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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow David Gilmour on the big screen - reviewed
David Gilmour on the big screen - reviewed Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Tuesday night saw a rather unusual David Gilmour event. Big Screen Concerts aired, for one night only, a special recording of David's BBC concert recording at London's Mermaid Theatre on March 7th, augmented by the EPK for the album, presented in surround sound in movie theatres across the US.

The performance was the first public outing for a selection of tracks from his (then brand new) album, On An Island, alongside Pink Floyd classics.

David Gilmour
David Gilmour movie theatre screening
With thanks to Dave, a BD regular, we can report back in full for all those who weren't able to see this special screening:

Tuesday evening I attended David's "On An Island" movie at the Regal Sawgrass Stadium 23 in Sunrise, Florida. Show time was 8:00 p.m. I had arrived a bit early and with nothing else to do entered the theater at about 7:30. First one there. Didn't expect much of a crowd - if it wasn't for Brain Damage, I'd never have known about this event.

The theater was fabulous - huge comfy recliners, steep stadium seating. Digital projector (for this event) and very good digital surround sound. A few minutes later, I was joined by the first of the crowd ...which grew steadily thru 8:00 p.m. when I'd estimate about 80% capacity. The first couple dozen or so to the show were offered a quite lovely "On An Island" poster (on stiff posterboard measuring 17" high by 11" wide) by, apparently, a staff member of the local classic rock radio station. Essentially the same image as the album cover in a vertical format, the poster quite remarkably contains no advertising logos or embellishments of any kind, and is very suitable for framing if one were so inclined.

While we waited, I was impressed by the total lack of any pre-show screen adverts or trailers. They really seemed to be aiming for an other than movie-theater like experience. At 8:00 the lights dimmed an the film began. We were treated to the video version of "On an Island" playing over some studio footage from the Astoria and Abbey Road. Than a bit of interviews with David on the recording of the album started, interspersed with more sounds from the album. Clips of "On An Island", "The Blue", "Take A Breath" and "This Heaven" were highlighted in what seemed to be a solid (and effective) advertisement for his latest album. Much of this bit seemed familiar, having been previously featured on his web site, but the huge screen and surround sound made the repeat material quite palatable. David comments how he's never felt comfortable writing lyrics and how he hopes Polly's are inspired by his music (what I take as an interesting acknowledgement of his post-Waters material's greatest weakness).

Finally the concert proper began; identified as the March 7 premier at the Mermaid Theatre in London filmed by the BBC. I'm guessing we got the second takes of the early songs ("Castellorizon" followed by the retakes of "On an Island" and "The Blue") as they sounded lovely. "Take A Breath" and "Smile" were followed by "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" which was just AWESOME in this version - which rocked much harder than his 2001 Meltdown Festival version (as seen on the In Concert DVD) but had the very similar quiet acoustic lyric sections. Wright seemed to be having a blast.

After "Shine On" David takes a moment to welcome the small crowd and introduce his band (Phil Manzanera on guitar, Steve DiStanislao on drums, Jon Carin on almost everything, Guy "Didn't They Do Well" Pratt on bass, the amazing Dick Parry on a pair of saxophones, and some guy named Richard Wright who Gilmour remarked "plays keyboards and sings a bit, too". Wright on cue(!), the band launches into "Wearing the Inside Out". I really like this version -- with the male band members singing the opposing lyrics instead of the girls -- and Wright seems to relish it.

Next came "High Hopes" (no bathroom break necessary) and I have to agree, the extended acoustic ending was perfectly executed. It's just a film, but I'm really enjoying it, and wondering how I'm going to get my hands on these alternate Floyd arrangements for my collection.

"High Hopes" than gives way to "Comfortably Numb" and I think to myself it is rather odd that this track is being played so early in the set. However, I'm ecstatic to see and hear Richard Wright pick up Roger's vocals and do them, in his unique way, very well. Except for Live 8, this is the best run through of this song I've heard since 1981. Don't get me wrong, Gilmour nailed this tune during the '94 Floyd tour and his guitar solos then were out of this world ... but [Guy Pratt/Jon Carin??]'s version of Roger's vocals left MUCH to be desired, and Richard is a much more natural fit in lieu of Roger. It's good to hear him doing so much singing lately. David's solo was a bit short but a fine tune nonetheless.

At the conclusion of "Numb" Dave offered the audience his goodbye's and walked off. The film crowd erupted in a standing ovation and my theater crowd just sat and waited (it's only 9:20 p.m.). But then the credits started to roll (no encore?) and still no one in my theater got up.

Eventually it became obvious the film was done, less than 90 minutes in and after no longer than an hour into the "concert". The theater stayed dark and no one got up as the credits finished. Someone asked "Think they'll play it again?" but when it became clear this wouldn't happen we finally all got up and headed out. Apart from the surprisingly short run time, it was a nice presentation, and I hope it makes it to DVD some day. Seems like the editing and mastering is already done, so this shouldn't be too difficult. However, as a Yank, I'm not sure of that process when the recording is done by the BBC.

Our thanks to Dave for the review. To our knowledge, there are NO plans for a DVD release, or for airings on any other dates/in any other countries. Should this change, we will of course let you know!

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