Thanks to Joseph Christ

Thanks to Joseph Christ

All I can say is wow. There is a reason that you put David Gilmour in the same class as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana. All masters at their craft and David is definitely a master at his.

David has surrounded himself with some world class musicians – boy do they deliver the goods. Absolutely everything about this show was world class; the sound was impeccable and loud (yeah!), the lights were very psychedelic and the set list was all that I could hope for.

stairsOpening up with “Breathe/Time” was a nice change and it really captured everyone’s attention right away, you just knew you were in for a treat. The whole of “On a Island” comes off incredibly well live. I ran into a friend at the show who told me at break that if the show ended now he’d be happy. The songs had a really fresh sound to them and David really takes some very nice guitar solos in the first set. The song “On A Island” has all the classic qualities of we’ve grown to love about Pink Floyd’s music, with David’s second solo on the song just sounding epic. The whole first set was great!

Ahhh… but the second set. I literally couldn’t move after the songs were over, in fact at one point my wife asked me if everything was all right. The power and class that this band exudes is off the scale.

I’ve seen Floyd four times in the past and if you’re lucky enough to see one of these shows it’s pretty damn close. I absolutely love the new arrangement for “Shine On…”, and you knew while you were listening to it that at this point things have changed. The sound was a little louder and the lights were a little brighter (or maybe it was just me…), but for whatever the case the journey was one.

“Wots… ah the Deal” was great to hear live and then segueing into “Dominoes” was a real treat with Phil Manzanara taking a really nice backwards guitar solo. “Coming Back to Life” and “High Hopes” both have these great lap steel solo’s in them and David’s voice was in fine form. It makes you really realize that these are truly great songs, totally worthy of Pink Floyd.

But then the moment that just brought the house down; the first ping of “Echoes”. All 20 something minutes of it, in every psychedelic and epic detail! Mesmerizing and unforgettable are just two words that come to mind and even those words can’t prepare you for what you’re about to see and hear. The light show at this point just messes with your mind; very, very cool indeed!

So how do you top that (not that you really can, but…)? “WYWH” and “Comfortably Numb” that’s how; with the guitar parts in Comfortably Numb just going beyond anything you’ve heard before.

An amazing show by a master musician and a great band, none of us wanted it to end.

These shows are priceless and worth every penny; this is a concert not to be missed! Honestly, I literally couldn’t move after the songs were over… it was that good!

Thanks to Jeff Fish

More than anything he’s done since parting ways with Roger Waters more than two decades ago, David Gilmour’s spectacular Sunday night show at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre captured the magic and majesty that was Pink Floyd.

His 2.5 hour set, which almost evenly mixed new and old material, was more like the best years of Pink Floyd than the last two tours he, Nick Mason and Richard Wright did under the quartet’s name.

That was largely because this time out, on a four-city U.S. tour of intimate theaters, GIlmour felt free to challenge his audience with new music and some adventurous twists on the old tunes that made Floyd one of the top-selling bands of all time.

It also helped that the sound was perfect and the lights artistic and sublime. Gilmour and Waters were always at the forefront of multimedia performance, pulling the audience into the show with lasers, roller coaster-like videos and, yes, famously flying pigs.

In one of rock’s ugliest and most bitter divorces, Gilmour apparently got the lasers, and Waters, the videos and Gerald Scarfe animations. Gilmour got keyboardist Wright, who sang Waters’ parts on “Comfortably Numb,” and Waters got drummer Mason, who is touring Europe with him now, and should be at Shoreline Amphitheatre in October.

(No telling who got the pig.)

With stellar guitar work, a tight seven-piece band that included former Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, and his most focused new songs in years, Gilmour quickly erased fears that half of Floyd may not be able to measure up to the mark they set last summer when the whole band reunited for an emotional show-closing set at LIVE 8.

The show started with the beating heart, cash registers and helicopters that has been a band signature, growing louder over giant speakers, and launching into eclipsed versions of “Breathe” and “Time” from the group’s 1973 epic, “Dark Side of the Moon,” which set a record by lasting on the Billboard charts for 15 years.

(On previous tour stops, the first set was all new and the second one featured classic hits.)

Then, Gilmour begged the audience’s patience, while he did almost an hour of his new album, “On an Island,” a work helped significantly by Gilmour’s lyrical partner, his wife, Polly Samson. The new songs, focused and concise, ring true, while the last two albums, 1987’s “Momentary Lapse of Reason” and 1994’s “The Division Bell,” at times sounded like pastiche Floyd, full of sound and fury, but not enough substance.

Gilmour’s voice ranged from very good, to only passable on some songs (and both voices were fairly bad in a couple of duets with Wright) — but his guitar work was revelatory. He moved over the fretboard, like few others, squeezing out clear, spine-tingling high notes and thunderous low ones in the same solo. His guitar didn’t only gently weep; it told stories in a language that didn’t need words, like some evolutionary step toward telepathy.

He is to rock what B.B. King is to blues, a clear, tasteful, melodic and confident player, who is not afraid to push the outer limits.

Dressed in black, his long locks long gone, the 60-year-old moved from electric and acoustic guitar to pedal steel, dobro, and new addition to his arsenal, saxophone. Clearly, this is a musician who likes to be challenged, and it was hard not to wonder whether, if he were alive today, Jimi Hendrix, might not have also started blowing a horn.

Later in the show, when Gilmour launched a set that included “Shine on you Crazy Diamond” and “Wish You Were Here,” Dick Parry took on the sax duties, his stylings recognizable from old Floyd classics. The old hits part of the show included some obscurities, 1972’s “Wot’s …Uh, the Deal” from the “Obscured by Clouds” soundtrack, and “Dominoes,” a Syd Barrett song from 1970.

Fans, including the guy who wore a jacket strung with light bulbs, off the “Delicate Sound of Thunder” album cover, got more than they bargained for, with old hits, new hits and forgotten oldies that sounded new again.

It was surprising to hear two songs from the last Floyd studio album, “Division Bell,” but “Wearing the Inside Out” and “Coming Back to Life,” now old enough to be considered classic, have aged well, and sounded better than they did in 1994.

But the real highlights were a stunning rendition of 1971’s 20-plus minute “Echoes,” in which Gilmour and Wright traded lines on organ and guitar, bringing the band from a delicate whisper to hurricane strength several times. Gilmour treated this song like a fine wine, letting it air out, and keeping it true to its psychedelic roots, a wonderful mix of darkness and light.

And 1979’s “Comfortably Numb,” on which Gilmour, on a black stage, silhouetted in front of a white spotlight, reeled off a solo that made colors spin around the room. Then, one of the few rock artists who understands the importance of larger than life visuals, he let lasers paint the room too, using literal smoke and mirrors to create piercing three dimensional triangles and pulsing waves.

Floyd fans can’t help but feel like children of divorce, getting visits from both parents this year, both bearing special gifts. Gilmour proved to be a classic rock artist who still has a lot to say, and the discipline to make his older material sound new again.

He set the bar high, in a room with perfect acoustics, for Waters.

The bass player, whose last local show six years ago presented very good renditions of old Floyd songs, will perform the entire “Dark Side of the Moon,” this time out in big arenas.

For the first time since the breakup, Waters wasn’t missed at Gilmour’s show. Now, the big question will be whether Waters can do the same for the man who gave his songs their sweet voice and lilting guitar.

Thanks to Brad Kava

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