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Pink Floyd - P-U-L-S-E  CD (album) cover

P-U-L-S-E

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.93 | 723 ratings

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Frankingsteins
4 stars The definitive Pink Floyd live album celebrating the release of their new and final studio album 'Division Bell' as well as the twentieth anniversary of their best-selling classic 'Dark Side of the Moon,' performed here in its entirety to a delighted audience.

With a musically diverse 28-year back catalogue, a penchant for lengthy, progressive songs and a natural desire to include a large proportion of then-new material, any collection like this isn't going to please every Pink Floyd fan, but it impresses a damn sight better than their mutilated 'best of' from 2001.

The stereo sound quality is excellent, especially for a live album, and guitarist / vocalist David Gilmour proves to all but the most stubborn old-schooler that the band performs just as well without long-gone ego-crazy Roger Waters, tackling Waters-era classics 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' and 'Comfortably Numb' just as well as his predecessor and churning out ever more impressive guitar solos, while Richard Wright's keyboard playing is stricter to the studio material but still impresses. Not bad for a bunch of old farts.

The double-CD version of Pulse features an oddly different setlist on the first disc to the LP, including the ancient Syd Barret song 'Astronomy Domine,' 'Hey You' from 1979's The Wall and the new 'What Do You Want From Me?' and 'A Great Day for Freedom,' all omitted from the LP but replaced with the excellent 1974 instrumental 'One of These Days.' The tracks taken from the album the tour was promoting, Division Bell, could have been better chosen and are all performed pretty identically to what was recorded in the studio the year before, but the first side of the album is still highly enjoyable listening; the crowd predictably goes wild on the band's radio-friendly singalong 'Another Brick in the Wall part 2.'

The second disc is the selling point for most fans: a recreation of the entire 'Dark Side of the Moon' [album / song] from the opening heartbeats and mad ravings of 'Speak to Me' to the brief conclusion 'Eclipse.' Some aspects of the highly polished studio album don't sit too well in a live environment, such as Gilmour's efforts at speaking the looped voices from the LP on stage and the replacement of wailing Clare Torry for the more sprightly Sam Brown for vocals on 'The Great Gig in the Sky,' but other than that it sounds just as technically impressive. Previous live offerings of classics like 'Time' and 'Money' didn't do the songs justice, but perhaps it's due to the commemorative nature of this performance that everything fits perfectly. I don't care, it's bloody good though.

The delights keep coming after this momentous feat, as the band perform three more songs: 'Wish You Were Here,' from the excellent eponymous album from 1976, sounds better here than ever, Gilmour's acoustic guitar and Wright's haunting keyboard making for the most emotional section of the album's 146 minutes. 'Comfortably Numb' sees Guy Pratt taking over as the band's second vocalist for this excellent dual performance, while 'Run Like Hell' is the perfect ending to this disc.

Fans of 'Dark Side of the Moon' should be pleased, unless they're miserable curmudgeons (and let's face it, many dedicated prog fans are), while those more loyal to 'The Wall,' the band's landmark concept album, received 'Is There Anybody Out There?' in 2001, a release of the vintage 1980/81 tour that recreated that album in its entire whole etc.

As mentioned before, 'Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd' tried to offer newcomers a taste of the band by chopping up and reworking some of their epics and sticking them onto a double CD. Oh, with 'Another Brick in the Wall' of course. The taste this gave was something like chilli chocolate, something that I hope I never encounter again, but that I thankfully probably never will. (Sometimes things are difficult to find for a reason, as I often remind myself when browsing my CD collection).

For anyone interested in Pink Floyd, or any other long-running band for that matter, I would always point to their most acclaimed live album to get a real insight, or failing that, the cheapest second-hand studio album you can find in small, odd record shops that have comic book sections in the back.

This album does what a live release should do best, by involving the crowd and truly bringing across their enthusiasm for the event. The clichéd drawback with albums like this is that they don't include everyone's favourite songs, and it is a shame that areas of the band's discography are left on the shelf: there is nothing from the excellent 1977 album 'Animals' and only one track ('Astronomy Domine' on the CD version, 'One of These Days' on the LP) from before Dark Side of the Moon. But cheer up you crazy psychedelic prog man.

Frankingsteins | 4/5 |

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