David Gilmour - In Concert

David Gilmour In ConcertOur thanks to Charles at Floydstuff.com for letting us have what was the exclusive first review of David Gilmour's new DVD. You can get the DVD from them at their site (click here) or by using the BRAIN DAMAGE PINK FLOYD STORE on this site.


Who could have thought that we would ever see something like this, a David Gilmour solo DVD. Thanks to Robert Wyatt who invited David to take part in his Meltdown 2001 programme, David Gilmour took the challenge to go back to his roots and create something as intimate as it can get. The beautiful setting of the Royal Festival Hall, gave birth to a new unexpected chapter in Floyd history.

Supported by a fine selection of musicians including Michael Kamen (piano and cor anglais), Chucho Merchan (double bass), Caroline Dale (cello), Dick Parry (saxophone), Neill MacColl (acoustic guitar) and Nic France (percussion), plus a nine piece choir led by Sam Brown, a casual dressed David Gilmour played 16 tracks on that memorable night in June 2001.

No one knew what to expect. No one bothered about the lack of laser beams, pre-recorded sounds, circular screens and stuff like that. What the little over 2000 on the South Bank witnessed that night was pure magic. Those who missed it, will be able to understand a bit of what happened by playing the DVD. Shot from several close-up and far-away angles, the DVD is a beautiful registration of the night.

It captures all the elements that made the show into such a memorable one. It is an honest version of what happened and has no disturbing overdubs or whatsoever. You can actually hear David missing notes now and then. It's a celebration of a man playing what he likes, with people he likes and for an audience that goes mad at times, but has the power to stay calm when it needs to. No overdone sing-alongs. I told you, the days of the bombastic Floyds were definitely over by June 2001.

The Meltdown gig is the core of the DVD and is represented in full. Starting with Shine On You Crazy Diamond, David give new birth to songs almost forgotten. Syd Barrett's Terrapin. The beautiful Fat Old Sun. Coming Back To Life and High Hopes get a better treatment than in 1994 when they had to be played. The Bizet piece Je Crois Entendre Encore. A calm but sensitive new song called Smile. Not a single song is played from Dark Side or Momentary Lapse. Wish You Were Here is the first real crowd-pleaser but was never played which so much dignity. Comfortably Numb was an obvious choice, but got it's new face with Robert Wyatt on vocals. The regular set closes down with a Richard Thompson piece, Dimming Of The Day, and the second part of Shine On.

Two reprises, A Great Day For Freedom and the lullaby Hushabye Mountain, complete the set list.

Half a year later, Gilmour returned for three sold out nights at the same venue. Dominoes, which replaced Terrapin on these nights, is the first of the bonus tracks on the DVD, followed by Breakthrough, which welcomed Rick Wright on stage, to play his Kurzweil and sing to it. Wright stays on stage for the second version of Comfortably Numb, this time with Bob Geldof. One of the very few comments on the DVD can be the fact that we sadly miss Kate Bush's contribution on the third night in January 2002. Being on the same label, EMI, legal stuff cannot be the reason. Probably Kate Bush didn't feel good about her performance.

The 16-track concert, which lasts well over two hours, can be listened to in both Stereo and Dolby 5.1 Sound. But that's not all. Six songs have been filmed focusing on David's rather well fed fingers. Guitar parts of Comfortably Numb, High Hopes, Breakthrough, Coming Back To Life, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and A Great Day For Freedom are presented this way.

Next up is a short but rather funny home video filmed by David Gilmour's wife Polly Simpson in their countryside home, where David Gilmour rambles along the vocal parts with the choir, playing acoustic guitar himself. More interesting are three full length bonus tracks: the 1992 version of I Put A Spell On You with Jools Holland and Mica Paris, the version of Don't performed only seven days after the Meltdown show at the Hammersmith Apollo for the Leiber & Stoller tribute, and the stunning Sonnet 18, with music by Michael Kamen to the lyrics of Shakespeare, beautifully filmed on David's houseboat the Astoria, with nice scenes of the boat itself. An accapella reprise of High Hopes, performed during the three night run in January 2002, is included as well in the bonus section, as are lyrics and credits.

David Gilmour In Concert is leaves nothing to be desired, apart from the cover photo which looks a bit naff. The set up of the DVD is in tune with the content and is presented clearly but soberly. A superb visual birth certificate for a new-born David Gilmour. It can only be hoped that we get to see more like this.