A Prydonian Review of:

David Gilmour

Radio City Music Hall

New York City

April 4th, 2006

 

 

 

Unbelievable! 

 

Last night I attended David Gilmour’s On An Island concert at Radio City Music Hall.  This was the first of two nights in New York City, and was most definitely worth the time and trouble!  Dave was in excellent form last night, although his voice cracked on one or two instances, they could be forgiven easily; Dave’s haunting vocals have only improved over the span of his 40+ years of performing.  When compared to his contemporaries like Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Roger Daltrey or Roger Waters it would appear that Dave has found the vocal equivalent of the fountain of youth.

 

Of course Dave also kept with the Pink Floyd reputation of an unbeatable visual show!  The use of lasers and smoke enhanced the evening, and with no video effects, still kept the show at the proper more intimate level that should be attained by playing a venue like Radio City.

 

The first half of the night was a full performance of the new album.  Dave was joined by Graham Nash and David Crosby performing the backup vocals for the title track, as well as a few others throughout the evening.  Dave made mention after David and Graham left the stage that the album hadn’t been performed in track order so that they (Graham and David) could join in.

 

When Dave went around the stage introducing the band, each member received a fair share of applause and cheers, however Rick Wright received a near standing ovation, which lasted so long that the spot light was extinguished and then re-lighted again.  After the applause finally died away, right leaned over to John Carin  making gestures that showed his satisfaction with the audience’s response.

 

The second half of the show was dedicated to “past lives”, some of which most of us would like to believe have not finished yet.  Amongst the Pink Floyd numbers were “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 1-5)”, which are normally played by Pink Floyd, Dave and Roger as a tip of the hat to Sydd.  Last night’s version was re-worked by Dave and Rick which had the audience paying close attention.  The audience responded with cheers to the changes in wording, whereas Dave referred to the audience as the subject of the song, a possible acknowledgement to the years gone by.  This was most appropriate since half of the audience was in the same age range as the performers.  It is important to note that there were a good number of young people were in attendance, including a seven year old who boasted that he had seen Yes and other bands already, and was excited about seeing David Gilmour.

 

Instead of using Shine On as a reminder of Sydd, Dave did one better by performing “Dominoes” from Sydd Barrett’s 1990 album Barrett produced by Dave and Rick.  Again, here the character of the audience was once again brought to light as cheers emanated when Dave announced “the next song was written by Sydd.

 

Another wonderful surprise was the inclusion of “Fat Old Sun” from Atom Heart Mother.  This is one of the problems that a performer of Dave’s repertoire is faced with, so many works to choose from, and so little time to play.  It was quite refreshing to hear some of the earlier works that we know must be close to his heart.

 

The concert continued on with a performance of nearly the entire first side of the Dark Side of the Moon, with a most excellent transition from “Breathe Reprise” to “High Hopes” using the bell as a bridge.  Unfortunately the audience was so enthusiastic about the performance that I’m afraid that the effect may have been lost on most.  In addition to the wonderful talents already on stage Dick Parry joined in with a superb performance re-visiting his work from Dark Side as well as Wish You Were Here, if at all possible this should not be missed!

 

 

The highlight of the second half would have to be the rendition of "Echoes", played in its entirety and extended a bit at that.  The Floyd had not performed this particular piece since the early seventies, and had aborted an attempt at including it in the Delicate Sounds of Thunder tour.  Nick Mason had noted in his book Inside Out that they had not played it again after rehearsing it in Toronto, citing that the younger musicians were too structured to be able to let go and just jam with it.  Tonight Dave and crew were successful (in my opinion) in not only “pulling it off”, but improving on and surpassing the original.  Dave, if you read this, please capture this version and let the masses hear what really can be done with instruments!

 

The encore included “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb”. Between the two, Dave brought David Crosby and Graham Nash back out on stage for an acappella rendition of “Find the Cost of Freedom”, and remained to assist in backup vocals on “Comfortably Numb”

 

Last night’s performance proves that it requires seasoned musicians to re-produce or improve upon the work of others or themselves.  The only thing that can top this tour (for a hard core Floydian as myself) would be a final farewell tour of Pink Floyd including Dave, Nick, Rick and of course Roger.  Apart from that miracle, I can now say  “I can die happy”; I have seen Claire Torry perform “The Great Gig in the Sky” live with Roger Waters during the Radio KAOS tour, and now I’ve seen Dick Parry perform as well as a performance of Echoes that will remain in my memory forever, this mixed with the Live 8 performance with brought four old friends back together to show us all that no fight (or war) will (or should) last forever.

 

Dave has said that this new album and tour is for him not the fans, and to this I say to Dave, Keep it up, what makes you happy is definitely making us happy too!