album The Division Bell and some PF classics such as Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Shine On You Crazy Diamond 1-4 and 5-8.
I love this DVD and have watched it over and over and over. David proves what a phenominal guitar player he is and that his voice and guitar were the musical strength of Pink Floyd. To hear
songs like Fat Old Sun, Dominoes and Terrapin played live are
a treat to the ears.
Davids interpretation of playing PF songs and the songs of other artists accoustically is very creative and works very well.
on February 24, 2006
Audio quality: (10/10) I own 20 concerts, this is number one in audio quality. Gilmour sounds better now than he ever did. Not kidding.
Video Quality: (8/10) Crystal clear; 16x9 native; not HD I believe. Example: Rush "R30" was shot in HD, give that a 10/10 for video quality. Gilmour's is excellent though.
I have been a huge Pink Floyd fan since the 70's. The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, Final Cut, Animals, Wish You Were Here, etc. are GREAT albums. I got into Momentary Lapse of reason a little and didn't listen to Division Bell.
This concert is not like traditional Floyd shows but much more intimate. David Gilmore is upfront singing and playing guitar. He has 9 back up singers (awesome!) another guitarist, bass, drums, piano, and cello. This concert doesn't "rock" in a classic rock sense- it is kind of like a Gilmore "unplugged" and it is in a more intimate setting.
The first time I watched it I was kind of disappointed. "Not like Floyd!" Then I liked it more and more each time. Now I can't get enough of it. Beautiful melodies and harmonies. A full, rich, beautifully mixed sound. Every instrument is crystal clear. Highly recommended if you have the patience to get to know it. (Aren't all great albums like that? If you love it at first you get sick of it, if you are unsure at first and grow to love it, then it stays with you forever...)
on May 11, 2003
There is no denying the talent and profciency of David Gilmour as a guitarist and performer and through this DVD he proves it again.The concert is mostly played on acoustic guitar which sounds amazing considering that most of the Pink Floyd songs are just layers and layers of electric sounds and melodies.The stripped down version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond is brilliant.The choir backing Gilmour is amazing.I got goose bumps listening to the girl playing the celo, she added such a delicate and beautiful touch to High Hopes and Je Crois Entendre Encore.Special appearences from Richard Wright and Bob Geldof as well.Over all a mind blowing performance.
on December 14, 2002
The main one of which is, who'd have thought that "Pink Floyd Unplugged" would sound so wonderful?! I've managed to get to numerous Floyd "Uber-Gigs" over the years in London, but this is one that I would've sold me-old-granny's-tin-leg for a ticket to!!!
The highpoints? Too many to mention!!! But for me one of the stand-out tracks is "High Hopes;" this is an absolutely heart-breakingly beautiful rendition, complete with English Horn, Cello, and "Choir!" that just gets better with each viewing. Who'd have thought that Floyd's trademark bombast could sound so delicate?!
Gilmour has a very tight band behind him, but it's his own obvious enjoyment of the performance that makes this something to savor. You can see it on the very first track, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond 1-5," as he smiles appreciatively when a couple of the more vocally enthusiastic members of the audience shout out their joy at hearing this unplugged version of the opening number. Later on he makes a crack about the boot-leggers cueing up their tape machines because he's going to play a new track, and when someone begs him to play something from "Animals," he jokes that they'll still be there long after "turfing-out time" if they do!
And speaking of tracks from "Animals," Gilmour has often said that the reason they don't play them in concert is that they need Rog's particular brand of sneering vocals to do them justice. Well, I think they've found a replacement, in the slightly shambling figure of Sir Bob "Pink" Geldof, who does a great rendition of "Comfortably Numb."
I've mentioned a couple of times that this is an "unplugged" gig, and it is, but Gilmour rewards us with some wonderful slide guitar, particularly on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond 6-8," and then allows himself to rock-out on the sublime "Comfortably Numb," with Sir Bob at his side.
But this is not just about `classic' Floyd, Gilmour pays homage to Syd with "Shine On..." and also plays "Terrapin" and "Dominoes," neither of which has probably been played at a Floyd gig for over 30 years... wonderful stuff! We also have Bizet's "Je Crois Entendre Encore," Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day," and a beautiful guest appearance by Rick Wright singing "Breakthrough" from his "Broken China" album. He gets quite a reception from the audience, and clearly enjoys every second he's up there in the spotlight.
This is a wonderful concert, with Floyd's signature numbers stripped down and played with passion and delicacy in the relatively intimate atmosphere of London's Royal Festival Hall, more used to the hosting of classical or neo-classical concerts than the performance of a genuine Rock-God! Anyone who has even a passing liking of Pink Floyd, or anyone who is serious about rock music, should add this to their collection!
As for the concert presentation itself... flawless! You get some fantastic views of the performances from multiple angles, but rarely see a camera operator on or around the stage. The lighting is subtle and perfectly compliments the scaled-down production... sorry, no lasers, "droids," or the famous circular screen!
The DVD itself is exemplary; this is how a music DVD should be put together, from the animated menus, using assorted clips and sound fx, including the classic 4 note introduction to "Shine On..." to the option to view the concert with a Stereo or 5.1 soundtrack! The extras are wonderful, and my favorite is a "Home Movie" of Dave and the Choir practicing Bizet's "Je Crois Entendre Encore," and "Shine On..." At one point Dave and various members of the choir are discussing a particularly difficult transition within "Je Crois Entendre Encore," and in frustration Dave says they'll do it the way they have been, and "F*** Bizet!" And for the guitar technicians out there, there's a section called "Spare Digits," which are basically extreme close-ups of Dave's finger-work on 6 separate tracks! All in all a superb DVD, and one that I'm going to revisit often!!!
on November 15, 2002
I think this guy is the best guitarist in this world. The sound of his guitars is incredible. It's a real pleasure : acoustic and electric , the work is perfect.
If you need action and power PULSE is the best concert of all time, but if you prefer feeling and blues , this live is for you.
David if you read this review, you must know that you gave pleasure to millions people around the world since your fisrt album with PINK FLOYD, thank you very much.
Your modesty must be an exemple for all the artists ( and for Roger Waters for sure).
I am a french man and I cried when I listened to your song of Bizet :YOU ARE THE BEST !!!
The sound and video quality of this dvd is EXELLENT.
My personal preference is your extra with Mica Paris : for all the professionals of electric blues , I really think that are better than all the other guitarists. I love Clapton, BB King , SRV ... but I have never heard a sound so clean and beautiful...
Thanks a lot, David . I hope that you will do ohter concert like this and other dvds.