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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow A feast of Gilmour on the BBC!
A feast of Gilmour on the BBC! Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Thursday, 25 May 2006

Tonight sees David Gilmour and his band begin the UK leg of their ‘On an Island’ tour in earnest, with an appearance in Manchester and the broadcast of a superb performance on the ‘Later with Jools Holland’ show, both this evening.

David Gilmour - BBC Mermaid
David Gilmour - BBC Mermaid
Stills from original BBC Mermaid Theatre broadcast
The 'Later with...' performance airs tonight on BBC2 TV in the UK, at 11:35pm BST (10:35pm GMT) and is not to be missed. Each show features a range of top musicians, playing live in the studio in front of a small audience. This week's show, recorded on Tuesday, also includes the likes of Paul Simon and Elvis Costello.

We know a number of you will be unable to see the show, and, thanks to our friend Gary Holderness over at the BBC, we have a review below of the recording session. DON'T read it if you don't want to know what was performed! You have been warned...

Elsewhere on the BBC, the corporation has decided to rebroadcast the Mermaid Theatre recording from March 7th, on BBC Radio 2. This will be on Monday (May 29th) - so for all of those not at the Royal Albert Hall, you will still be able to experience David's show that night! BBC Radio 2 can be heard on FM and DAB radio, and through Freeview, Sky, NTL and Telewest's digital cable/satellite services.

The BBC website is also airing from this morning (Saturday 27th) the footage of the show again, on demand - it is the newly edited and expanded, 65 minute version shown on May 16th at cinema screens across the US, minus the OAI promo and EPK that were included at the start of the cinema screening. This new version includes "High Hopes" which was missing from the original broadcasts.

David's website also notes that the newly edited footage is from the full nine cameras which were present at the Mermaid, not just the five that were used for the initial broadcast on the BBC website and BBCi. The sound is also remixed.

As it is from the BBC website, fans worldwide will be able to enjoy it. More details of this can be found at Definitely worth catching, the performance features a blend of old and new - tracks from OAI, alongside a couple of Pink Floyd classics. To the right are a couple of screen grabs from the original broadcast on the BBCi interactive TV service. Despite the rebroadcast, there are apparently no plans yet for a release on DVD.


Warning - spoilers ahead! Don't read on if you don't want the surprise to be spoilt!

[Tuesday] night was the recording of the show of which I’ll get to in a while... My own Gilmour experience began this week on Monday. I’m fortunate enough (some may say not so) to work for the BBC in London where the ‘Later with Jools’ show is recorded.

I happened to be walking past the studio Monday afternoon when I heard the closing bars to ‘Take a Breath’. Intrigued I entered the studio expecting to see the roadies checking the kit only to be blown away by the fact that Gilmour and the boys were there on stage. Feet firmly planted on the ground I wasn’t going to budge. I was rewarded with multiple takes of 'Take a Breath', 'On an Island' ( with guest vocalists Crosby and Nash), and 'Arnold Layne'.

This was set to be a great night on Tuesday...

Having been in the studio on Monday I had a good idea where I’d like to be as a member of the audience (as close to DG as possible). We couldn’t have got closer without getting run over by a camera. We were perched on a small riser just to the right of Steve DiStanislao amongst the guitar techs and David’s / Phil’s and Guy’s guitars.

Also on the bill for the Tuesday night show were Paul Simon with the fabulous Steve Gadd on drums, The Streets, Elvis Costello with Allen Toussant and Nacao Zumbi.

The show began with David Crosby & Graham Nash pre-recording a couple of tracks for the following week's show, and then the Later recording began proper. The aim is to record the show as you see it on TV, only re-taking where necessary. Paul Simon led the groove intro with everyone else joining in as the camera panned around the studio. The second take got the show running which led into DG and ‘Take a Breath’. This was aborted early due to technical problems, so back to Paul Simon. The groove led into a complete version of ‘Take a Breath’, a track which I’ll say isn’t one of my favourites but to be so close to the man didn’t matter as it sounded great.

Paul Simon and The Streets followed. Paul Simon was then interviewed by Jools and it became apparent that he wasn’t that comfortable. He didn’t like viewing the archive footage that was being show behind him.

Comments were made how he’d met David in the 60’s when they both played at a ball and if he hadn’t met Art it may have been Simon & Gilmour. Nacao Zumbi performed next and then DG was back before the cameras with a most exquisite rendition of ‘On an Island’. The band were so tight and the harmonies from Crosby & Nash perfect; it couldn’t be topped. Allen Toussant & Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Nacao Zumbi, Allen Toussant & Elvis Costello then The Streets followed.

Later with... ticketThe penultimate song was a great rendition of Graceland by Paul Simon and the ultimate - a stonking version of Arnold Layne with Richard Wright on lead vocals.

Tonight the band appeared to be very relaxed and comfortable in front of the cameras, David’s playing was blinding, the supporting musicians brilliant, and Guy always appears to be having fun bouncing around slapping his bass. Something you don’t see when the programme is aired is fellow musicians in the studio appreciating the talents of others. Make sure you watch the show; you’ll kick yourself if you don’t.

The icing on the cake was after the show when Richard, Jon, Guy and Steve ventured to the hospitality bar after the recording. All were relaxing with beer or in Richard’s case wine in hand having a laugh. I had a brief word with Steve congratulating him on his and the bands performance and that was it, the good thing came to an end.

Our thanks to Gary for the insight into the evening. Sounds like essential viewing!

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