Who needs pink?
Last year I wrote a piece about what was to be the last album released under the name Pink Floyd. I called this Which one’s Pink? – a reference to a line in the song Have a Cigar from the Wish You Were Here album. The release of this came as almost as much of a surprise as the announcement earlier this year that there would be a new David Gilmour solo album and a tour.
For those who don’t know, David Gilmour was the guitarist in Pink Floyd, often vocalist and responsible for writing or co-writing many classic Pink Floyd songs. And he’s my favourite guitar player. I just love his style, the feel of his playing and the sense of melody he brings to it.
David is not the most prolific song writer, doesn’t release many albums, doesn’t particularly like touring I understand and to be blunt doesn’t need to do either so it was a great surprise to find out he was doing both. So began the frantic effort to get a ticket. David was to play at The Royal Albert Hall in London as he did the last time he toured in 2006 and thanks to some help from a friend I managed to get a good seat, paying the second highest amount I’ve ever done to see an artist live. Kate Bush last year being the highest.
More and more artists now charge very high amounts for concert tickets and I have missed out on many bands I like recently who tour every few years but have increased prices to what I consider unreasonable levels. But for one-off or extremely rare shows like Kate and David, there will always be an exception.
The album was released about a week before the London shows and having pre-ordered it, of course, I had chance to become familiar with it before the gig which I find really helps to enjoy the new songs when played live.
Filled with a lot of anticipation I made sure I arrived at the venue early and this was the view from my seat. Not bad eh?
I’m not going to do a song by song review of the show, suffice to say I was not disappointed. Split into two sets, last time he played the whole of the album that he’d released in the first half and then some classics. This time it was much more mixed and I personally felt was a much better show for that.
Tracks from the new album sat alongside Pink Floyd classics and this worked really well. Utilising the circular screen to show video projections, always a feature of the Floyd live show, was also a big difference to last time as there was none of that and I guess the whole light show was a bit more Floyd-like because of it.
And something in red?
However there were times I did close my eyes and just listen and even though I’m very familiar with the songs, there are certain points where I still get a shiver down my spine, most notably when the second extended solo kicks in during Comfortably Numb and during parts of the solo in Fat Old Sun, one of my favourites which may surprise many but I think it showcases his melodic approach to playing perfectly.
All too soon though it was over and I walked back to the tube station wishing I could have afforded to go another night as this could be the last chance to see him play. A feeling that was made harder by doing the same journey the next day, but this time to meet friends for another late night at the Natural History Museum which was great fun once again.
I have no complaints though. Yes it was expensive, but any chance to hear him play and to hear some classic Floyd songs played by the person who wrote them and can play them best is not to be missed.
Which brings me back to title of this piece. People bemoan the fact that Pink Floyd are probably never going to perform again since keyboard player Rick Wright passed away, even though David and Roger Waters have mended bridges but with a great band around him and that guitar, who does need Pink?