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Home arrow Reviews arrow Concerts arrow Pink Floyd - Chateau de Chantilly, Chantilly, France, July 30th/31st 1994
Pink Floyd - Chateau de Chantilly, Chantilly, France, July 30th/31st 1994 Print E-mail
Written by Jerome Ravon   
Friday, 31 July 2009

Pink Floyd, Chantilly 1994 ticket In time for the weekend, we have another review from the final Pink Floyd tour, fifteen years ago to the day! At the time of the Paris Chantilly concerts, Jerome wrote quite a long review for a French fanzine at the time (Pigs 3 Different Ones). Just for Brain Damage, Jerome has had it translated into English for your enjoyment:

It is in this small town north of the French capital that Pink Floyd decided to play for their return to France after five years of absence. For two days, July 30th and 31st 1994, Chantilly has evolved under the sign of Pink Floyd. Some 120,000 faithful fans gathered together to watch the group interpret some excerpts from their new comfortable and convincing album, and other pieces that have forever marked the memories and the history of music. And it was during a Dantesque show that Gilmour, Wright and Mason and their supporting musicians have proven their expertise in the field to a crowd enthralled by such a mastery of the elements.

ALCHEMY

The sun sinks slowly on the horizon, behind the edge of trees that surround the racetrack. The thing that is the subject to all comments and other speculations is this arch of 25 meters high with glittering instruments whose disposal seems studied with no random precision. Pink Floyd's atrium. The latter will soon inhabit this gray shell that conceals its secrets and tricks yet. Watery sounds invade the large space in front of the stage. That is, the Pink Floyd universe goes in motion, ready to drag us into its stunning and colourful galaxies. The rumour of excitation spreads in large waves throughout the impatient crowd. The high mass begins, thousands of faithful ready to return to worship.

In that same moment, Jon Carin surveyed the maze of the metal stage under the uncertain cheers of a public that believes he’s dreaming when David Gilmour and Rick Wright make their appearance, covered by the first waves of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". The circle of canvas starts its climb in the back of the stage, like an artificial sun. Gilmour features a shy smile, pushed by the growing enthusiasm of the crowd. He's ready to play the solo that raised him to the top twenty years ago. The first peracute note strikes the public as if it had extracted him from a dazed dream in which he was immersed for some minutes. Retroprojected images illuminate the circle now filled with a hidden life. The footage begins the slow journey of Syd Barrett's chaotic life. It is in a perfect cohesion that "Shine On" works, hallucinated soft nightmare embalmed in the cloud layers above the musicians. True to its original composition, saxophonist Dick Parry steams the conclusion of that intense moment that is juxtaposed with the first rolls of "Learning to Fly", which had stated once the advent of the new Pink Floyd. Bright lines suddenly rise to the threatening sky, as if the shell was a fantastic spaceship. Just completed those speculations, the lights go out, only a few paltry white lights illuminate the ark of metal. Gilmour speaks, as the prophet of this quasi-biblical frame. The first chords of "What Do You Want from Me" resound, Gilmour's guitar flies on perfectly chained high tones.

The journey is definitely engaged, that will lead us to unknown heights, with the pervasive feeling that time has stopped.

The music seems to embrace the sound space, turning the race into a privileged auditorium. The songs follow one another: "On the Turning Away", "Take It Back", "Coming Back To Life", "Sorrow" and "Keep Talking" are a dazzling light festival, led by melodies that create deep emotion and excitation. Indeed, the show progresses in a nonchalant perfect audio and visual alchemy, the spirit of each remaining marked by the feeling that the world clock is stopped, the music seems to hold anesthetic power on space and time, power governed by the sound's four-dimensional geometry. The public seems to have been accustomed to the incredible reality that applies to him: perfection. Guy Pratt's bass guitar calls him to order with the note that marks the introduction of the powerful "One of These Days". Gilmour is absent, his slide-guitar remains orphan while rays of light start an incredible aerial choreography. The rhythm suddenly goes faster, when the eyes of hungry inflatable warthogs appear on both sides of the stage, now animated by a perfectly mastered colour dance, an incredible race towards fire showers. The two pigs are struggling furiously on both sides of the gigantic multicoloured semicircle. Suddenly, they dive into the blank, crashing to ground in a distant noise of air that is compressed, very detailed down to earth compared to fantastic sound allegories produced by Gilmour, always serene, who completes its interpretation by a stringed slow down.

The first act is ended, a sort of journey in this so rich and colourful world, influenced by the hoarse voice of the great David, based on an architecture that evolves in a great musical intelligence. The fifteen-minutes break seemed to take forever when robotic voices can be heard through the speakers surrounding the racecourse. The faithful are called to their prayers, and it is in the greatest solemnity that will take the final hour and a half.

CEREMONY

Pink Floyd Chantilly 1994 2nd night The timeless arrangement of "Astronomy Domine" ignite the scene and minds with unusual brutality to the group. It immediately plunges into the world of the first part, but this time the journey is so much deeper, transcended by the familiar atmosphere produced by this dusty psalm that rises naturally from its ashes. Emotion is more intense and unexpected. This ultimate tribute to the Dandy’s disillusionment makes the crowd not nostalgic for an era that they haven't really known, but happy to be able to taste its colour.

Just regression committed a hemisphere fills the entire canvas surface covering the back of the stage, as to remind us that here was where it happens. The public, in a jubilant roar tries to thank the group, while an unheard heartbeat is quick to make way for the grandiose melody of "Breathe". The emotional charge in the audience results in huge hysteria for some, stoic contemplation for others. The piece draws to a close and it is in a thunder of light that the clocks of "Time" ring out which takes us back some twenty years.

The circular screen reveals a new footage that takes us into a maze, a colourful labyrinth, progressing to vertiginously mazes settled by fixed watches and clocks, sanctifying the public’s impression. Gilmour punctuates the journey across the vast expanses of Time by apocalyptic deaf waves until the solar explosion that accompanies the opening words. Broad beams of light surround the flood discreet silhouette of Rick Wright, who takes this mythical title with his characteristic soft voice. The guitar solo seems to electrify the atmosphere and changing aesthetics in a grace that seems to multiply the spatial dimensions of the ark in which myriads of projection ramps fuss. The audience thinks they are extracted from this moving kaleidoscope of a world dreamed a thousand times, when it is in an extremely logical way that the "Breathe Reprise" chorus ends in a burst of white light filtered through the layers of smoke that dominated the fantastic audience.

Suddenly, a bell resounds in this semi-circular temple that has become the scene won by irrationality. Gilmour, guide of this mass without benchmarks, intones the magnificent "High Hopes" which concludes the last record. The film which accompanies this splendid title denotes a symbolic on the verge of emphasis that touches the audience with its nostalgic aspect of past. The melody is beautiful, emotion is transcended by both audible and visual prowess. Gilmour now installed in front of his slide-guitar engulfs minds with a solo that progresses smoothly in an totally logical way. The conclusion is made on a peracute note illustrated by an apocalyptic vision of the lunar landscapes of Cambridgeshire and its derelict cathedral. This image gave way to a slow blue wave that accompanies the first piano notes of "The Great Gig in the Sky" which gives the opportunity to Sam Brown and her two accomplices to interpret one of the most beautiful pieces of Pink Floyd. The audience is astounded by this purely female proof of sincerity which drives to the height of emotion.

Now the speakers release radio tunes, the spectral sound of an album a thousand times listened to. Tim Renwick, hidden by a veil pale as eternity begins the acoustic chords of "Wish You Were Here" which gives rise to a roar of enthusiasm in the crowd. Sitting on a speaker in the middle of the stage now bathed in a twilight glow, Gilmour starts his solo introduction before approaching his microphone to sing the classic Floyd anthem of an era gone but yet so real on this July night.

The screen resumed its role as a mirror of the world by displaying slow moving images in black and white accompanying the first chords of "Us and Them". When the chorus fills the minds of its emotional impact, the gray temple takes the appearance of a aurora borealis, several small southern suns sparkling on its circumference. It is on the delicate timbre of Parry’s sax that the song ends. Then comes the dry and repetitive cracking of the compelling "Money". Unknown images inaugurate the circular macroscope before Pratt comes out of the shadow to take over the global single riff of "The Dark Side of the Moon". The public enthusiasm is total. Indeed, the approach of the group with respect to this piece that tends to falter is different. Rhythm is stronger than during the previous tour, and keeps the impact of the music that has made it a classic. The stage is bathed in a blinding clarity that hypnotizes the audience. Gilmour’s improvisations give a more human approach beside the technical aspect of the show which will soon reach its visual apogee.

Beams of scarlet white light targeting on the crowd is already covered by the deafening thunder of the helicopter’s rotors which can only mean one song: "Another Brick in the Wall Part II". Intro has changed, Gilmour covers the cathartic theme of "Another Brick Part I" much to the delight of spectators. The vast steel semicircle suddenly fills with a dazzling light when the band takes up the refrain of the best selling Pink Floyd single. Without doubt is missing in this track a second musical plan that would provide a wider scope. Gilmour, however, provides a solo worthy of his interpretations of the time. Renwick, who seems to be having a lot of fun, continues this legendary solo in front of an audience so delighted by the enthusiasm of the second guitarist.

Blue lights stop around the perimeter of the ring canvas. Some primary lightings target Gilmour who shyly announces the end of the concert. The audience roars its disapproval, then the grizzled guitarist, smiling, introduces "Comfortably Numb". The park is back in the dark and when the first languid chords resonate, a blue glow invades again the volume of the stage. Pratt, Wright and Carin sing in chorus that used to be the pinnacle of the Waters-Gilmour collaboration. When his hoarse voice takes his part, the excitement is immense. The scene seems animated by a new expression, the fond memories of an era that takes shape in this memorable night of July.

Gilmour's choice solo moves slowly while the circle of light bows above the musicians. This dazzling halo deifies the great David, evolving in overwhelming sobriety since the beginning of the concert. Suddenly, a metal corolla arises in the middle of the audience, spreading its upper wings with the slow speed of a mechanical device rusted over the years. The world seems to be reduced to this iron flower that attracts to her eyes the mesmerized eyes of the crowd. The atmosphere becomes magnetic, almost palpable as the music is high density. For a moment, the universal gravitation loses his powers, the bodies are lighter and our minds seem to have put in orbit, powerless satellites of this planet called Pink Floyd.

The piece concludes with a short-lived incandescent white light leaving quickly a strange darkness. A small light illuminates the scene, the musicians walk away from their respective instruments. The group is ready to go. After Gilmour waved and thanked the crowd, the stage plunged into a terrible murk.

The mystery fades as Renwick initiates the acoustic "Hey You" intro, the song that made the glory of "The Wall". This encore is a very nice late tribute to Waters, who had not performed this on his previous tour. Jon Carin replaces Roger on the last vocal part. The title is superbly played by the group, who tonight finds a soul and a true musical feeling. Yellow blinding lasers flash in the sky of Chantilly while Gilmour's Telecaster reproduces the familiar sounds of "Run Like Hell". The guitarist plays with the nerves of the enthused spectators by revisiting the intro that when it really starts, the stage multiplies its pyrotechnics and visuals effects for this is the last song of the concert. Gilmour and Pratt now shout threatening words to a crowd forgetful of their sense. The show reaches its climax, all the scenic resources are used to create a warm and happy atmosphere to the end of the concert. The delicate mobility of light sources is disturbing, their flexible development punctuates the song whose end is imminent. Geysers of fire soar to the heavens, the pace is accelerating to a hallucinated sprint towards a climax of fire and light which inflames the gigantic shell.

Gilmour focuses on the final chords until the circular screen explodes over its entire circumference. The detonation is joined by the public's jubilation howling that does not understand that this may have an end. However, the musicians have come together in the middle of the stage to greet the crowd.

The farewell lasts until their silhouettes disappear into the bowels of the inert metal shell while the lights go out gradually and permanently. The world finds back its familiar and real aspect with a hard to accept brutality.

The scene is far behind us now. Heavy legs and heads filled with furtive and unreal imagery.

The feeling begins to invade us that it lasted only the time of a dream.

 
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