Monday, April 17, 2006

A Much Better Guitarist Than I'd Ever Realized

Forgive me, please, all you die-hard Pink Floyd fans. But, I must admit I never thought of Pink Floyd as a guitar band (still don't). However, I recently acquired a recording of former Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour's concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (Amazing thing, the internet...the show took place on April 4, 2006, and I received it on 2 CDs in the mail on April 12th just by responding to a post on a Yahoo! Group...sweet.)

Gilmour, now 60 years old, played a set of his solo work, including his recently released album, ON AN ISLAND. He also threw in several Pink Floyd tunes. Now, I'll freely admit that I know nothing about ON AN ISLAND, and I've only listened to the show once. So, I really don't feel comfortable commenting on his solo stuff. But, let me tell you, he played the hell out of the Floyd songs!

He managed to bring "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" to life...that's practically a miracle in my book. He did a nice DARK SIDE OF THE MOON medley of "Breathe"/"Time"/"Breathe (Reprise)". He did a fantastic "Wish You Were Here", which I did always recognize as a great piece of acoustic guitar work, come to think of it. And, of course, as the grand finale, he did "Comfortably Numb". I guess I remember that song having long guitar solos...I don't know. For whatever reason, it just sounds soooo cool live.

Of course, as I was listening to it on the weekend immediately following my 36th birthday, I felt a bit downtrodden as I realized "Comfortably Numb" is a 27-year-old song!!!! Jeeeezus. Where does the time go? I can remember THE WALL coming out in 1979. It was "the new" Pink Floyd album, and people debated whether it was better than DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. I was 9 years old at the time, and one of my good friends played that thing constantly. Good old Jason, I wonder where he is now.

The other thing that struck me was how well Gilmour handled the lead vocals. In fact, on the Floyd songs, it made me wonder if he didn't sing some of them originally. I thought Roger Waters sang lead on everything. I guess I didn't pay close enough attention to Pink Floyd...(?)

Interesting side note: Of all people, David Crosby and Graham Nash joined Gilmour on stage to add some backing vocals on a couple of his newer tunes, and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". And, during the encore, between "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb", Crosby/Nash came back with Gilmour to do a three-way, a cappella version of the old CSNY tune "Find The Cost Of Freedom". It was actually pretty cool. I was shocked.


Blogger rabidt said...

Wait, Gilmour can play? I thought Clapton played on those albums. Or, was it Page?

Sorry, had to get the obilgatory Clapton dig in on this one. (I threw the Page thing in there since I was listening to some Kinks lately and enjoying what a MF Dave Davies is that I was bummed how Page gets credit for some of that stuff. Wasn't him.)

Anyway, Gilmour does get a fair amount of respect in the various guitar mags, but even there he's not presented as Mr. Guitar Hero. Certainly that's not the general public's view of him either. A bit strange, 'cause even though I'm not much of a Floyd fan, I can say objectively that he's up there with the best. Well constructed, tasteful, emotional playing. Good tone. Can't say the same for...

11:48 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Cold Bowl of Chili said...

I love Gilmore! I saw an interview with him once, where he mumbled in his heavy Engish accent "I'm not all that good on the guitar, I play very simple leads and very basic chords"

It inspired me to emulate some else other than Neil-I can play a ton of Floyd now.

Which ones Pink?

Hey-your first name ain't "AL" is it?

12:13 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

"By the way, which one's Pink?"

I must admit, I always liked that line.

What exactly IS the source of all the rumors that Page played the early Kinks solos? If ANYONE EVER has a question as to whether Dave D could play, they need go no further than MISFITS (1977), "Live Life"...ass-kicker of a solo!!! I always thought it should've been mixed a bit more "upfront"'s not as prominent in the sound mix as it should be. But, it WAILS none the less.

The fact that he doesn't get full credit for the pioneering "fuzz" sound in the mid-60s is disturbing. Although, there were probably some "surf" type players that might've predated...(?) OK, now I'm just taking shots in the dark. I should research that last part...oops, too lazy!

On another note, Page did play a whale of a solo (or three) on Donovan's "Sunshine Superman", of all places!!!

6:37 PM, April 18, 2006  

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