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David Gilmour - Live in Gdańsk CD (album) cover


David Gilmour


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4.21 | 167 ratings

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5 stars Just watch it and listen to it. I am lost for words!

WARNING! As soon as you buy the album, take the discs out of that fancy cardboard package and put them in some regular jewel-cases, because the CDs and DVDs tend to fall out of the package in least expected moments (I nearly lost the concert DVD that way). They also get scratched very easily.

The main reason, why individual Pink Floyd members do not make as good music as the band itself, is that each of the band members had a certain irreplaceable vibe, they put into the overall music. And somehow, here, on tour, Gilmour manages to reproduce the feeling. Not the concert's artistic feeling, because that's what Waters likes to do. I'm thinking of the feelings coming from all the musicians, the sum of which gives an impression of highest unity. Cheesy as it may seem, this interpretation really reflects how Pink Floyd music actually worked. The gig features: Phil Manzanera, Steve DiStanislao, Guy Pratt, John Carin, Dick Parry, Richard Wright (notice how Wright is cheerfully greeted by the audience, and sadly, one of the last times) and David Gilmour . Apart from them, guest starring the talents of Leszek Mozdzer (our jazz pride). The abovementioned musicians create an unforgettable atmosphere and a magnificent harmony. The instruments sound tremendously, hardly anything short of studio quality. In addition, Rick Wright dusts his old Farifsa organ for the occasion.

The gig takes places in the vicinity of Gdańsk shipyard, Poland (a documentary stating a few facts about the city is also featured) and as I have said features our (that is: Polish) great pianist Leszek Możdżer (or Mozdzer, if you don't have Polish fonts), who delivers a jazzy solo on "Then I Close My Eyes" and provides the piano melody during "A Pocketful of Stones". Just don't think I am biased, because the thing happened in my country. It simply is that good. But enough of the appraisal, time for the facts.

The concert opens with "Speak to Me / Breathe / Time / Breathe (Reprise)", that is: the opening tracks from "The Dark Side of the Moon" sans "On the Run", which is a rather thoughtful omission, considering the bluesy atmosphere of the show. Each song is performed with paramount commitment, especially from Gilmour's voice. I wholeheartedly consider it better even than the P.U.L.S.E. rendition.

Next, Gilmour and his bandmates take on the PF guitarist's newest solo album in its whole. It really doesn't differ that much from the studio version, it only lacks the vocal harmonies by the Byrds' members, but even the orchestra is featured (The Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zbigniew Preisner, yet another Polish touch in the performance). Some of the songs are really nice to listen to live. Note the extended psychedelic bridge in "Take a Breath", soloing throughout "Then I Close My Eyes" and the wonderful "Pocketful of Stones", the highlights of the first part of the concert. Of course the title track is good by default, so I don't even bother mentioning it.

The second part of the concert commences with the obligatory first half of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", re-arranged in a way, though. The sung part is almost entirely stripped down to Gilmour's guitar and voice, giving it a feeling of intimacy. And, yet again, Gilmour performs a vocal masterwork, screaming his lungs out.

The insane "Astronomy Domine" seems unfitting the concert's atmosphere a bit, but how could have the band possibly omit the fan-favourite, space rocker, especially that DiStanislao's drumming reaches astral levels of "amazing" on this one.

Then there's a rather surprising choice from a time long forgotten - "Fat Old Sun", an insignificant ballad from "Atom Heart Mother", turns into gold in the hands of such a proficient team of musicians.

"A Great day for Freedom" (exclusively played during the Gdansk gig) is a nod towards the Polish history. In fact, the shipyard itself was the witness of the workers' struggle for freedom and the fall of communism.

And now, for the peak of the concert: "Echoes". Gilmour had been dead set against performing the twenty-something minute epic during his PF-era concerts, because of his concern, that the touring musicians might not fully grasp the masterpiece's essence. But with the bandmates in Gdańsk it was really just a matter of "how can we improve Echoes". And? I need to state my attitude it in a separate paragraph.

It is astonishing. The Gdańsk gig "Echoes" is simply magnificent.

Never before, I believe, had a song been so greatly improved in comparison with its studio counterpart. Both, the studio and the Pompeii versions lacked in depth and quality. The thirty-five years, separating the performances, can really be heard in each and every sound. Oh, and the ovation triggered by the first "ping", that's a real go-ahead given by the audience.

The twenty-five minutes of the song made me lost for words and gave me shivers up the spine every few minutes: Beginning with the notes played on the Leslie-treated piano, through the accord of Gilmour's and Wright's vocals (this time performing in unison), the guitar & organ jam, the nerve-jangling mid-part, the guitar outburst and, finally, the reprise of the vocal section along with the blue, closing guitar and piano melodies.

Sincere kudos to Wright, for his performing of the song. He looked as if he had sold his soul to the devil in return for the rage needed to play the organ, the way he does. He is nearly as diabolical as Keith Emerson (who treats his Hammond with knives).

The gig ends inevitably with the beautiful "High Hopes" (an immensely extended acoustic guitar outro included), "Wish You Were Here" (good as always) and "Comfortably Numb" with Wright performing Waters' vocal part (he does it fairly better than Bowie on "Remember that Night").

The only downer of the album is, that the concert is not featured entirely on video. You can only listen to the whole thing, whereas the video version of the gig has suffered from several cuts. The missing parts can be found on Gilmour's website though. The quality is a letdown however.

Best song: "Echoes" (Omigod! You can buy the album solely for this one song)

Worst song: ummm? (something from the "On an Island" repertoire perhaps, but I am not willing to be the one throwing the first stone)

Post Scriptum: The pricier versions of the album feature some bonus material, which is cool, but the few things really worth mentioning are: the high quality studio version of "On an Island" album (so you can kill two tasty birds with one stone) and a few studio jams - fun, but not quite as bad-ass as VdGG jams.

Mike_Zed | 5/5 |


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