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Home arrow Reviews arrow Albums arrow David Gilmour - Live In Gdansk CD, DVD and vinyl sets
David Gilmour - Live In Gdansk CD, DVD and vinyl sets Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Monday, 22 September 2008

david gilmour live in gdanskWhat was no doubt originally intended as a celebration of some of the best performances from David Gilmour's 2006 tour, bringing together many different elements (music, video footage, and even reproduction memorabilia in the case of the deluxe 3CD/2DVD edition), now has an additional, memorial aspect to it for many fans.

Live In Gdansk originally started as a "Best of" the tour, but apparently it was felt that many of the optimum performances came from the final show, and having heard it, this certainly seems likely.

As this show also had the advantage that it was recorded on video, the focus then changed to it, albeit augmented on the deluxe edition with an additional CD of songs from other dates on the tour.

gdansk dvd picture 1Advances in recording technologies over the years should mean that live performances these days should be captured perfectly. However, as has been seen recently (a prime example being the dreadfully flat sounding recent Rush album, Snakes & Arrows Live) this does not always happen.

You can relax... the first thing that strikes you on playing the Live In Gdansk audio CD is what a damn fine job has been done. David, along with Phil Manzanera, have produced a rich, warm, expansive recording, full of detail, with no harshness or muddled sections. I'm finding it hard to think of a nicer job done with a concert recording, making the album much more of a rewarding repeat experience than many live albums tend to be.

Most of you will be very familiar with the set list from David's 2006 tour, and the Gdansk show featured a broadly similar selection to the majority of concerts (there was a little variety from show to show, which was pretty refreshing from the normal "cast in stone" sets most other artists employ). One special touch was the inclusion of A Great Day For Freedom, a fitting inclusion for a show that took place as part of Solidarity's 26th anniversary at the Gdansk shipyards in Poland.

Another unique aspect was the inclusion of the Baltic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, positioned to the side of the band, which gives a wonderful, lush additional layer within the music.

gdansk dvd pictureIn a set with such variety, yet delicately tuned to give a good balance of tempo and musical era, it is hard to pick specific highlights. The Gdansk concert really did seem to have all the musicians finely honed in the material.

However, particular stand-out tracks that I've been drawn back to repeatedly over the last week or so include the haunting Shine On, Then I Close My Eyes, and the sublime, mesmerising performance of Echoes. Maybe it is in part due to the quality of the recording and production, but from all the 2006 renditions of Echoes I've heard, this seems to be the pinnacle. Listening to it, one is transported back to the early 1970s and some of the great live performances of the track from then.

In order to cater for different levels of interest in the material, the album has been made available in no less than five versions. The basic, 2CD set, gives you the whole Gdansk concert (minus one song, Wot's... Uh The Deal, which wouldn't fit but can be heard on the DVD, the five LP vinyl edition, and via download); each successive version adds to this. The 2CD/1DVD edition adds the concert on DVD, along with the documentary (more on both of these in a minute) and a "web pass" to allow the owner to download an additional track each month for the next year.

The next version adds a further DVD, which includes such things as On An Island in 5.1 surround, Mermaid Theatre, AOL, and Live At Abbey Road footage, and various Barn Jams.

gdansk dvdThe deluxe edition adds the aforementioned extra CD, making it 3CDs/2DVDs, and also includes a selection of memorabilia such as a poster, and reproduction concert ticket and artist's backstage pass.

All these editions - as with David's other recent releases - are housed in well presented carbon neutral packaging. Click here for more information on exactly what each contains.

Many fans will be drawn to the various packages not just for the concert on CD (and we had loads of emails from people who wanted Remember That Night on that format), but also for the concert DVD and the documentary in particular. Some of the other bits - the Mermaid, AOL, and Abbey Road footage - have been available in various guises at different points, but it is nice to get them here in an all-inclusive package, and in great quality instead of - in some cases - internet streams. For those who like a bit of investigative work, there are a few "Easter Eggs" (hidden extras) to be found on the DVDs, apparently!

Anyway, to the concert DVD. This features a two-hour edit of the concert, well shot with plenty of nice close-ups of the various band members, and wider views of the stage as a whole. Covering the majority of the show, from Castellorizon through to the Comfortably Numb finale, there are just a handful of songs omitted for space reasons.

In a refreshing change from the norm, there are few close-ups on audience members in the footage. Whilst this can fun for those who actually appear on screen, endless shots of the concertgoers can get a little dull, especially as this will tend to be at the expense of seeing the musicians themselves. Also, with the location of the cameras, audience footage can often be of the same people throughout.

One of the unusual aspects of the Gdansk show was the use of six screens hung above the stage, each focusing on a different member of the band. This allowed the large audience to keep an eye on their favourite musicians, and on occasion a trio of these shots are used side-by-side on the DVD to good effect.

gdansk diary pictureThe documentary, or Gdansk Diary as it is titled, is a 38 minute look behind the scenes of the staging of the concert. Ranging from the erection of the large stage and the raising of the six screens, through to soundchecking and rehearsing with the orchestra, the Gilmour family meeting Lech Walesa, and shots from the concert itself.

Nothing groundbreaking within it, but due to this, possibly all the more absorbing as a glimpse at the day-to-day mechanics of an event such as this. Indeed, on one viewing of this a non-Floyd fan was present, who was thoroughly absorbed throughout!

With the very sad passing of Richard Wright a mere week before release, Live In Gdansk has a new resonance for many. His wonderful, subtle style is clearly on display, as ever the cornerstone and a vital part of the sound and feel of the music. It is clear why this concert was picked as a showcase of the tour itself, as the whole band seem on top form, delivering a memorable show for the 50,000 crowd, and now, for a worldwide audience too. With the addition of many other performances and items from the On An Island project, David has given his fans an essential package, which, limited in nature, should be snapped up while you can...


ORDERING INFORMATION
Many retailers are taking orders on the sets, although some do seem to be in short supply already with the mass of preorders. The following chart gives an idea of pricing at Amazon, but of course other retailers have some of the sets at good prices as well, including Play.com, Best Buy, and specialist site Floydstuff.com. Pricing at the various sites seems to vary on a daily basis but hopefully the following will help you in your buying decisions as you shop around for your chosen format.

  2CD version 2CD/1DVD
2CD/2DVD 3CD/2DVD deluxe 5-disc VINYL
AMAZON.COM $13.99 $23.99 $33.99 $115.99 * $92.13
AMAZON.CA  C$23.99 C$36.99 C$52.99 not yet listed not yet listed
AMAZON.CO.UK  £8.98 £11.98 £24.98 £39.98 £84.98
AMAZON.DE  €18,95 €24,97 €44,99 €57,95 €55,97
AMAZON.FR  €16,96 €22,99 €32,29 €54,66 €43,77

* Currently the best place for our US friends to secure their copy of the 3CD/2DVD set is their local Best Buy store. The chain has the exclusive on the set in the US, and their website has recently dropped it to a staggering $49.99, far cheaper than Amazon.com's current price. They do sell by online mail order as well as instore, but please note that Best Buy only ship orders to these countries: US, the Virgin Islands, Guam, or an FPO or APO address. They are not able to ship internationally to other countries.

 
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