Monday, May 25th and the location of the venue for the Crisis Hidden Gig featuring Amadou & Mariam and David Gilmour was revealed as the wonderful Union Chapel in Islington, London. The sell-out crowd was treated to a magnificent fusion of African Blues jazz and the sound of David playing his famed Black Strat guitar.
During the first part of the evening the audience enjoyed a set from Catherine A.D., an emerging talent with a strong voice and some interesting songs followed by Stefan and Paul and friends. They have been supported by Crisis to help them develop their music having themselves been homeless in the past. The highlight of the night was to follow when Amadou and Mariam were joined on stage by the guitar legend David Gilmour making his first official live performance of the year.
David really seemed to enjoy the evening and played superbly throughout ensuring that the sound of his guitar merged perfectly with the songs of the couple from Mali and their band. The set consisted of nine songs which included several from Amadou and Mariam's recently released CD "Welcome to Mali". The highlight for the many Floyd and Gilmour fans was their tribute to David when they performed a song from his David Gilmour LP - "No Way". Their rendition included some classic solo guitar work on a song which David has not performed live for many years. The reception from the audience was ecstatic and the collaboration by all the musicians on stage made this a memorable moment.
The combination of African blues, the gold customised Telecaster played by Amadou, and David's lyrical guitar playing provided those present with yet another example of David's musicianship and versatility but as always left the audience wanting more. At the end of the 80 minute set the band returned for an encore and by then fans had come to the front of the stage to envelop themselves in the wonderful sound emanating into the auditorium. The fact that David was on stage throughout was a real bonus and ensured the sound of his playing echoed through the night. In addition some backing vocals in French from David on a couple of the tracks added to the uniqueness of the occasion.
In an interesting break from current rules regarding photography at most venues nowadays the announcement at the beginning of the show that photography would be allowed in moderation ensured that many in the audience were able to take pictures to record the event. The concert was supported not only by fans of the musicians but also by many of David's family who enjoyed the performance from the third row. One of the more famous members of the audience, Phil Manzanera said afterwards that he had really enjoyed the performance.
The end result of the evening was that over 900 people left the Union Chapel building in a very happy state of mind, not only having witnessed some superb musicianship and classic guitar playing but also content that they had supported such a worthwhile cause and helped raise funds for Crisis and the homeless. For more information contact www.crisis.org.uk.
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