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  • Writer's pictureJ. Valdés

Ago Today: 17 years of David Gilmour & David Bowie

At this time he was sitting in the Royal Albert Hall, with a distance of 17 years, at David Gilmour's concert on his On An Island Tour, when he made an appearance in practically one of his last live concert appearances, David Bowie.

Foto Ruta Floyd
Lola Lozano, redactor of Ruta Floyd

It will always be, perhaps, my most special concert of all, being able to see David Gilmour live in a dream place like the Royal Albert Hall, the quality of his guests, Robert Wyatt, Crosby, Nash, Bowie and being lucky that it was recorded the concert live.

Foto Ruta Floyd

Here I leave the chronicle that I wrote of that moment, with the emotion of a fan who attends the concert of one of his favorite artists.


It's 6 pm. I am preparing to attend the main reason for my trip. David Gilmour's concert at the ROYAL ALBERT HALL.

It is a somewhat cold afternoon, a light rain has been falling for a few hours, but it has subsided by the time we left.

In the room, I leave my digital camera, in case I have problems at the entrance, big mistake of mine.

We leave the hotel and go on foot, crossing HYDE PARK. The emotion is already beginning to take its toll on me.

We arrived at RAH. We can appreciate how he rises majestically behind us, hoping to offer us a memorable night to remember.

Some flags with the anagram of DAVID GILMOUR, look out on the horizon.

We walk around its surroundings, the RAH, is truly a dream capacity for a concert of these characteristics, with its circular shape, with its image, with all its history enclosed within its walls.

We entered the merchandise store, to see prices to buy something for myself on the way out.

I look at a t-shirt, although there are other prettier ones, but this one has the image of GILMOUR, with the RAH, and the dates of the days of the concerts, since he performs three days in a row, so I already made the decision to buy it , for the memory of what it means, plus the program of the WORLD TOUR 2006.

The opening of the doors is delayed a bit until 7 in the evening, and that is when our biggest surprise comes, because we began to enter the premises, without asking us to enter, without any security control, without any accreditation.

It is when my regret came, having left the camera in the hotel, for which I only take a few photos with the poor quality mobile.

We take a walk around the interior of the enclosure, viewing its corridors, its rooms, for example, like the room of the PRINCE OF WALES, which he has there, but of course, only from the outside, without going inside, since it is closed. It is not for nothing that there are almost daily guided tours to visit the RAH.

We are now ready to sit in our armchair, as I have mentioned, without anyone asking us for anything, there is a free SMILE single cd on top of each seat, so the detail is very welcome.

There are now about fifteen minutes left to start the show, the venue begins to fill up, slowly, but without pauses. Next to me is my partner, on the other side, an Italian gentleman, which I deduce from some notes he writes, since he doesn't say a word all night. Some Portuguese boys enter, quite nervous, they are very excited, like living a dream, they don't stop making smiles at each other. I'm glad I'm not the only one experiencing that emotion.

I am sitting in a good place, although any part is good, due to its distribution. It is on one side, with very good visibility and close to the stage, but not close enough to be able to enjoy the lighting effects.

Only 5 minutes to start. Notice is made that please no use of cameras and mobile phones, since the concert will be recorded for a later DVD. How lucky when it was published, it appeared, even if it was for a few moments.

The lights are turned off. Silence is made. Background noise is heard. It's a beating, like a heart, it's the sound of cash registers, it's laughter, yes, it's SPEAK TO ME/BREATHE!!!.

GILMOUR appears with his collaborators and the concert begins. People cheer the first beginnings of the song. The group is positioned from left to right, with PHIL MANZANERA, GUY PRATT, STEVE DI STANISLAO placed in the background, DAVID GILMOUR, RICHARD WRIGHT, JON CARIN, also in the background and DICK PARRY when he made an appearance.

Next, the opening of TIME begins and it sounds like its best days, with WRIGHT's voice singing on its original verses from the album. End the song with BREATHE REPRISE.

DAVID announces that they are withdrawing for a few moments to go out and interpret their new album ON AN ISLAND in its entirety. As he withdraws momentarily, the first sounds of the first song, the instrumental, CASTELLORIZON, can already be heard. He reappears and does the guitar solos.

Following the order of the cd, he performs ON AN ISLAND, with the appearance of his first two guests of the night, DAVID CROSBY and GRAHAM NASH. There's a funny moment when they have to go in to sing, they don't, leaving GILMOUR alone, whereupon he stares at them and gives them a smile.

THE BLUE is next. The two guests remain doing choirs, with a sensual and enveloping finale.

He changes the order of the cd a bit, and plays RED SKY AT NIGHT, playing DAVID on sax, positioning himself to the right of the stage, a place that old friend PARRY would later occupy. He does a good performance.

He continues with THIS HEAVEN, with GUY PRATT, using a double bass.

Now, perhaps for my taste, the most emotional song that he performed from his new album, the one that most raised those present from their seats, even my partner, who, without liking everything derived from the FLOYDs, was moved, until sprouting some small tears from her pretty eyes, THEN I CLOSE MY EYES. This song has almost nothing to do with the original, it even seems like a different song, with another rhythm, another melody, it's one of those songs that even if you later have the opportunity to listen to it on audio, it doesn't have the magic of a live performance, it He has to live that moment, that environment. Includes the first appearance of PARRY on sax, with a nice touch of keyboards by WRIGHT, with the first standing ovation of the night, with the image of ROBERT WYATT on the cornet, sitting in his wheelchair, over 30 years after his unfortunate accident. Still, my skin crawls, from that moment lived, from his interpretation, from the feeling expressed, and lived by all of us, thank you WYATT, for offering us those moments.

SMILE is the next one, without big surprises, with its simplicity.

Sounds like perhaps the most FLOYDIANA song on the album, TAKE A BREATH, which is much more powerful live than on the recording, more effective, devastating, accompanied by the best stage moments of the night, because removing a light laser in THE BLUE, nothing of mention had appeared.

End this first part with A POCKETFUL OF STONES and WHERE WE START, with nothing more significant to highlight.

A first part, removing some moments, quite bland, because, being objective, we must admit that ON AN ISLAND is an acceptable album, without more, a little slow and too calm, so, live, the entire album, perhaps It sounds a bit boring, but hey, DAVID, he wants to demonstrate his new material and I think it's very correct. Although as we will see later, he completely ignored his previous two solo works, so if he defends his own career, he should have included some in the repertoire, like the excellent MURDER. Anyway, to be honest, people are going to listen to everything that is related to the old FLOYD, not his creations.

They retire for a short break and start the second part of the show, but it took forever, well, it lasted, about forty minutes!!! People were already a little impatient. At this moment, I was observing the group of Portuguese who entered, since they were not sitting together, but a few in front of me, and the others behind me, their gestures of complicity and enjoyment of what they were admiring. But still, the best had not come.

Finally, the lights go out again, an opening is heard, almost from my childhood, because I have it in my memory, from very adolescent years,

SHINE ON YOUR CRAZY DIAMOND. He makes some variations at the beginning, and at the moment of singing, he does it without music, only with the accompaniment of the guitar, with the help of the choruses of CROSBY AND NASH, who appear again, ending with the masterful solo by PARRY, with the two saxes, switching from one to the other. Great song, for our start of nostalgic memories.

One of the surprises of the night, the interpretation, perhaps for the first time live, before this tour, since we would have to go through the newspaper archives to see if they had done it on some occasion, of the song WOT'S...UH THE DEAL, from the album , may be the least valued of the FLOYDs, in their entire history, OBSCURED BY CLOYDS. A little look at its origins.

WEARING THE INSIDE OUT, written by WRIGHT, seems to be a concession that he gives to recognize his worth and want to highlight, in a certain way, his participation in this tour.

COMING BACK TO LIFE, follows the aforementioned, with a sober interpretation, without much fanfare.

They ring bells. HIGH HOPES, for many, the best FLOYD song after the WATERS era, the one that most transmits old times. Excellent, is the word to define it, with a new ending, with acoustic guitar, accompanied by orchestrations.

But now, the RAH is breaking down, I'm going to listen, the best live song I've ever heard, and I doubt, I'll hear it again, the first spatial bits sound, of a song, which shows that the FLOYDs weren't just a group of great conceptual albums, such as DARK SIDE, WIS YOU WHERE HERE, ANIMALS, THE WALL, but rather, a group that, from its earliest origins, made us vibrate with their interstellar journeys. Here it was shown that as much as we like GILMOUR and company, people are hungry to hear the old songs, not so much DIVISION BELL, nor the new works, because when they began to be heard, those almost mystical sounds, we all fell in an almost state of ecstasy, of vibration, of communication, of feelings.

ECHOES. A Portuguese man couldn't bear a scream of passion, neither could I, never, a simple sound like that had transmitted so much to me. Those more than twenty wonderful moments of pleasure began, with the spectacular play of lights, recalling the FLOYD tours, with a game of guitar and keyboards between GILMOUR AND WRIGHT, a splendid war between the two, which made us all get up from our seats. the enclosure, with an ovation, which I rarely remember. The sound is impressive, the play of lights tremendous, these are the standard words we use to recall those moments, exaggerated words, but in this case, they can be perfectly used. I will always remember this moment.

They say goodbye, as is normal, to return with the encores on duty.

WISH YOU WHERE HERE. The first chords, by MANZANERA, occur, and then DAVID enters, and introduces us to another nostalgic moment and in a certain way, as a memory, of all these loved ones, who are no longer by our side. I wish you were here!

A small nod to CROSBY AND NASH, as they appear again, to sing a capella with GILMOUR, the song FIND THE COST OF FREEDOM. It seems that good old DAVID wants to show that although his voice clears his throat a bit, he still keeps that beautiful vocal harmony.

But the capital surprise of the night, had not yet happened, with my non-existent English, I listen to DAVID pronounce a few sentences. I turn to my partner, I tell her that I have understood that she has pronounced a name. She laughs, because she knows that she doesn't even know how to order a hamburger, but no, unbelievably, I got it right, ladies and gentlemen, before us, the chameleonic DAVID BOWIE.

Another thunderous ovation rings out at the RAH.

They melt into a little hug, now, another memory for an old friend, that without him, none of this would have made sense. A being, that always, in a certain way, the FLOYDs have had in the bottom of their hearts, perhaps because of the guilty feeling of abandonment. A being, also praised and recognized by BOWIE himself. This topic is for you, SYD.

There are people who even get up from their seats to dance, ARNOLD LAYNE begins to flow through our ears, with BOWIE AND WRIGHT on vocals, accompanied by DAVID in the background. Fascinating to listen to this song, by these musical geniuses.

The concert is coming to an end, the song that ends their performances has begun, although you always want to listen to it, you also feel sorry, because you know the end has come.

COMFORTABLY NUMB, the vocal part of WATERS, is performed by BOWIE, with the wonderful guitar solo ending, a little short for my taste, but enough to delight us all.

He has finished. All the participants come out and greet the public. My face fills with satisfaction. I have fulfilled a dream.

To mention, I don't remember exactly when it was when DAVID introduced the musicians, the huge ovation that WRIGHT received, the most FLOYD musician, because since he left and his little composition in the last works of the group, those wonderful musical atmospheres disappeared .

DAVID, without being a great virtuoso, knows how to transmit like few others, with his personal and non-transferable style. I only have the doubt, because I did not get to appreciate it, because the sound was great, if he used quadraphonic sound.

At the exit I waited for an autograph or photo, while my partner went to buy the shirt and the program. I talked for a few moments with a Catalan couple, who had also attended the concert.

We gave up when we saw it was getting late, we went to the hotel by subway, because due to the hours, HYDE PARK was closed.

My feeling is that I was able to see a camouflaged concert of PINK FLOYD, because with the mere absence of NICK MASON, replaced by DI STANISLAO and with the collaboration of MANZANERA, all the other members of the group have been the components of the last two tours, I know that the purists will say that PARRY was not in the first one, but I think you understand what I want to express.

This, in my opinion, shows that they have not done this for money, since it would have been just as easy for them to do the tour with the name of PINK FLOYD, which sells much more, than with the name of GILMOUR.

It's nice to know that they're doing a tour, just for their own pleasure to enjoy and not to do it for economic benefits, because it's not necessary to comment, the astronomical amounts that were being considered if they returned after LIVE 8, with or without WATERS. It's hard to believe, but there are still "half" human feelings.

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