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Music DVD Review: David Gilmour – Remember That Night: Live At The Royal Albert Hall

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I think that with Pink Floyd's Division Bell tour, which was so brilliantly documented on their Pulse DVD, the Roger Waters-less version of the band truly went out with a bang, and it really need not be resurrected in that form again. Now, if Waters and David Gilmour were able to set aside their differences long enough to allow for more than just a three-song set at Live 8, then that would be an entirely different story – I would give my right, um, kidney for tickets to that tour.

Last year both Waters and Gilmour each proved that they can still pull off one hell of an amazing non-Pink Floyd, Pink Floyd show. Waters' incredible "Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety" world tour was considered by many, including myself, to showcase some of the most impressive concerts ever to be staged. Not to be outdone, Gilmour hit the road last year, primarily to promote his new On An Island album, which he performed in its entirety, but he also threw out plenty of mesmerizing Pink Floyd numbers to satisfy even the most ardent fans. So Waters and Gilmour have each proven that they can still deliver an amazing Floyd fix on their own, but, oh, how good it could be to mix that old fire and gasoline for just one more tour.

Remember That Night was filmed over three nights, May 29, 30 & 31, 2006, at London's Royal Albert Hall, during David Gilmour's short tour in support of his new On An Island album. This tour saw Gilmour backed by essentially the same core band members that joined him on the last Pink Floyd tour, with the biggest exception being Nick Mason missing from behind the drum kit. Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright was the co-star of the tour.

Several guest stars also joined Gilmour on this tour, most notably David Crosby and Graham Nash, who also provided gorgeous backing vocals on the new album. David Bowie also takes the lead vocals on "Arnold Layne" and "Comfortably Numb" to close out one of the shows, making his performance of "Numb" the most unique version this side of Van Morrison's rendition during Water's The Wall – Live In Berlin. Legendary British prog/jazz musician Robert Wyatt also makes a guest appearance, playing the cornet during On An Island's "Then I Close My Eyes."

The show kicks off dramatically when the theater lights are doused and the familiar heartbeat rhythms of Dark Side Of The Moon's "Speak to Me" fill the air. As the stage lights begin to show signs of life, you can see shadows of band members taking their places on stage, just in time for Gilmour's opening lines of "Breeeeath….breath in the aaaair." A stunning performance of "Time" soon follows, as if Gilmour was intentionally competing with Waters for the most amazing DSOTM performance of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these songs performed so magnificently in such an intimate setting as the Royal Albert Hall – well, intimate when compared to Wembley Stadium and the like.

At this point Gilmour greets the crowd and tells them that he will be performing On An Island in its entirety, and he is met with warm applause. "Castellorizon" kicks off the album and features an extraordinary guitar solo from Gilmour before it eventually drifts into the hypnotic opening chords to the title track, "On An Island", which gets so beautifully elevated by the gorgeous harmony vocals of Crosby & Nash. Gilmour and Phil Manzanera trade masterful guitar solos at the beginning of the song and then Gilmour really takes it home during the second half as Crosby & Nash look on from the side with huge grins of amazement. If you are already a fan of On An Island, then you are likely to be blown away by this exceptional performance as it easily surpasses its studio counterpart. Those new to the album should certainly come away as fans.

As good as the On An Island performance was, most of the classic Floyd performances were even better. Oh, where do I begin? Well, how about the unique take on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" which again features Crosby & Nash singing the chorus sections in a particularly clean and gentle manner, to match Gilmour's delicate guitar strums. Essentially the rest of the concert was one long highlight real, but the heroic 23-minute performance of "Echoes" was easily worth the price of admission by itself. For this and several other songs, most notably the "Comfortably Numb" climax, it looked as if Gilmour borrowed most of the Pink Floyd laser-light spectacular of old, and somehow managed to cram it into these smaller venues. The show looked extraordinary.

The production quality of this DVD package is second to none. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and stereo audio tracks are provided and they both sound exceptional. The surround option was especially impressive as I had to look back over my shoulder a few times to make sure an audience member wasn't sitting there applauding from my living room. The concert was filmed in High Definition and the widescreen presentation looked amazing. David Mallet's camera direction should be used as a training video to teach other directors how to properly film a concert. He used the perfect balance of long, wide angle, shots of the entire stage to capture the spectacular light and laser show, while also offering an abundance of great close-ups of Gilmour's fretwork as he spewed forth all of those world renowned riffs.

The bonus features disk that is also included would have made a great buy in itself. It includes no less than 13 extra live performances, from various other venues, three fascinating documentaries, the music videos for  "On An Island" and "Smile", and much more. The packaging comes as a tri-fold digipak, containing two DVDs and a 20-page color booklet.

David Gilmour's Remember That Night is easily of the best concert DVDs of the year – although I couldn't quite bring myself to give it the same 10 rating as Roger Waters' In the Flesh Live DVD. It is also easily one of the best bargains. The main feature alone is nearly two and one-half hours in duration, and then the bonus disk outdoes that. I almost feel guilty for the paltry price I paid for this thing – Best Buy was originally selling it for $11.99. Whatever price you have to pay for this DVD now, believe me when I say that it is well worth it.

Set List
01. Speak to Me
02. Breathe
03. Time
04. Breathe (Reprise)
05. Castellorizon
06. On an Island
07. The Blue

08. Red Sky at Night
09. This Heaven
10. Then I Close My Eyes
11. Smile
12. Take a Breath
13. A Pocketful of Stones
14. Where We Start
15. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
16. Fat Old Sun
17. Coming Back to Life
18. High Hopes
19. Echoes
20. Wish You Were Here
21. Find the Cost of Freedom
22. Arnold Layne
23. Comfortably Numb

Ratings:
Performance 9/10
Production 10/10

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About Paul Roy

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Great write-up. I have an audio bootleg of the NY show. Will have to check this out.

    “Nick Mason missing from behind the drum kit”

    I can’t remember; when was Nick on tour with Roger?

  • Paul Roy

    Thanks El Bico. I was refering to the last Pink Floyd tour, when most of these guys were on that tour as well.

  • http://www.pinkfloyddiscography.com Abhi Taranath

    I have read practically every review of anything Pink Floyd-related for the past 10 years… finally a passionate, articulate, ACCURATE review of Gilmour’s phenomenal DVD. Please please please write more reviews.

    Truly a joy to read.

    A.T.

  • Matt Craun

    Forgot to mention about the bread and wine documentry on the second disc. I liked that better because you saw the interaction behind the stage. Some more interesting bits a talk with Rick Wright (never heard a length discussion from him, its always one or two maybe words) Also interesting piece on the Bowie apperence and finally a one off meeting between Roger Waters and David Gilmour.
    The meeting seemed longer than shown though

  • Owen

    Echoes with Ricks Farsifa Organ is so Awesome,,”the audience on the other hand are effing idiots”,,whistle’s clapping halfway through Echoes as if its the end ,,,Dave should have recorded this in Japan,would have been perfect,the Japanese love the Floyd…