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Classic Rock News And Views
May 8, 2012
Photo and Story by Scott Smith
Former Pink Floyd singer-bassist Roger Waters thumped pulsating bass lines, sang in that familiar madman howl and even fired noisy machine-gun blanks at fans May 5th in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Bringing the 2012 leg of his “The Wall: Live” tour to a crowded BOK Center, Waters performed the 1979 Floyd opus in its entirety, from front to back, while black-clad crew members erected a mammoth wall between audience and Waters’ top-shelf band. It was a scene fiercely similar to Floyd’s 1980 and 1981 concerts — videos and graphics were projected onto the wall, a menacing, red-eyed pig floated over the multi-generational audience, and Waters took on the role of the story’s fictitious, emotionally vulnerable rock star for the loud-yet-crystal-clear proceedings.
A note-perfect take of concert-opener “In the Flesh” was followed by a large model airplane racing over the heads of concert-goers. The plane struck the wall and burst into a yellow-orange sphere of flames and smoke, which drew cheers, claps and clenched fists in the air.
Waters was in excellent voice throughout the concert, and on many numbers, he played his black Fender bass, aggressively picking out low-end notes while playfully grimacing for those attending. When the anti-establishment staple “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” emerged, numerous school-aged children ran onto the stage to clap, sing and step in time with a beaming Waters.
On paper, “The Wall” live might seem like an awkward venture without surviving Pink Floyd members David Gilmour and Nick Mason — co-founder Syd Barrett died in 2006 and keyboardist Richard Wright died of cancer in 2008. But “The Wall,” minus portions of “Comfortably Numb” and “Young Lust,” was pretty much Water’s baby from its demo beginnings back in 1978. Waters’ solo-band guitarist, Dave Kilminster, recreated a stunning version of Gilmour’s notoriously brilliant guitar solo on “Comfortably Numb” at the BOK, standing atop the wall and in off-white spotlights.
Kilminster’s slow-burn solo started melodic before becoming almost like a high-note scream for help, summoning one of numerous standing ovations throughout the show. Waters/Pink Floyd touring mate Jon Carin, who once sat in with The Who at the Concert for New York City following the 2001 terrorist attacks, served up great keyboard parts, while Snowy White and former “Saturday Night Live” band leader G.E. Smith pulled emotional solos and riffing from their guitars.
Only the big-screen flashes of pre-recorded female nudity during the otherwise brilliant “Young Lust” seemed a bit much, yet Waters made up for it by staging one of the greatest rock spectacles one could ever hope to see and hear. The world will never see Waters, Gilmour, Mason and the now-gone Wright appear together on a stage like their one-off, still-talked-about reunion at 2005′s Live 8, but Waters’ “The Wall Live” is a wonderful consolation prize for both the casual rock admirer and the fanatic of all things Pink Floyd.
May 31, 2011
Grand hope can often lead to grand disappointment. In a series of events reminiscent of the Led Zeppelin hoopla that ignited what seemed like an endless supply of reunion rumors a few years back, hope for a Pink Floyd reunion was stoked a bit by an appearance of three former members of the group on stage during a performance of Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live.”
“The Wall Live” tour was entertaining the crowd at London’s O2 Arena, when the the three men appeared together for the first time since the “Live 8” event in 2005. Somewhat ironically, the O2 was the same venue where the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited for their one-time performance in December of 2007.
The appearance of David Gilmour and Nick Mason was a surprise to the assembled fans as well as those who subsequently got wind of the brief, unofficial “reunion,” igniting speculation that a more meaningful and longer-lasting reunion could be in the works. This is not the first time the idea of a Pink Floyd reunion has been bandied about by fans and other observers, in addition to a little tease or two from members themselves.
During 2008, drummer Nick Mason was reported to have said he believed a reunion was possible under the right circumstances. Around the same time, guitarist David Gilmour made it clear that he had no interest in a reunion, which some attributed to bad blood between Gilmour and Roger Waters. The recent appearance of both men on the same stage may be an indication that relations have improved, but Waters was quick to go on the record saying that he has no interest in a Pink Floyd reunion.
In an interview with the BBC’s Radio 4, Waters was quoted as saying, “I’m really glad that I was in that band for the 20 years that I was in it and I really enjoyed it. I think we did some great work together but I have no wish to do it ever again.”
Last spring, The Guardian reported that Waters had indicated it was Gilmour who was not interested in any kind of reunion, leaving him on his own to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Wall with his “The Wall Live” tour. It’s pretty obvious that Waters and Gilmour have been in touch since that time and have patched things up at least enough to clear the way for Gilmour’s one-time guest performance of “Comfortably Numb” with Waters.
With both Gilmour and Waters going on the record indicating that they have no interest in a reunion, it seems as if Nick Mason may be the only one with any desire to reunite the remaining members of the group. I’m often skeptical about the possibility of big-name reunions like this, probably because I’m doubtful about whether the “old magic” can ever be resurrected.
In this particular case, I’m willing to entertain the notion that a Pink Floyd reunion might actually work. I happened to be idly flipping through the TV channels over the weekend and saw that David Gilmour’s “Live In Gdansk” show was being broadcast on Palladia. Having reviewed the CD here previously, it was a treat to catch the show in HD. I remain as impressed now as I was when I first listened to the CD. It think it was a great show that did justice to a number of Pink Floyd classics.
For now, it seems that a Pink Floyd reunion is not in the cards, but as always, I’m reluctant to say it cannot happen. Although we have seen Robert Plant sticking to his guns after expressing his disinterest in a Led Zeppelin reunion, history indicates that the best way to leave this story as it now stands is to simply say, “never say never.”
April 17, 2009
Maybe he’s just curious about UFOs himself, or perhaps just doesn’t think that breaking into government computers is a serious crime, but whatever the case, Pink Floyd veteran David Gilmour is lending his talent in support of a forthcoming CD that is intended to benefit self-proclaimed British hacker Gary McKinnon.
Back in 2001, the 43-year-old unemployed systems administrator is alleged to have had his way with a number of government computer systems in the U.S. Among them were systems belonging to NASA and the Defense Department.
Needless to say, the year 2001 wasn’t the best time to pass one’s time by hacking into U.S. government computers due to increased awareness surrounding these kinds of things after the 9/11 attacks. McKinnon admits he penetrated U.S. government systems, but claims he was only seeking evidence that would reveal the real truth about UFOs.
I think there are a lot of people who could sympathize with his desire to get to the bottom of the whole UFO thing, but hacking government computers probably wasn’t the best way to go about it. He did get caught, after all.
For seven years McKinnon has been fighting extradition to the United States where he would probably face charges that could land him in prison for up to sixty years, or possibly even more.
McKinnon has been gaining more support in recent months after London’s mayor penned a newspaper editorial that appealed to U.S. President Barack Obama to halt the efforts to extradite the curious hacker, and even suggested that the whole affair was a “comment on American bullying.”
The U.S. Government says that McKinnon’s shenanigans resulted in almost a million dollars in damage to various computer systems, and was also responsible for the shutdown of several critical military computer networks shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
The new CD is set for release next month and McKinnon’s supporters hope it will help get President Obama’s attention.
So far, Gilmour is the only artist on the CD that has been identified, although there are others who have participated whose names have not yet been revealed.
One can’t help but think that there are better ways to investigate UFOs other than breaking into computer systems. As a former systems administrator himself, McKinnon had to be well aware of the risks involved in that kind of activity. He will surely have plenty of time on his hands to read all the UFO literature in existence and watch every television program ever produced on the subject of UFOs if he finds himself confined to a prison cell for sixty years or so.
Head on over to Computer World for more on this story.
November 26, 2008
Now as far as I know, Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Great Britain, but apparently that has not stopped David Gilmour of Pink Floyd frame from offering up a Thanksgiving gift to fans that care to visit his website and view some of the video that’s been made available from the Live In Gdansk DVD.
A while back I reviewed the companion CD but did not get a chance to see the DVD, so it was kind of nice to have a look at some of it online. One thing I failed to mention during my earlier review was my appreciation for the effort put forth by the musicians to be true to the original Pink Floyd classics. I’m a stickler when it comes to performing classics, and think they should be played just the way they were originally performed.
That’s not to say a little improvisation here and there is always a bad thing, but when I sit down to listen to “Comfortably Numb,” that is what I expect to hear, and for me, the live recording from Gdansk does just that. I’m always disappointed to see a classic act with one or more members who completely transform the original part into something more to their liking or perhaps more to their abilities.
Fans who want to catch this excellent-quality video online can visit David Gilmour’s website and have the opportunity to view a collection of performances that will be changed every other day. The videos will remain available until Tuesday, December 2nd.
For those who would like to catch some of this concert on a larger screen, footage will be shown on VH1 Classic during Thanksgiving Day as part of their A Very Pink Floyd Thanksgiving. Also featured during this special day of Pink Floyd programming will be in depth presentations that examine the creation of one of the group’s most influential albums, The Dark Side of The Moon and include exclusive interviews with members of the group.
September 24, 2008
From what little I know of recording studios, things like acoustics and sound-proofing are primary considerations for obvious reasons. These requirements can present challenges for just about any studio, but just imagine the challenge of making something like that work on a houseboat.
Pink Floyd legend David Gilmour discovered quite by accident that recording while floating on the Thames river was an idea that might sound a bit out of the ordinary, but certainly works well for him.
The houseboat, a 100-year-old classic called the Astoria was a discovery Gilmour made while being driven by the Thames one day after having lost his license for drinking and driving. Apparently something he acknowledges as one of the events in his life that he’s not particularly proud of, referring to it as “being silly.”
While gazing out the window of the car, Gilmour noticed something in the river which prompted him to have the driver stop for a closer look. When he spied the Astoria, it obviously made an impression on him, and set in motion a series of events that led to his purchase of the boat a short time later when he saw an advertisement offering the vessel for sale while perusing magazines in a dentist’s office.
Gilmour has certainly made good use of his purchase by building a recording studio on the boat and recording some well-known Pink Floyd albums onboard, including The Division Bell and A Momentary Lapse of Reason, as well as his solo album, On An Island, which seems a fitting name considering the location where it was recorded.
For the full story, you can visit New Zealand’s 3News, which also offers video of an interview with Gilmour on the subject of the Astoria as well as some concert footage from the last show of his 2006 On An Island tour in Gdansk, Poland. The live DVD and CD sets from that performance were released yesterday.