Lights out...the ultimate visual feast for Gilmour/Floyd fans...
It's been a long time coming - almost 16 months in fact. The On An Island tour - the first time I've been lucky enough to catch Gilmour in the flesh - at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall - left an indelible mark. Quite simply one of the most magnificent gigs / performances it's been my pleasure to witness in over 30 years.
So this sumptuously packaged double DVD simply couldn't come fast enough. The tour itself was a wonderful example of 'less is more' - no backing vocalists, and a minimal light show, yet visually and aurally stunning. At least, that was my recollection. So the burning question in my mind was a) could the DVD recreate the experience of Gilmour live and b) how would it stand up against the magnificence of the Pulse DVD?
Well as a package it could hardly be more 'complete' - the first disc featuring the full set, with the second disc including 5 'bonus' tracks - Wot's …Uh The Deal, Dominoes and Wearing The Inside Out, and two tracks with Rick Wright on vocals where, on the first disc, David Bowie takes the mic.
But that's just a snippet of the goodies on offer on disc 2. In addition you get 3 documentaries, 5 tracks from The BBC Mermaid Theatre concert, plus tracks from the AOL and Abbey Road sessions, and Dark Globe from the summer leg of the 2006 tour. And if that isn't enough, you get On An Island and Smile music videos, a photo gallery and a bonus track - a wonderfully bluesy four-piece work out - Island Jam 2007.
And not content with serving up 5 hours and 13 minutes of DVD content, the package comes with a 20-page booklet featuring over 80 photos from the studio, tour and time off.
But, to the main course, the On An Island tour - David Gilmour with a simple touring band of Richard Wright, Phil Manzanera, new boy Steve DiStanislao on drums, plus Floyd regulars Dick Parry, Guy Pratt and Jon Carin, lighting courtesy of Marc Brickman, and David Mallet in charge of 23 hi-def digital cameras.
What can I tell you - a performance without equal. But then, you'd expect nothing less from Mr Gilmour. The DVD does, as best as possible, capture the spectacle, with the grainy film quality adding to the ambience.
The first half opens with 2 Dark Side tracks - Speak To Me and Breathe, before serving up the whole of On An Island, which somehow comes to life in the live environment.
The second is, as David puts it 'some older numbers', including a scorching version of Echoes. Watching the DVD is a bit like climbing a mountain - it leaves you breathless and every time when you reach a peak and think it can't get any better, it just shifts up another gear. It's an immense performance and highlights are too many to mention, but of the guest artists, Robert Wyatt is wonderful on cornet, as are Crosby and Nash on spine tingling vocal harmony intro to Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
If you weren't there, or didn't catch the tour, this DVD would be more aptly titled What A Night. It was/is, quite simply, remarkable, and every Gilmour/Floyd/guitar fan should go out and buy a copy immediately. Home entertainment just doesn't come any better.
Review by Pete Whalley
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