In front of tiny, invited audience
|Studio Z, Sony, New York
XM Radio recording session
Address of venue: 460 W 54th Street, New York, New York 10019. MAP
This event was a hush-hush,
invitation-only occasion to record some songs and an interview for
later broadcast on US satellite radio station XM.
Thankfully, a Brain Damage regular - Adam Grossberg
- was there, and reported back to us!
By Adam Grossberg
I was among no more than 30
people -- fans, XM Radio and Columbia execs, VIPs (including David's
wife Polly) -- in Sony Music Studios' tiny "Studio Z" for the "David
Gilmour XM Artist Confidential" event last week. You can read about the
series here at XM's website: xmradio.com/exclusivemusic/artist_confidential.jsp.
The evening was essentially an
intimate interview/performance hosted by George Taylor Morris. It felt
somewhat like a fireside chat. It was recorded in its entirety for
broadcast about one month from now (air date TBD).
I've attached a photo of the
actual studio here – during the performance there were no couches –
just 4 rows of chairs that faced the mixing board with the front row
ending at the lip of the carpet.
The black box in the middle of
the floor with the processors, equalizers and effects was removed
because that's where two microphones - one for David and one for Phil
Manzanera were placed.
Each man had an acoustic guitar,
but David also had an acoustic Hawaiian lap style slide guitar on a
stand. I was sitting front row dead center roughly 3 feet from the guys.
The evening started with a few
questions, and then they performed "Smile", which sounded so beautiful.
David's voice was in wonderful form, and his playing...well, it goes
without saying that it was
I was one of five lucky audience
members to ask a question during the evening - and I asked him how he
went about choosing the songs he's playing on his current tour given
that his catalog is so amazing and
vast. I told him that I was particularly pleased that he chose to
include songs like "Echoes" and "Fat Old Sun" in the set.
He described his process of
coming up with a great big list, whittling it down, trying them in
rehearsal, etc. - that was a treat. Someone else asked him if he had
plans to play "Green is the Colour", and he said that while they
rehearsed it, he didn't like the sound of it so that song was taken off
David was very funny and gracious
- and was in very good spirits throughout the evening. To see what I
mean, you'll need to tune in to the show when it's broadcast. The only
other song they played was
"Where We Start", which also sounded wonderful in such an intimate
While David fielded questions
about a whole host of topics, there were a few things he said that were
new to me, for example: on the top of his "to do" list is to complete a
Dolby 5.1 mix of "Wish You Were
Here" when he gets a chance; Gilmour ripped off a lick from the Beach
Boys' "Good Vibrations" in one of the key sections of Echoes (the 2nd
half of the song where he plays those muted notes on the guitar over
Richard's slowly-building organ solo); and that he chose to play Radio
City Music Hall personally because he played a midnight show there with
Pink Floyd in 1973 during the "Dark Side of the Moon" tour, and
he had very fond memories of the performance. He recounted how the
smoke machine filled the stage with a thick cloud and that the band
started to play as they came up on a lift from under the stage –
something he wanted to re-create for this tour.
Like all good things in life, it
had to come to an end (around 60 minutes later), and David and Phil
left the room smiling broadly while the small group of transfixed and
blissfully happy fans whooped and
hollered and clapped. It was a truly wonderful evening, and one that I
will not soon forget!!
Thanks for the great report, Adam!