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Saturday, September 22, 2007

On An Island...



Remember That Night

Live At The Royal Albert Hall

David Gilmour's third solo album, "On An Island" was released in March of 2006. I picked it up shortly thereafter but I haven't really given it the time it deserves to become familiar with the piece. Now we have a new live DVD offering which includes "On An Island" performed start to finish. It hasn't been all that long since Dave had released a live, solo DVD so I was a tiny bit hesitant about jumping on this one, but, after reading the details of the 2 disc special edition, I decided to take the plunge. I'm glad that I did.

This stage band is basically just one Nick Mason short of a Pink Floyd v.3 performance. Special guests include David Crosby and Graham Nash, David Bowie, Robert Wyatt, Phil Manzanera and Dick Parry is there to add the familiar sax tones that he has contributed to much Floyd material over the years. Dave Gilmour himself delivers a very impressive saxophone solo during the "On An Island" portion of the program.

The show begins with a visit to some "Dark Side Of The Moon" material, "Speak To Me", "Breath" ,"Time", back into "Breath". While D.S.O.T.M. is certainly a classic of monumental proportion, I have to admit that I wouldn't be too bothered if it were shelved as far live shows are concerned. If I want to hear it I prefer to grab the 5.1 surround SACD version off the shelf. Having Crosby & Nash helping out makes for a good rendering worthy of one more listen though. I suppose there would be public unrest if some Dark Side material wasn't presented.

This is followed by the entire "On An Island" piece which concludes Part One of Disc One. I find that I am able to better absorb the new material when I can see it performed live. ( or, recorded live, in this case ) The musicianship is stellar as one would expect from this crew. It's always good to hear Richard Wright singing with David. The trademark lighting and lasers are present but no Floydish inflatables appear here.

"On An Island" seems to represent a new direction for Mr. Gilmour. Musically it requires, at least to my ears, a little more effort to become comfortable and familiar but, listeners who make that effort will be rewarded. A cousin told me years ago that the music that has to grow on you will stay with you longer. I have found this theory to be proven true over the years. The lyrics on this release are primarily the work of Polly Samson, a.k.a David's "other half". The words project a positive, uplifting atmosphere which I think reflect the place in which the Gilmour's are finding themselves personally these days. Of course, I don't know the Gilmour's personally so this is conjecture on my part but after reading several articles regarding these matters, I feel safe in thinking it out loud.

" So break the bread and pour the wine, I need no blessings but I'm counting mine, Life is much more then money buys, when I see the faith in my children's eyes."

-From "This Heaven"

I have read that Dave is finding less importance in material goods and is simplifying his life by unloading a lot of his "stuff".

"Times are rough and I've got too much stuff..."

-Jimmy Buffett

Part Two of Disc One continues with a pretty standard, expected list of tunes, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" ( with Crosby & Nash), "Fat Old Sun", "Coming Back To Life", "High Hopes", "Echoes", "Wish You Were Here" and then a surprise rendition of "Find The Cost of Freedom" with Crosby & Nash. David Bowie now joins in for "Arnold Layne" and "Comfortably Numb".

Disc Two delivers an additional 13 tracks including "Astonomy Domine", "Dark Globe", "Wearing The Inside Out" and "Wot's... Uh The Deal" bringing the total track count to 36 songs. Also included on disc two are three documentaries that include tour and studio footage, two music videos and "Island Jam 2007". So, this package is stuffed with goodies that make it difficult to resist.

1 comment:

belewbloggfan said...

Hey Blockie!
Thanks for the heads up on this one.... haven't seen this one anywhere, so would have missed it... Looks like we're just going to have to order it - thanks to your review..... It sounds great!
We're a couple of Floyd-ies from way back :-)