• David Gilmour Royal Albert Hall review

    So, then it’s over… After waiting for almost half a year, the two concerts hit me like a train. I am absolutely speechless.

    We (our band) had a fantastic time and a great trip to London. We visited Battersea of course and a lot of other historical Floyd places like Abbey Road and Earl’s Court.

    Here’s a loooooong review of the two first nights in Albert Hall.

    Just being at the Albert is a huge experience. Beautiful architecture and one gets a bit intimidated by this historical ground. The arena had a specially designed light rig for the event and the walls were covered with all kinds of strobes and lights. Very nice.

    I noticed that Gilmour had two new pedals placed ontop of the Cornish board, – a ’71 “triangle” Big Muff and a T-Rex Replica delay. I tried to ask Phil, but he waved me off “Well, I can’t tell you that! You have to check all the pictures on the net!” and he smiled… At least I got to talk to him and maybe he ment my site (dreaming)… :-)
    I also noticed a brighter sound from David’s guitars and the fuzz sounds (P-1/G-2) was VERY bright and transparent, compared to the rather dull sounds from earlier dates.

    First Half;

    Breathe
    Starting with a couple of Floyd tunes really warmed up the crowd and compared to Amsterdam, the audience seemed more excited now that some familiar tunes opened the concert. A beautiful version both nights… Very Live 8.
    – Fender lap steel and “Blackie”

    Time/ Breathe rep
    Very powerful versions and a bit heavier than in Amsterdam, – Mazanera did a very good job playing rhythms. The light show was quite dramatic and David seemded to be enjoying the solo.
    On the second night, David forgot to change chords on the intro and everyone seemed very confused on stage. Once they all understood that the boss himself had made a mistake, they laughed their ass off. Guy Pratt could barely stand on his feet and had a hard time keeping time… Very funny!
    – “Blackie”

    – David says that they will perform the new album and the band leaves the stage. Castellorizon begins.

    Castellorizon
    Pretty much the same as on the album. As I’ve said before, this is not a favourite of mine, but David did the solo very well and again his tone was very bright and cut nicely through the “orchestra”.
    – “Blackie”

    On An Island
    In enters David Crosby and Graham Nash! We expected this, but the crowd jumped to their feet and it was almost impossible to hear the intro. It was so cool to see Crosby and Nash giving their best and really enjoying them selves. The song reached a new highpoint during the first guitar solo, when Gilmour and Mazanera did a powerful duel! Just amazing!
    – “Blackie”

    The Blue
    A beautiful version and pretty much performed as on the album. Great guitar playing again, but I missed the Uni-Vibe ontop of the Whammy as he did in Amsterdam. Crosby and Nash also sang on this one.
    – “Blackie”

    Red Sky at Night
    More or less like the album version. For some reason (and I don’t know if it’s just me) it seems that the audience is a bit sceptic to this song and the fact that David is playing sax. To be honest, and I think I have mentioned this before, I dond’t care much for the song and I had hoped that he had given the duties to Parry… Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very emotional song, but I don’t think it fits the consept and it seems like I’m not the only one who thinks that. A bleak response from the audience…

    This Heaven
    Again, a song I don’t like that much… (I’m beginning to sound very critical now…). Still, this was by far the best performances of the song and it’s amazing how much that Les Paul sounds like a Strat!
    – Gibson Les Paul Goldtop

    Then I Close My Eyes
    Definitely the highpoint of the first half! They had done some changes in the progression of the song and added a long jam piece over a beat similar to Us and Them. Gimlour played a beautiful giutar solo and then everyone got a spot, – Wright with an Rhodes piano solo, Dick Parry with his sax and Mazanera played a very emotional solo on his black Les Paul. The guy really impressed me on these performances (not that I didn’t think he could play!). Robert Wyatt also made an appearance playing the trumpet.
    Gilmour used the black Strat this time, as opposed to the Gretch. We also noticed that Jon Carin played bass on his keyboard… (with Pratt playing the loop-guitar)
    On the second night, Wyatt plays a bad tone and he screams out “fuck!”… That spoiled the DVD take :-)
    – Cumbus on the intro and “Blackie”

    Smile
    A nice version pretty much as on the album.
    – Gibson acoustic and Weissenborn slide

    Take A Breath
    This song will definitely go into David’s backcatalogue as one of the live classics! Extremely powerful and the band rocked big time! It just hits you like a train and you feel a little abused afterwards…
    – “Blackie”

    A Pocketful of Stones
    Again, not one of my favourites but one gets struck by the fact that Gilmour’s voice is better than ever. So clear and not a single note out of pitch. Nice guitar work and very dramatic lights.
    – “Blackie”

    Where We Start
    One of my favourites… if not the best song song on the album. Very beautiful version and David shows that he has a wide reportoir as a guitarist. His finger picked solos is very emotional and a little different than the “normal” Gilmour. I think it’s very cool that he has explored different styles and techniques on this record and they all work very well live too.
    – Gretsch Duo Jet

    Second Half;

    Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 1-5)
    This was the only time on the two concerts that he used the red Strat. I was a little disappointed with the sound in Amsterdam (too muddy), but this time it sounded dead on PULSE. Very warm and nicely compressed (did I hear a leslie sim too???). Crosby and Nash joined in doing the choir parts on both the verses and choruses (version similar to Meltdown). I have never attended a concert before where the crowd were this quiet. You could hear a feather fall…
    It’s so funny to watch Dick Parry as he enters with two large saxophones. He can barely stand up by their weight, but he playes with a great feeling and he steals the show completely! Even Gilmour couldn’t stop smiling… Great moment!
    – the red Strat

    Wot’s… Uh the deal
    – first night only
    I was very surprised when they did this in Amsterdam… A real treat to hear something from Obscured. But, as then, I don’t really feel that this song fits in with the others. The band seems a bit bored, which is a shame, but the audience doesn’t seem to get it either. Great slide solo though…
    – Gibson acoustic and Fender lap steel

    Fat Old Sun
    – second night only
    Fat Old Sun has always been one of my favourites and this is the coolest version I’ve heard to date! They just wouldn’t stop and the solo went on for ages! Even the crowd started cheering in the middle of the solo beacuse the band just kept playing harder and harder! Absolutely amazing! It was cool to see David playing the “new” blonde Telecaster too.
    – Fender Telecaster

    Wearing the Inside Out
    – first night only
    I don’t know what it is with this song, but I cried like a child… and I wasn’t the only one. Extremely emotional and the performance was outstanding. I must hand it to Wright and commend his singing. He was a little (to say the least) rusty in Amsterdam, but now he sang better than the album version…
    – “Blackie”

    Coming Back to Life
    Great version and surprisingly heavy! Great solos and singing by David. Carin had changed the sound of the intro strings a little and there was a second there that I tought we were gonna hear Sorrow, but unfortunately they didn’t…
    – “Blackie”

    High Hopes
    This “new” live version is a little more stripped down compared to PULSE and I miss the climatic strings during the slide solo. We also agreed that David played the slide really bad… Sorry to say, but this was a bummer both nights.
    – Taylor acoustic nylon string guitar and Jedson lap steel

    The Great Gig in the Sky
    – second night only

    What a surprise! Naturally we expected Sam Brown, but Mica Paris did a wonderful job performing a soulful version much like the old 73-75 version with the Blackberries girls. Wright gave her a standing ovation afterwards and nearly forgot that he had some more songs to play… :-)
    – Fender lap steel

    Echoes
    What can I say? A demonstration of power… nothing less. David’s guitar sounded raspy and fuzzy and screamed like in the old days! But, this was Wright’s number. He nearly fell of his chair a couple of times during the “funky” part! He just kept hitting the organ keys like there was no tomorrow!
    The mid section was like seeing them in ’74 with the stage covered in blue lights and dried ice pouring down over the first couple of rows (us included)… The hall exploded into an inferno of lasers and strobes during the climax before the singing. It’s impossible to describe but luckily this is all filmed for a DVD!
    – “Blackie”

    Encores;

    Wish You Were Here
    As usual a great version and the stage looked very PULSE covered in white light and lasers.
    – Gibson acoustic

    Find the Cost of Freedom
    Crosby and Nash enters the stage and the three does an a capella version of this old classic. On the second night, Crosby enters the stage doing the “I’m not worthy” gesture towards Gilmour… Who’s the biggest legend?

    Arnold Layne
    – performed after Fat Old Sun the second night
    On the first night Gilmour thanks the audience after “Find the Cost…” and says “We’re gonna do an old Barrett song for you now. I’ve invited someone special to help us out… please welcome mr David Bowie!” The crowd goes berserk! I mean really nuts! What a surprise! They did a very heavy version with Bowie’s characteristic “creepy” vocals. Priceless!
    – Fender Telecaster

    Comfortably Numb
    Great versions as usual and David seems to be enjoyng himself more and more during the solo… This can’t be the last we hear from him! Another album… another tour…?
    The stage is covered in lasers, smoke and strobe beams coming from all corners of the hall. On the first night, Bowie stays and “plays” the doctor!
    (For those especially interested,- David did not use the “magic button” on the first solo…)
    – “Blackie”

    As you can imagine, this was two amazing nights. I wish you all were there… Just attending Albert Hall was a huge experience. The band sounded very tight, yet not sterile. They were not afraid of making mistakes or jamming. They had a great chemistry between them selves and this affects the audience too of course. I must also commend the audience for being very civiliced only applauding on the right places and keeping quiet on the gentle parts. This has been the greatest concert experience in my life!

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4 Responsesso far.

  1. tobias says:

    ok i went to new york on april last year, and i saw david gilmour playing live at radio city music hall, and it was the best concert in my entire life, i’ve cried half an our of the show, it was perfect.
    i live in argentina so, it was like a unique chance in my life, but i’m sure that im going to see him playing again! and this year, on march, roger waters came to buenos aires(my city) and i went both nights. it was cool, but not as coolest as david was.

    i went the first night of radio city, the set list was:
    first half:

    castellorizon
    this heaven
    smile
    red sky at night
    take a breath
    then i close my eyes
    on an island
    a poketful of stones
    where we start

    second half:

    shine on you crazy diamond
    wearing the insideout
    dominoes
    fat old sun
    time
    breathe
    breathe reprise
    high hopes
    echoes
    wish you were here
    find the cost of freedom
    comfortably numb

    [It was fantastic seeing Gilmour live! Now we just have to wait for the DVD! – Bjorn]

  2. Jim says:

    What is the “magic button” on the first Numb solo?
    P.S. This is an awsome site. You’ve done a tremendous job.
    P.P.S. If you ever get the chance, information on the Hiwatt combo and the studio equipment from “About Face” would be nice.

    [The “magic button” is a little switch allowing a combo of the neck and bridge pickups. David installed it sometime during the recording of his first solo album in ’78. It’s located just beside the volume knob. The effect is similar to the middle pickup, but sounds fatter and hollow. He used it on the first solo on the studio version of Numb. David has been using a Hiwatt SA212 combo for a while. It’s all stock as far as I know. Read more about the About Face equipment here. – Bjorn]

  3. Cody says:

    Could someone explain to me why Gilmour didn’t do Run Like Hell at ALL during this tour…I mean…even if he can’t hit the vocals quite right on it anymore (which i’m sure he can) I KNOW he can still do the guitar part. Anyone? Bjorn?

    [Although Run is a great song with cool guitar work I don’t think the song would have fitted into the set or setting of the concerts. David’s recent tour has been very stripped down and very different from a typical Floyd show and I think Run is better suited with bombs and granates. Also, the songs is perhaps more a Waters tune… I don’t know, but I didn’t miss it. – Bjorn]

  4. Jake says:

    That’s odd! During Shine On in LA, I swear the entire audience were singing their hearts out, “SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND!” It was so beautiful hearing everyone chant on about Syd Barrett like that. I think Gilmour was truely touched that night.

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