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Capitol Records press release Print E-mail

Capitol Records Press Release - October 2002

David Gilmour In Concert DVDOn November 5th, David Gilmour in Concert, the DVD and VHS, will be released on Capitol Records. Filmed live at his critically acclaimed Meltdown Festival concert at London's Royal Festival Hall in June 2001, with additional footage from David Gilmour's three concerts at the same venue in January 2002. It also includes guest appearances from Rick Wright, Robert Wyatt and Sir Bob Geldof. The 130 minute DVD/VHS captures the magical performance given by David Gilmour and illustrates why these concerts won universal rave reviews.

David Gilmour in Concert comprises 16 songs performed by Gilmour, his semi-acoustic band rich in talent and the exquisite gospel choir led by Sam Brown. The set is tantalising in its sheer diversity - from Pink Floyd classics such as "Wish You Were Here," "Comfortably Numb" and "High Hopes," to Syd Barrett's "Terrapin" and "Dominoes," as well as a performance of "Je Crois Entendre Encore" from Bizet's opera The Pearl Fishers which one critic described as an "unlikely triumph..." and a new song "Smile."

Where did the idea for such a musical departure come from? Gilmour explains: "Robert Wyatt was the Meltdown Festival's curator for 2001. He rang and invited me to play and my immediate answer was "yes". While Robert was still on the phone, an idea came to me, God knows where from. I thought: just a double-bass, a cello and a small gospel choir. Then I put down the phone and started to panic..."

That initial panic led to Gilmour being credited in the Daily Telegraph, with inventing a "whole new genre ... a sound that is warm, richly textured and genuinely different... ensemble music of the highest order." The Meltdown performance went so well, David Gilmour decided to come back to the Royal Festival Hall a few months later to perform the show three more times. As he explains, "It seemed rather daft putting that amount of effort into it for only one night. So I thought maybe I'd do it again for fun. Just for me really."

And now, with the release of David Gilmour in Concert on November 5th, the concert can be shared and enjoyed by many more.

The DVD will also feature more than thirty minutes of Special Features. These include home video footage of David Gilmour rehearsing at home with the choir, six guitar solos in "close-up" so that guitar enthusiasts can watch him play his solos in detail and there are three bonus songs recorded at other times.

The entire concert performance is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround and 24-bit stereo LPCM. Total running time is approximately 130 minutes.


Last June, David Gilmour chose the prestigious if low-key Meltdown Festival in London to show a new side to his music. It turned out to be a very special night at the Royal Festival Hall - now captured on 'David Gilmour in Concert' on DVD and VHS tape. The utterly distinctive and distinguished voice and guitar of Pink Floyd gave a rare, lovingly staged performance at the Royal Festival Hall. It was so uplifting to both artist and audience that by early 2002, Gilmour was back at the venue for three more sold-out shows, joined on some songs by Rick Wright, his colleague from the Floyd. Three bonus tracks from that series have also been included on the DVD.

Meltdown changes its curator annually. This year's was David Bowie. Last year's was Robert Wyatt (once a Sixties 'progressive' himself, in the Soft Machine). When Wyatt rang Gilmour with an invitation to play at the 3000-seat theatre, the answer was an immediate "yes". The high-decibel son et lumiere that typifies a Floyd show was no longer of interest to Gilmour. But how to embrace an intimate venue? "While Robert was still on the phone, an idea came to me, God knows from where. I thought: just a double-bass, a cello and a small gospel choir." Not a line-up he was used to. "Then I put down the phone and started to panic..." That initial panic led to Gilmour being credited in the Daily Telegraph, with inventing a "whole new genre." David Cheal described it in that paper as a "a sound that is warm, richly textured and genuinely different...ensemble music of the highest order."

"More challenging and intriguing than anything Pink Floyd has done in decades," wrote Alexis Petridis in the Guardian. Obviously something with which Gilmour does not concur. "Not better, just different," he says.

We should pause for a brief reminder here about how deep and wide Gilmour's musical reach has extended beyond Pink Floyd. He was, for instance, the man who nurtured the talent of an unknown teenager called Kate Bush, executive producing her enormously successful 1978 debut album 'The Kick Inside'. The same year, he released his first, eponymous titled album for Harvest following it in 1984 with 'About Face'. Gilmour was the only member of Pink Floyd to play at Live Aid in 1985 and has played on albums by Bryan Ferry, Pete Townshend, Grace Jones and Paul McCartney, amongst others. More recently, when McCartney dug back into his rock 'n' roll roots for 1999's 'Run Devil Run' album, Gilmour was on hand with his Fender Esquire to play and sing on the album and at the historic accompanying gig at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Born in Cambridge, Gilmour joined Pink Floyd in 1968 after serving with the local band Jokers Wild. He went on to forge one of the most individual, expressive guitar styles in the lexicon of rock.

But back to the Meltdown. With just three months to rehearse - eventually contracted into three weeks' intensive work with the musicians and singers - Gilmour had to figure out a set that fitted with the Festival's laid-back vibe while at the same time satisfying both himself and the hardcore Floyd fans. Stripping down some of his mega-bands anthems and presenting them in a mostly acoustic setting was one way to get back to the essence of the songs and render them more poignant. Rather more surprising for the audience was the inclusion of some pretty quirky favourites: folk, opera and even a lullaby from 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'.

It was a lovely evening. In scruffy T-shirt and jeans, Gilmour strode on stage alone, picked up his acoustic guitar, and teased the audience with a long run-in to a classic interpretation of the Floyd's 'Shine On, You Crazy Diamond' - substituting, with intriguing results, an echo-delay for the usual massed synthesisers. From there on, it just got better. Over the set, he was gradually joined by his backing musicians - Dick Parry on sax (who played on the original 'Shine On'); Neill MacColl on guitar; Chucho Merchan on double bass; Michael Kamen on piano and cor anglais, Sam Brown leading a nine-voice gospel choir; and - an inspired decision - Caroline Dale on cello. Listen to her picking up Gilmour's solo on the electric reprise of 'Shine On' - performed towards the end of the show - and you'll abandon any notions of a "class divide" between rock and classical music. Gilmour certainly did. "Here's a bit of culture," he announced, tongue in cheek, before singing an aria from Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers.'

"That's why the Meltdown is so brilliant," he says. "It's a proper, British, slightly esoteric, popular music festival." The type of festival where the wheelchair-bound Wyatt can suddenly appear in the stalls, to sing the "doctor" part on 'Comfortably Numb' (known best to Floyd-freaks for Gilmour's stunning guitar parts). A festival where, Gilmour now confesses, he was quaking with nerves before that lonely walk to the stage.

This Meltdown concert can now be seen and heard by all those who couldn't get tickets. Bonuses on the DVD include all the guitar solos in close up ('Spare Digits"). "For all the guitar anoraks out there who want to follow my fat little fingers at work," says Gilmour.

There's a 'Home Movie' of Gilmour and the choir during their first rehearsal at his home studio. "Polly was filming the kids mucking about in the garden when she heard the massed voices and came up and shot a bit so it's more intimate than most."

There are also three extra, miscellaneous songs: Screaming Jay Hawkins's 'I Put A Spell On You' which Gilmour did with Mica Paris and Jools Holland some years ago, 'Don't' which was filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo last year at a concert in honour of Lieber and Stoller, and Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 ('Shall I compare thee to a summer's day ...), set to music by Michael Kamen, which Gilmour sang at the Old Vic earlier this year in aid of RADA.

Gilmour isn't expecting sales to match 'Dark Side of the Moon'. Pink Floyd's fans will buy anything by the band, and Gilmour admits that they are "pretty adoring". But he also knows that, since the band has generally shunned personal publicity, "fans have to be quite well versed in the Floyd to know my name. Quite discerning." Then a smile creeps over his face. "Adoring but discerning," he says. "That'll do."



    "'Shine On' is my favourite song from the 'Wish You Were Here' album. I thought I would try it solo with acoustic guitar. The record has the sound of fingers on wine glasses with keyboards on a long, drawn out opening, so I had to devise a new way of doing it. It struck me that there is a device I've used with a long repeating delay on my guitar with which I can give myself what sounds like a synthesised orchestral background. I found that it lent itself to it very well."


    "This is a song of mine from 'Atom Heart Mother' which we played live with Pink Floyd a few times in the early seventies. Several friends asked me to play this one. I was happy to oblige.'"


    "This seemed an ideal one to do in this sort of set-up. The choir replaced the keyboards. I wrote it for Polly. Not much more I can say."


    "I've done one of Syd Barrett tracks on each of the concerts. They're not easy to do because most of them are so personal. There are not too many that I feel I can do justice to, but this is one. Our version brought a slightly jazzy feel to it"


    "Another of my favourite Syd songs."


    "Probably my favourite song from the recent Pink Floyd era. I wrote it on a piano, it has a classical guitar and an orchestra on it, so the line-up we had was perfect."


    "I sang this song in French, from Bizet's opera, 'The Pearl Fishers'. I saw a film called 'The Man Who Cried.' I bought the soundtrack album and really liked this song. I suggested to Polly that I might give it a try and she, unhelpfully, went red at the prospect. I scared myself silly with this one."


    "This is a new song that Polly and I have written. She wrote words to a piece of my music that she loved."


    "Rick took little persuading to come and play. But I said 'You can't just wander into my concert and play two or three songs plonking away on your keyboard, we've got to put a spotlight on you.' I chose this song from his last album [1996's 'Broken China'] because when I first heard it I wished he'd written it in time for The Division Bell."


    "'Wish You Were Here' was made for this sort of line up and I still love it."


    "I did a demo of this that never had more than two instruments playing at any one time. Double bass and piano then double bass and hi-strung acoustic, that was it, two instruments for one of our great anthemic Pink Floyd tracks."


    "Neill MacColl suggested this song by Richard Thompson to me when we played together at a benefit concert for his sister-in-law, Ruth Picardie. I love this song; the idea of his life being an old house that's falling down. Beautiful."


    "I thought I'd bookend the concert with this, as we did originally on the album. You can't completely let go of the classic designs of show structure! We closed with the electric version."


    "From the last Pink Floyd record, a song about how all that great promise of freedom and democracy when the Iron Curtain came down has been a bit of a disappointment for many."


    "A song from 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' which my kids play at home all the time. Not much of that album that appeals to me, but it certainly appeals to them and after the first 20-30 times, this one song started shining through. Some people thought I was joking when I said I was going to do it. I wasn't sure myself if I could go through with it and thought that I might just chicken out after 'A Great Day For Freedom.' I could have just walked off then, but I forced myself back to the mike and I'm glad I did because in the end you should just do what you like and please yourself".
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