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David Gilmour - Remember That Night: Live at The Royal Albert Hall CD (album) cover

REMEMBER THAT NIGHT: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

David Gilmour

 

Prog Related

4.19 | 152 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars David comes home. And momentarily my displeasure with him lapses.

David has finally come home and even invited us in to take tea in a sense. For arguably the first time in his solo career it feels to me as if I can connect with a complete artist, free of the baggage of that history we all know about. Minus a few issues the critical side of me can't totally block out, there are moments here where DG breaks through the veneer like never before. Neither he nor Roger has ever reached the heights separately that they did together, something no Floyd fan would argue. But here David isn't shooting for that and because of that actually succeeds beautifully with this show. While there are the obligatory PF songs to placate the many there to see them, this DVD is not a "must for every Floyd fan" that many proclaim, it is a must for every DG fan and for any fan of progressive rock traditional. Some of the finest moments here do not occur on the most predictable classics, but in the less obvious spaces that David is working hardest to sell. What comes through are moments of incredible poignancy and passion, of sides of DG and even Wright that have long been either hidden or simply not pronounced. Moments where everything is shed and Cambridge shines through, boyhood is felt, confusion is revealed but so is relief and wisdom. Grief for a recently lost friend is shared. Emotions that may once have been kept hidden are let go. Glances of every color of his art seem to be touched on, and the fact that he stands there so emotionally open and so able to (finally) connect with many of us who have in the past questioned his post-Waters work (sometimes with good reason) is not just impressive but is really heartwarming to witness. That is what really makes this release so impressive to me. There is a moment in "A Pocketful of Stones" where David is delivering the most amazing vocal with his head way back and only Wright's keys behind him; the level of intimacy and effectiveness in that moment is right up there with something from Joni Mitchell's finest hour. I've never quite felt such a moment from solo Gilmour and on this emotional level you realize that this is really "progressive" for them. They are showing a side beyond past regurgitations of their glory days (as fun as they may be) that are spectacular and that more than legitimize this release as something beyond "another quasi-Floyd concert." I think he has taken serious care to make each song nearly the definitive version of his life, only he could say that, but it sure seemed that way to me.

The presentation could not be more perfect. The atmosphere was draped in a darkness which I really like, but with clean, sharp lights alternately breaking through sharply or bathing the band and audience is cloudy dreaminess; in both cases perfectly attuned to the music. And the colors and clarity of the lights are the best I've ever witnessed: rather than the sometimes cheesy flashing lights you might find at the corner strip club, these lights have the most amazing colors I can only describe with words like calming and pure. Everything looks great, and the editing is slow but crisp, assuring you never miss anything but not flashing all over like a movie car chase. Everything is captured in the best sound and visual imaginable. The near nuclear level lighting explosions during the climax of Echoes were really just unbelievable; I can't imagine the assault to the senses from the main floor.

Just a few minor criticisms I'll offer. The initial Dark Side material came off as clearly the low point to me. I agree with Gatot that the choice to perform this material was wrong and that given the direction of the show there could have been much more effective openers, something more obscure, less obvious, less safe. And performing a piecemeal, lower profile DSoTM is pointless after doing it correctly on Pulse. And while the valiant attempt to pull off Arnold Layne was certainly daring, I relish the thought that even the most professional musicians with all of their expensive equipment will never capture the pure essence of a young man named Syd, will never capture the wonder of that moment in time. On the other hand, the version of "Dark Globe" performed alone by David on acoustic was truly beautiful, almost a musical eulogy to a person for whom words don't suffice.

But set aside my criticisms and those of others and try this DVD. Dave's playing is jubilant; the leads on the majority of tracks are absolutely breathtaking. His voice has held up remarkably well over these years, something many of his contemporaries (not just Waters) sadly cannot say. Beyond just hitting notes his voice has that velvety, comforting warmth it had in his youth, just seasoned a bit more with time. The band's performance was very professional though clearly acting as backdrop for the Big Dog. Crosby and Nash offered some decent harmonies and Robert Wyatt's heartfelt solo was a very touching moment. As I mentioned, the material from his new album, performed in full, is quite strong. I haven't heard the studio version but here it was mostly very pleasing, emotionally engaging, and delivered with passion from everyone on the stage. And while delivering the concert-ending finale of his screaming Comfortably Numb guitar solo at a deafening roar, he allows a bit of humor to come through by showing something funny in the audience..I won't give it away but it was a message perhaps that he doesn't take himself too seriously!

This review is entirely a flash impression without many facts about the specifics of the songs or the boatload of extras on disc 2. Others will cover those in greater detail. Mainly I wanted to let other DG skeptics/cynics (like myself) that this is one you shouldn't skip, this is..different.in a good way. While I will always harbor some ill-will towards artistic decisions DG has made regarding the Floyd I have to acknowledge his resilience and the success of this fine moment. I can understand why some have given it 5 stars, though I will need repeated viewings over a few years to decide if I could proclaim it that. But it is not another piece of unnecessary middle-aged affluent-rock product that we should ignore. While it may be too mellow and long-winded in places for those seeking a real rock-show kick in the pants or cutting-edge wild prog, that's not what this one is intended for-let's face it, he's well into his 60s now. While we may never get to experience the excitement of the true PF together again you'll realize watching this that we don't need to. This was likely as good as it gets for the David fan, so hopefully we won't have to watch the Floyd legacy degraded by a half-hearted catty reunion and the hype it would bring. With this show Gilmour has left history a fine document to his past, which I appreciate. And hopefully David and Roger will sign off on the DVD release of a classic Floyd concert from the WYWH, Animals, or Wall tours. There must be a high quality video recording somewhere. I wish the two of them could finally get it to the fans who have waited long enough.

..oh yeah, one more thing. Shine On. Watching David deliver this vocal about his old friend Roger Barrett, I thought of what he said in an interview after Syd passed: "I now have this lasting regret that I was so obedient to the family's wishes not to disturb his peace. A few years ago my wife Polly said to me 'how would you feel if he dies?' I said, Regretful, probably. And I am. I should have gone down there, knocked on his door and said, Hey, let's go for a pint. Because we were friends. I can't see that seeing an old friend would have done any damage." Wow. All of us probably have someone we could say that about-under different circumstances of course. Perhaps that's what makes the sentiments of the song so powerful to the listener.

Nice to meet you David.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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