Former Pink Floyd guitarist and songwriter David Gilmour returned to his much loved ' home venue' to commence the first show at this iconic venue to coincide with the release of his first new solo album in 4 years, 'Rattle That Lock'. I use the word 'coincide' because such a popular and accomplished musician as Gilmour is, he does not need to tour to promote either new material or songs from his sizeable back catalogue either as a solo artist or from his Pink Floyd days.
This show was the first of five nights at the Albert Hall which commenced at the beginning of September with a 'warm up gig' in his home town of Brighton followed by shows in mainland Europe continuing in South America for the remainder of the year and the US in 2016.
Like many previous Gilmour shows, the venues are selected to be special, unique, iconic with minimal touring involved for him , the Albert Hall being the only venue for UK based fans see him play without further travel. Due to very strict ticketing arrangements, this was a show for dedicated fans only who had to be very organised to get their hands on any tickets as soon as they went on public sale.
Gilmour was joined on stage by familiar friends and accomplished bandmates: Phil Manzanera (guitar), Guy Pratt (bass), Jon Carin (keyboards and guitars) and was also joined by special guests Graham Nash and David Crosby adding vocals to 'A Boat Lies Waiting' (from the new album), 'On An Island', and 'Comfortably Numb'.
The concert started slowly with the opening song from his new album '5am' where Gilmour was merely warming up his guitar, his band-mates and the audience before progressing to a wide range of songs from his new album including 'Rattle That Lock', 'A Boat Lies Waiting', 'In Any Tongue', 'The Girl In The Yellow Dress', from previous solo albums 'On An Island', 'The Blue' and from his Pink Floyd days 'Time', 'Us and Them', 'Wish You Were Here', 'The Division Bell' & 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' before ending with the Pink Floyd classic 'Comfortably Numb'. This balance worked very well as it incorporated both the brand new material, with more recent solo efforts and the essential Floyd anthems over a 45 year period that that would have kept most fans and fellow band members happy.
As you would expect, Gilmour did not let the fans down, his guitar playing and vocals were truly sublime with guitars used ranging from 12 string acoustic, semi acoustic and full electric. Also we cannot forget the excellent contribution from his various band members who are all accomplished musicians in their own right and an integral part of the show.
Seeing this fine musician live is a special treat but that comes at a cost and significant effort. It also has to be appreciated this type of music is not for everyone but a must for any Gilmour/Floyd fan. Somehow the music works hand in hand with the ambience of this special venue which has been home to many accomplished musicians from the pop/rock and classical world over the years. Gilmour and the modern indoor concert venues wouldn't work nearly as well, nor does he want it or need it to. Fans travel to see him, not the other way around!
Let's hope its not a further ten years before Gilmour embarks on the next tour but like so many iconic and aging established artists from the late 60's era, you never know if the latest tour is going to be the last.
Paul O'Rourke & Jon Harris
Rattle That Lock
Faces of Stone
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
A Boat Lies Waiting with Crosby & Nash
Money (Pink Floyd)
Us and Them (Pink Floyd)
In Any Tongue
High Hopes Pink Floyd
Astronomy Domine Pink Floyd
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) (Pink Floyd)
Fat Old Sun (Pink Floyd)
On an Island with Crosby & Nash
The Girl in the Yellow Dress
Sorrow Pink Floyd
Run Like Hell (Pink Floyd)
Time (Pink Floyd)
Breathe (Reprise) (Pink Floyd)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd) with Crosby & Nash