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Pink Floyd - 1994 Earls Court show reviews Print E-mail

OCTOBER 12th

Reader Review by Ciaran McQuillan

The day was perfect. The atmosphere right. The river flowing. The birds in full song and a demented lawnmower reverberating around the Arena. The lights go down (unknown to us, so does a stand) and Shine On beautifully drifts through the Floyd's sound system to cheers of near hysteria, and suddenly the lights are back on again. Rick Wright and Jon Carin continue to play, albeit quietly, and a posse of St. Johns Ambulance brigade charge from all directions (my mate actually thought they were Earls Court security after a mugger).

Meanwhile back on stage Rick scratches his head and holds his hands aloft in submission and both Floyd keyboard players vacate the stage. It isn't long before the real reason is unveiled. Sadly the show was cancelled, but luckily no one was seriously hurt. I went home glum, but we live to fight another day.

Reader Review by Chris Job

It was only after a couple of minutes that we became aware of a problem at the back of the arena. You all know what happened, but there was no chaos or hysteria that we noticed. It bore little resemblance to the hysterical tabloid headlines of the following morning. Initially someone came on stage to say that the concert would proceed a.s.a.p., but it was clearly a PR exercise. A couple of minutes later Harvey Goldsmith appeared on stage to explain the situation and that the concert would be re-scheduled, all ticket stubs being valid or a full refund available. Inevitably lots of punters were angry and frustrated, but I thought Harvey handled the situation well, facing much abuse but not ducking it. There was nothing he could do to prevent the anger of people who could not come back for the re-scheduled date, but he tried to placate them as best he could. Obviously the most important consideration was that luckily no one was killed or seriously injured, but it was not an auspicious beginning to the home leg of the tour.

OCTOBER 13th

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Take It Back, Coming Back To Life, Sorrow, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Astronomy Domine, Breathe, Time, Breathe (Reprise), High Hopes, Great Gig, Wish You Were Here, Us & Them, Money, Another Brick Pt.2, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Chris Job

Inevitably, the previous night's events were uppermost in people's thoughts. As the arena filled, comments such as "Will the boys bring the house down tonight?" were heard, accompanied by somewhat nervous titters. Just before 8pm Harvey appeared on stage to apologize again for the previous night and to assure the crowd that all was safe. He then said that David wished to speak, and the boy appeared to wish everyone well and also to apologize again.

Without further ado, the strains of Shine On were heard, and this time the show proceeded without undue problems. Unfortunately I felt that it was certainly the worst show that I have seen the Floyd play. They clearly were very tense and this was immediately shown by David's initial fumbling of his first notes in Shine On. I was particularly concerned by the appearance of my main man Rick, who looked distinctly uncomfortable throughout the evening and looked quite tired.

As evidenced by Chantilly, the new Sorrow and One of These Days are far livelier than the previous tour, but generally I felt that they were going through the motions, especially in the second set. The sound system was also disappointing with the guitars and bass so high in the mix to cause the backing vocalists and keyboards to remain nearly inaudible. The lighting and special effects were, of course, superb indoors and the mirror ball was beyond description, but I came away very disappointed and with the hope that this night was a "loosener".

OCTOBER 14th

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, High Hopes, Take It Back, Great Day For Freedom, Sorrow, Keep Talking, Another Brick Pt. 2, One of These Days, [Intermission], Dark Side in its entirety, [Encore] Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Matthew Isaacs

I was one of the many who spent the majority of Thursday the 13th ringing the Earls Court box office to confirm that Friday’s concert was going to happen. Even with all the front page headlines and National TV coverage of the stand collapse on Wednesday, there was not a single doubt in anyone’s mind when queueing outside Earls Court. We all knew we were in for one hell of a show.

At around 7:45pm, the background music faded and was replaced by the crunching, sizzling effects heard at the beginning of Cluster One. Ten minutes later the lights went out. Everyone cheered wildly, but remained seated, perhaps due to Wednesday’s incident. The members of Pink Floyd appeared, as well as the giant circular video screen as Shine On began to rapturous applause. The concert went ahead and it was a stormer!

After Eclipse ended the Dark Side set, Pink Floyd took their bows to a five minute standing ovation, as Dave Gilmour gave a rather ironic acknowledgment: “Thanks to our dear old friend Roger for writing those lyrics for us”. (Could a reunion occur next year methinks?) And at the end of the encore the band bid their final farewell to a bewildered and ecstatic following, promising to see us again “One of these days”!

OCTOBER 15th

Astronomy Domine, Learning To Fly, What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Take It Back, Coming Back To Life, Sorrow, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Shine On Pts. 1-5, Breathe, Time, Breathe (Reprise), High Hopes, Great Gig, Wish You Were Here, Us & Them, Money, Another Brick Pt.2, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Chris Job

A terrific opener sets the scene as things start to look up. Astronomy Domine is a wonderful rendition, but of course is highly perfunctory compared to the late 60's version, symptomatic of this embodiment of the band. What really comes home to all tonight is how awful Keep Talking is. They do not appear to have worked out what to do with this track in the live environment. Most of the vocals are totally inaudible and the end instrumental section seems never-ending, not to say downright tedious (it really never got much better either!).

Guy Pratt is now irritating me a lot. He seems to think this is "The Guy Pratt Show", gesturing and grinning at the stalls, running around, etc. He and Wallis pose furiously, so totally at odds with the professional, no-nonsense approach of David, Nick and Rick.

OCTOBER 16th

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, High Hopes, Take It Back, Coming Back To Life, Sorrow, Keep Talking, Another Brick Pt.2, One of These Days, [Intermission], Dark Side in its entirety, [Encore] Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Bruno MacDonald

As a somnabulant veteran of five MLOR shows, it was a pleasure to stay awake throughout this performance. How the band remain this side of consciousness while plodding through Dark Side yet again remains a mystery. This extraordinary conservatism is all the more disappointing given that The Division Bell has, after several months of frosty courtship, proved itself the best Floyd effort since The Final Cut. In particular, High Hopes - on record and in the flesh - is a new classic.

Other highlights were laid-back readings of Us and Them and Wish You Were Here, and a gutsy Great Gig (Durga’s enthusiasm may be partly attributed to her natural talent, and partly to the fact that it was her birthday).

On the down side, the visuals - bar the highly amusing pigs and Brain Damage film - were no match for Welcome to the Machine or any other whizzbangery on the previous tour. More importantly, Shine On and several other key passages sounded as if the band had been playing them for a million years. As indeed they have.

Finally, the ambiguous depictions of Syd betray the band’s former and admirable policy of discouraging Barrett disciples. If they feel the need to surround themselves with ghosts, it shouldn’t be too tricky to put some satirical anti-Rog stuff together.

OCTOBER 17th

Astronomy Domine, Learning to Fly, What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Poles Apart, Take It Back, Sorrow, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Shine On Pts. 1-5, Breathe, Time, Breathe (Reprise), High Hopes, Great Gig, Wish You Were Here, Us & Them, Money, Another Brick Pt.2, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell. (Nick Mason wore his famous cowboy hat for the show!)

Reader Review by Ciaran McQuillan

Like deja'vu we return a few days later, and after a quick inspection of my seat (which is fixed to concrete anyway), everything appears hunky dory. Once again the sounds of the meadow return but tonight we are joined by three ballerinas, but even from where I'm sitting they appear to have bigger lunch-boxes than Linford Christie. There are not many empty spaces around the Arena - not bad considering that a lot of people came from afar. The faces around me are all familiar, and we are joined by the rich aroma of ganja though Earls Court is a no smoking arena.

At this Monday night re-scheduled show, my seat was hardly the best in the house as I was high up in the rafters and almost level with the Floyd's formidable stage. So I concentrated on the band and not the stunning visuals, and to be honest they certainly do enjoy themselves! Although the sound on Astronomy was muffled, the quality greatly improved as the night wore on. The mirror ball was of course impressive, but nearly as much as was Gilmour's solo for Comfortably Numb.

Reader Review by Alan Bainton

The Arena was full to capacity, even the replaced stands. The ticket holders for those seats had free T-Shirts and goodies given to them. In our seats (20 rows from front), most of the show happened overhead allowing us to concentrate on the musicians and their playing. Rick and Nick were surely enjoying themselves, far more than on the last tour. It was good to hear Poles Apart being played (as it is one of my favorites) and again fitted in well with the older material. This was our fourth show in five days but was still as enjoyable and satisfying to watch as the first.

OCTOBER 19th

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, High Hopes, Lost For Words, Great Day For Freedom, Keep Talking, Coming Back to Life, Sorrow, Another Brick Pt.2, One of These Days, [Intermission], Dark Side in its entirety, [Encore] Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell.

Reader Comments by Chris Job

With MTV apparently filming, the boys seem inspired and go on to play a superb show. An unique version of Lost For Words suggests that this would benefit from further inclusion. I am at this point becoming a devotee of Coming Back To Life. It's a very moving song, and features some of David's best, most heartfelt singing.

OCTOBER 20th

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, High Hopes, Take It Back, Coming Back To Life, Sorrow, Keep Talking, Another Brick Pt.2, One of These Days, [Intermission], Dark Side in its entirety, [Encore] Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Chris Job

Before the show, a roadie appears on stage to announce that the show is going live to 60 million people via satellite. Maybe that's why the searchlights outside were actually moving for the first time.

This night's show provides the best first set so far and DSOTM is immensely moving. Clearly the satellite transmission has the boys going, although David is even briefer than usual in his comments to the audience. He's obviously a shy lad. The three were very jolly when taking their applause at the end. Dave and Rick embraced, then Rick and Nick. Can there be that much friction between them? I have my doubts.

OCTOBER 21st

Astronomy Domine, Learning To Fly, What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Poles Apart, Take It Back, Sorrow, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Shine On Pts. 1-5, Breathe, Time, Breathe (Reprise), High Hopes, Great Gig, Wish You Were Here, Us and Them, Money, Another Brick Pt.2, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Chris Job

I really enjoyed this show, probably due a lot to my seat in the front row directly in front of Dave. My proximity to the stage allowed me a fascinating view of the onstage activities. It was obvious how much enjoyment was being had by all the band members, with a great deal of joking and banter throughout the show. The particularly interesting realization was of how precisely Dave controls events - all the music cues, length of songs, etc. He was dolling out lots of precise instructions through hand signals, not obvious to people further back from the stage.

The downside of my close position was realizing how very annoying Gary Wallis is. He was constantly posing when not contributing musically (which was often), wandered out of his percussion cage and either posed with other band members or merely stood there and grinned at the crowd. Together with how he was wandering around before the show wanting to be recognized, and with how he always ensured that he was the last one off stage at the end of each show, I was less than impressed by him.

OCTOBER 22nd

Astronomy Domine, Learning To Fly, What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Take It Back, Great Day For Freedom, Sorrow, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Shine On Pts. 1-5, Breathe, Time, Breathe (Reprise), High Hopes, Great Gig, Wish You Were Here, Us & Them, Money, Another Brick Pt.2, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell.

OCTOBER 23rd

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, High Hopes, Take It Back, Coming Back To Life, Sorrow, Keep Talking, Another Brick Pt. 2, One of These Days, [Intermission], Dark Side in its entirety, [Encore] Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Griff Davies

After discovering that the Floyd were doing Dark Side on roughly alternate nights at Earls Court, the anticipation of my one visit centered on the increasingly desperate realization that I HAD to see them do it! And so, armed with the knowledge that things were OK so long as the ‘plane’ was lurking in wait at the back of the arena, I hurried into the hall and - well, thank goodness I was in luck!

The first half of the show passed by in an agreeable blur; the playing was good; Gilmour’s guitar in best heart-trembling form, though the keyboards were rather buried in the mix. The newer songs were pretty strong, but the omission of Wearing the Inside Out was unforgivable - is this Gilmour’s domination or Wright’s stage fright? The three oldies (songs I mean, not band members) were all present and correct, but, here we go again, haven’t we seen it all before?! Still, the show as a whole was looking phenomenally good, and One of These Days warmed us up... literally.

The heartbeat began almost imperceptibly during the interval, slowly building up its layers of voice and image, bringing the audience into the show and establishing the themes of the piece. And of course Speak To Me turns Breathe into a triumphant conclusion of the opening sequence, as well as the beginning of the piece proper. Likewise, On the Run in context is light years away from the meaningless, detached version on the last tour. The idea of life as a mad dash destined to end in tragic failure was made explicit by the plane crash, from the aftermath of which emerged Time and its stunning new computer animation. (Animation has always been the best way the band can visualize its songs, being sufficiently abstract not to seem too literal, illustrative or pretentious.)

The Time to Us And Them sequence was played with commitment. Wright looked reassuringly confident in his all-too-brief vocal in Time and piano in Great Gig and Us and Them, while Money featured the band donning Groucho Marx disguises during the spacey instrumental section (Rick initially left out of the fun - typical!)

Us and Them benefited hugely from Dick Parry’s intimate knowledge of the song and correspondingly sympathetic soloing. Any Colour You Like was disappointingly perfunctory considering the treatment it used to get in ’73-’75. Still, the highlight was to come as a resurrected Brain Damage overwhelmed the audience. It was a superb tune to see live - the verses blended perfectly with the “all politicians are scum” visuals. Eclipse topped this with its unstoppable lyrical crescendo and increasingly agitated images of the mind exploding under the pressure of life. All too soon we were on our feet cheering a work that certainly didn’t deserve to be buried as a live experience for 19 years.

The encores were predictable as the Gilmour show reached full throttle. The final effects were naturally breath-taking and by the end everyone was exhausted (except maybe some of the band!).

I think that one reason Dark Side is so successful as a part of the current shows is that it limits Gilmour to three solos per hour, which is a perfectly healthy rate, assuming he doesn’t want to become the Hank Marvin of contemporary rock. (Also, Mason assumes sole drum duties, though the obnoxious Gary Wallis finds plenty of unnecessary things to do.)

Therefore, the band coheres in a way which, at times, approaches the kind of unit they once were. At other times in the gig, Gilmour’s degree of prominence was simply embarrassing.

But, that said, the show is still unlike anything else available at present and the band’s unprecedented popularity is no mystery at all. How many more shows we are ever likely to see is up to Messrs. Wright, Mason and more importantly - Gilmour.

OCTOBER 26th

Astronomy Domine, Learning To Fly, What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Take It Back, Great Day For Freedom, Sorrow, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Shine On Pts. 1-5, Breathe, Time, Breathe (Reprise), High Hopes, Great Gig, Wish You Were Here, Us & Them, Money, Another Brick Pt.2, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell.

OCTOBER 27th

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Take It Back, Great Day For Freedom, Sorrow, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Astronomy Domine, Breathe, Time, Breathe (Reprise), High Hopes, Great Gig, Wish You Were Here, Us & Them, Money, Another Brick Pt.2, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Chris Job

I spot Steve O'Rourke about 7pm on the concourse and follow him to the main entrance where he stands looking at the turnstiles. I ask him to sign my ticket, but my request for a backstage pass is smilingly refused. He seems surprised that anyone should go to all 14 nights. He comes across as a nice bloke.

I am once again in the front row, this time in front of Tim Renwick, but even this vantage point does not amend for the tedium of the "best of" second half. Keep Talking received easily its best rendition tonight, with a punchy solo from David, but the ending is still totally misjudged. Michael Kamen appeared playing clarinet (I think) on Wish You Were Here and keyboards on Comfortably Numb at the start.

OCTOBER 28th

Shine On Pts. 1-5, Learning To Fly, High Hopes, Take It Back, Poles Apart, Sorrow, Keep Talking, Another Brick Pt. 2, One of These Days, [Intermission], Dark Side in its entirety, [Encore] Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by Chris Job

Beetling to my seat in the fourh row, I was relieved to see the spitfire high up in the Arena. I really could not take another "best of" set! As expected Douglas Adams joined the boys onstage towards the end of Any Colour You Like and stayed until the end of Eclipse. He plucked occasionally at his guitar, but I couldn't hear any noise coming from it! Dave intro'ed him at the end of the set, saying his appearance was "a birthday present from me". Dave again thanked "our pal Roger Waters, whose lyrics it is my privilege to sing".

OCTOBER 29th

Shine On Pts. 1-5+7, Learning To Fly, High Hopes, Take It Back, Coming Back To Life, Sorrow, Keep Talking, Another Brick Pt.2, One of These Days, [Intermission], Dark Side in its entirety, [Encore] Comfortably Numb, Wish You Were Here, Run Like Hell.

Reader Review by David Chalk

Having been converted to Pink Floyd a year after they last toured the world, it became a natural ambition to see the phenomenon known as the 'live' show. The only ways for me to experience the event in the past have been through the DSOT video, through boots of varying quality, or by catching the Australian Pink Floyd Show. However the above ways were no match for the real article, both in sound and spectacle. Therefore, as soon as the dates for the 1994 tour were released, tickets became a priority.

I had been holding onto my money until after the Paris show just in case my expectations were not met. Twenty four hours after returning, I was in my local record store booking my place on the coach to London. Like Jeff Jensen before me, I wanted to experience the Floyd in contrasting environments. The Paris show was before a crowd of 70,000 in the middle of a race course on a hot, sultry French evening, while Earls Court was before a crowd of 'only' 15,000 inside a hall on a typical English evening (cold and wet). Both shows failed to disappoint, but the London show will be the one that sticks in my mind for a long time to come. The main thing that I was hoping for was a change from the usual setlist. I was not disappointed.

Because we had ordered our seats through an agent, we had no idea where they would be until we got them on the coach. Therefore, we were quite pleased when we realized they were front row off to the right! The view backstage was unparalleled, although the thought at the front of our minds was what was attached to the wire that ran opposite the hall. This question was to be answered at the end of On the Run, when my life flashed before me, as a plane exploded 10 feet to my right. Quite easily the most memorable moment of the evening. After a complete rendition of Dark Side followed by a ten minute lapse, the radio intro of Wish You Were Here began and the crowd rose to their feet. The highlight of the song was not that the crowd sang along, but rather that the girls - Claudia, Sam and Durga - appeared on stage dressed as mop ladies complete with dodgy lipstick, broom and a cigarette hanging out of the corner of their mouths. This was obviously a complete surprise to those playing on stage, as they all just looked at each other and burst into laughter, Gilmour only just recovering to sing the chorus.

Comfortably Numb followed, including mirror ball and solo that seemed to go on forever. Gilmour and Pratt must have felt the same way because after the first couple of minutes they just sat down in the middle of the stage and started to chat. That Gilmour could just sit there without a care in the world, and still play an unforgettable piece of music is beyond us mere mortals. (Goes as to just how many times he's played it! - ed) As usual Run Like Hell concluded the evening with its infamous theatricals, including Guy Pratt's Pete Townshend impression. At the end of the song, he proceeded to demolish his guitar against the stage! If only I was a few rows closer to the center, I would have come home with the perfect souvenir, from what would have to be described as the perfect show.

 
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