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David Gilmour - David Gilmour In Concert CD (album) cover

DAVID GILMOUR IN CONCERT

David Gilmour

 

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3.83 | 82 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Hypnotic

I have a major problem with this superb DVD, as I have yet to watch it in its entirety without falling asleep! This however is not in anyway a criticism, but the performance is so relaxed and indeed relaxing, that it must be an essential purchase for insomniacs.

The first thing any Pink Floyd fan needs to be aware of is that this is not Gilmour exploiting his Pink Floyd pedigree, by attempting to recreate a Pink Floyd gig. While many of the track titles will be familiar, their renditions here are very different to the original versions. Even the comparatively recent songs from the Gilmour led "Division bell" album bear only a passing resemblance to their album versions. This is essentially David Gilmour unplugged. Admittedly he does revert from time to time to his lead guitar, but the concert is by and large acoustic.

The performance commences in a disarmingly downbeat fashion, with Gilmour strolling on stage to polite if rather restrained applauds from the audience. Gone are the light shows, visual effects, and ear shattering speaker banks of a Pink Floyd concert. In their place, we have what appears to be a middle aged bank manager, standing alone with his acoustic guitar. Gilmour proceeds to carefully pick out the opening notes unaccompanied, the mood broken only by the occasional whoop and whistles by the ubiquitous moron in the audience. The tune thus far is unfamiliar in this context. Then just as the listener is starting to wonder if this is to be a lengthy acoustic guitar ramble the 4 note theme which introduces the guitar on the "Wish you were here" version of "Shine on you crazy diamond", reassures us that this is indeed a song we know well. The audience reaction appears to be a mixture of appreciation, and relief! When Gilmour starts to sing the verses, he seems genuinely exposed and vulnerable. In such an intimate, pared down atmosphere, every minor flaw in the performance will be magnified. There is a palpable tension in the air, as if Gilmour himself is not sure if he can pull it off.

He does of course, and as he is joined by his backing musicians, the tension quickly eases, Gilmour relaxes, and we are up and running. The set consists of a fine cross section of predominantly, but by no means exclusively, Pink Floyd material. The emotional nature of the performance is accentuated by a guest appearance of Robert Wyatt in his wheelchair, singing the verses of "Comfortably numb". It is a little disappointing that Wyatt seems unfamiliar with the song, referring throughout to his lyric sheet. A superior second version featuring Sir Bob Geldorf is also included later on. Among the many other highlights are a quasi-spiritual version of "High hopes" featuring a gospel choir, and an achingly beautiful rendition of "Je Crois Entendre Encore" (the point at which I tend to fall asleep!).

Gilmour's chosen fellow musicians provide a wonderfully sympathetic accompaniment, each taking the opportunity to step forward to briefly enjoy the limelight, but always respectful of Gilmour's predominance. In particular, Dick Perry recreates his sax contribution to "Shine on..", and Caroline Dale adds some stunning colours through her cello playing. For those desperate to see Gilmour perform one more time with his erstwhile band mates, only the brief appearance of Rick Wright performing the final track from his "Broken China" album offers any kind of solace, this is very much David Gilmour solo.

The DVD offers excellent value, the main feature running to over 2 hours. Also included is an interesting behind the scenes rehearsal sequence, and a sans-Gilmour rendition of the part of High Hopes sung by the gospel choir. The package is rounded off by a further three bonus videos, including a rendition of "I put a spell on you" with lead vocal by Mica Paris (for a superb version of this classic, try the one by Creedence Clearwater Revival).

Apart from the fact that the concert performance documented on this DVD is essential viewing, the package as a whole sets a standard for others to aspire to. A true gem.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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