Concert starts: 8:30pm
|Royal Albert Hall, London
|Royal Albert Hall ticket scan
Address of venue: Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP. MAP
All three shows at this venue
were recorded for a later DVD release. BD tried to count up all the
cameras used for the recording. We spotted at least seventeen, so
little would have escaped the camera's eye...!
|SET LIST - MAY 31st
FIRST HALF: Breathe/Time/Breathe
Reprise, Castellorizon, On An Island (w/Crosby & Nash), The Blue
(w/Crosby & Nash), Red Sky At Night, This Heaven, Then I Close My
Eyes (w/Robert Wyatt), Smile, Take A Breath, A Pocketful Of Stones,
Where We Start.
SECOND HALF: Shine On You
Crazy Diamond (w/Crosby & Nash), Fat Old Sun, Dominoes, Arnold
Layne, Coming Back To Life, High Hopes, Great Gig In The Sky (w/Mica
ENCORE: Wish You Were Here (w/Nick Mason), Find The Cost Of Freedom (w/Crosby & Nash), Comfortably Numb (w/Nick Mason).
The first of three nights saw the
band on great form, in what felt like a very intimate venue - some of
the audience were so close to the stage they could almost touch the
musicians! Standouts included Echoes (Richard's keyboard playing was
particularly impressive and EXpressive) and On An Island, which had
David Crosby beaming from ear to ear like the Cheshire Cat!
The appearance of David Bowie for the final two numbers was a shock to the audience...
The second night featured another
special guest appearance - Mica Paris - and a blistering version of
Echoes which the band will be hard pressed to better on the final
night. Magnificent show again... can they top that on Wednesday?
Seemingly these things are
possible to the likes of David and co. The final night was a very
special one to go out on. Despite starting an hour later, the show was
slightly longer than the preceeding nights! Guests aplenty on this
final bash - Crosby, Nash, Wyatt, Mica Paris again, and taking the
stage for the encore songs, Nick Mason!
Nick's special touch on WYWH and
Comfortably Numb came shining through - not to take anything away from
Stevie DiStanislao, who has been consistently excellent throughout the
tour - but it's like guitarists; you can tell them apart by their own
unique styles of playing.
Our friend Nick Gribben has an
insight into the delay: "A college graduation was booked for the
afternoon which meant that the stage and all the sundries had to be
removed and then replaced after the graduation had finished at 5.30p.m.
"I went to the main door about
6.45p.m as I was going to go to the bar before the concert. The doorman
let me in and I went for a look about... I then noticed the Technicians
were going through a sound check. I kept watching and at about 7pm the
whole band came on stage including Nick Mason (which spoiled the
surprise for later). Steve Distanislao went through the drum kit with
NM, whilst Rick Wright gave a note perfect rendition of the organ solo
at the end of 'A Saucerful of secrets'. The band then ran through parts
of 'Then I close my eyes', then with NM on the drums they warmed up
with a full version of 'Comfortably numb' and 'Wish you were here',
with full lighting effects, David was saving his voice as he wasn't
hitting the usual high notes and Polly Samson was on the stage the
whole time taking photographs.It was a real privilege with no-one other
than technicians in the hall, and gave me a view that you don't usually
"When the concert started my seat
was right behind the mixing desk where I noticed Nettie Mason and one
of Nick's daughters viewing the concert, along with Polly Sampson who
would disappear to take photos of the concert."
The tour now goes on hold for a
couple of months before heading to Austria for the final(?) stretch. In
the meantime, work will be progressed on the DVD of the shows, we're
sure. We tried to count the number of cameras recording the show for
the DVD, and saw at least 17 of them around the Royal Albert Hall.
By Brain Damage contributor, Mark Jardine
Having tried to get hold of
tickets for David Gilmour at the Royal Albert Hall for a few months, I
couldn’t believe it when two became available on Tuesday morning for
the Wednesday evening performance in row 4 of the arena – touching
distance from the stage. I was feeling incredibly lucky and numb. Work
for the next two days suffered as I looked forward to the concert.
The ‘troop’ assembled for this
tour draws upon musicians Gilmour has collaborated with at various
points in his career. Recognition between talented musicians and their
wish to work together has obviously formed the backbone of the band;
Richard Wright and Dick Parry are obvious inclusions, both Jon Carin
and Guy Pratt have toured twice with Pink Floyd, Stevie DiStanislao
smiles every second he is playing the drums and Roxy Music’s Phil ‘el
magnifico’ Manzanera lets his guitar do the talking and needs no
The Albert Hall incredibly
provides a very intimate atmosphere for a relatively large venue and
the acoustics are second to none. As the lights dimmed for the
traditional Breathe / Time intro, the sense of anticipation from the
audience was tangible. From the outset the sound was awesome, a top
band on top form and all obviously enjoying themselves.
Up next was a rendition of the
entire album that David Gilmour fans had been waiting a decade for. Of
course, like every devoted fan, I had this since the day of release. I
have to admit ‘On an island’ took me a little while to get into, but I
find I have grown to appreciate it more and more every time I listen to
it. The live performance of the album gives an insight into just how
comfortable Gilmour is with his life now – including heartfelt lyrics
by his wife Polly Samson, there is an obvious enjoyment and pride in
what he has produced. This infectious enthusiasm spread across the
stage, with relaxed special guest vocal accompaniment from David Crosby
and Graham Nash and a poignant performance by Robert Wyatt on Cornet.
How such contrasting tracks as Smile and Take a Breath manage to sit
side by side so perfectly is a mystery.
The second half saw some dominant
performances of the Pink Floyd classics. Starting with Shine On You
Crazy Diamond (backed by Crosby & Nash) into Fat Old Sun. Richard
Wright’s part in the Syd Barrett classics Dominoes and Arnold Lane was
in a different league. The studio recordings of Coming Back To Life and
High Hopes have always been favourites of mine but didn’t seem to have
the same impact live – maybe this was due to the truly great songs and
performances they were surrounded by. David then introduced Mica Paris
whose powerful, graceful voice was perfect for the Great Gig In The Sky.
The highlight of the evening for
me was the 25 minutes devoted to Echoes - I have never heard a
performance like it. A track that has so many parts and styles to it
has got to be a technical nightmare, but the band tied it together
seamlessly, taking the audience away with them through the peaks and
troughs. At the end the entire Royal Albert Hall were on their feet
applauding their rendition of the seminal track.
Before the concert wild rumours
had been circulating as to who would show up for the encore
performances. David Bowie’s appearance on Monday only fuelled the mill
and fanciful talk of a full Pink Floyd reunion was bandied around the
message boards. The talk, as it turned out, was not too far off the
mark with Nick Mason taking over from Stevie D. on drums to wild
Everyone joined in for Wish You
Were Hear with smiles on every face on stage and in the crowd. With no
disrespect for the excellent performance throughout the night of Steve
DiStanislao, having Nick Mason back on drums seemed right. Next came
the vocal only Crosby, Stills & Nash classic ‘Find The Cost Of
Freedom’ performed beautifully.
Nothing really more has to be
said about Comfortably Numb, every musician on stage could have
performed this blindfolded and many had their eyes closed.
The applause and standing ovation lasted for a long time, as will the memories of a great night.
By Brain Damage contributor, Andy Gibbons
Went to Gilmour at the RAH last
night (31st) – great show. Contrary to reports this was filmed too, so
there were some extra special guests. The set opened with a DSOTM
segment – Breathe, Time and Breathe Reprise before settling into the
Crosby and Nash guested on the
opening track. Standout songs from ‘Island’ were Take a Breath, which
has the feel of a classic Floyd track and packs a much bigger punch
live than on the album. Robert Wyatt was the first special guest,
playing some great cornet on This Heaven – maybe he could have been
given a freer rein as his contribution was only mixed up at the end of
A Pocketful of Stones was the
other highlight of this set for me – Gilmour’s voice has not only held
up over the years, he seems to be singing better as he ages!
The Second half was much more
Floyd orientated with Echoes being a real show-stopper – excellent
playing from Rick who improvised some great organ lines after the
‘birds’ sequence. I hadn’t seen them play this since 1975, but the
piece has lost nothing over time : the dry ice and lasers made it a
visually stunning experience as well as an epic sonic voyage.
Arnold Layne was a chance for
Rick to shine on vocals and Mica Paris strutted her stuff tastefully on
Great Gig but the final surprise was waiting in the wings – Nick Mason,
who took the drumstool for encores of Wish You Were Here and
Clocking in at three and half
hours of music, with other track and guest options from previous
nights, it’ll be an interesting job for Dave to edit this one for the
By Brain Damage contributor, Michael Mason
An excited and expectant crowd of
gray and bald heads were treated to a memorable recital of old classics
and future favourites at the Albert Hall last night.
The first half of the show
mirrored the performances of the previous two nights. Commencing with
Breathe, Time and Breathe Reprise accompanied by swirling varilights
and a cloud of smoke rivalled only by the one enveloping the Albert
Memorial across the street, we were then treated to a run-through of
new album 'On an Island'.
This presentation (with slight
variation from the CD running order) was interesting and enjoyable from
start to finish. Crosby and Nash, Dick Parry and Robert Wyatt wandered
on and off to add their embellishments to an album which benefitted
greatly from the live rendition in this beautiful and historic venue.
The dying strains of 'Where We
Start' provided the cue for a long line of dodgy old prostates to
assemble courteously at the gentlemen's facilities. The house lights
went on to reveal lots of smiling faces packing a venue which has
hosted some of the world's great talents, from The Beatles to John
Barry, The LSO to MacEnroe.
David reminisced briefly on his
and Rick's previous appearance at the Hall, during which the firing of
two Waterloo cannons saw the group banned 'for life' from the venue.
"Maybe they didn't recognise us" speculated the guitarist's guitarist.
I doubt that.
The evening recommenced with an
abridged 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond' to an attentive and delighted
throng, wistful and poignant for its stripped down rendition. Fat Old
Sun follows then, unbelievably, a fantastic version of Syd Barrett's
wonderful 'Dominoes'. "Shall we do another Syd one?", Dave enquires.
The crowd's reaction provides an unneccessarily vocal answer and the
band launch themselves into 'Arnold Layne' which the band obviously
enjoy performing greatly.
The Division Bell supplies the
next two tracks, 'Coming Back To Life' and a faultless 'High Hopes' and
then the night's first guest, Mica Paris, is whisked onstage to deliver
'Great Gig In The Sky'. For me, her clear unfamiliarity with the track
and surprisingly narrow range do the song no favours and provide only a
pale reminder of the truly goose-bump inspiring Clare Torry original.
The second half concludes with a
breathtaking 'Echoes', the high point of the tour for many. The
lighting system is put through its paces during this strange and
captivating chronological precursor to 'Dark Side Of The Moon'.
The great surprise of the night,
and surely the whole tour, is the appearance of Nick Mason to play the
encores. Nick is on much more confident form than on the Live8
performance and adds the finishing touch to 'Wish You Were Here', 'Find
The Cost of Freedom' and, inevitably, 'Comfortably Numb' which closes
the show. Early reports suggest Roger Waters was in attendance too. If
that's true it's a shame he didn't make an appearance, but hopefully
will have managed to convince Dave and Rick to show up at Magny Cours!
Storm Thorgurson also attended
the latter part of the show. Curiouser and curiouser. Dave's recent
comments about Pink Floyd being a thing of the past have now been
proved to have been false, if the three-part version on show here
tonight are to be considered as much PF as the band on the last two
albums to bear that name. As speculative as the next PF fan, I think
things are looking good for Bastille Day. Surely if Dave signs up then
Nick will follow. But, I digress.
Last night's show was a real
treat all round, for many reasons, and I pray that we have not seen the
last of these polite and refined old men who continue to enrich our
lives in ways that words cannot express.