A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 194 – Pink Floyd: Pulse (concert)

Pink Floyd: Pulse (concert) – September 10th, 2010

I have only been to a small handful of non-classical non-school concerts in my life. I was in my high school’s orchestra (perpetual second violin, thanks to poor luck with violin teachers and an aversion to practicing for people who didn’t give a shit about me), so I’ve been to more than my share of orchestral concerts, both school-based and professional. Not that I mind. I like classical music and we’ve been trying to work on going to see live performances more recently. But I can count on one hand the concerts I’ve been to otherwise. And they’re both They Might Be Giants. Weird. I would have seen Nightwish, but their instruments got stuck in Mexico. Alas. Otherwise it’s either just been poor timing or I didn’t know someone was going to be around in time to get tickets.

I missed this Pink Floyd concert due to being too young when it hit Boston. A number of my friends went, but the sad part is that I didn’t know them yet. They were AV crewsters, and I was a nervous little freshman who hadn’t gotten up the nerve to join. Not that I think I would have been allowed to go anyhow. So I missed it. And, well, that sucks. It sucks a lot. It is a fantastic concert, and I was told so more than once later, by friends who’d gone. Including Andy. Damn him!

I cannot help but sing along to this concert. I know every song, even if I’ve never seen Pink Floyd live. I love this band. I love their music. And I have listened to this concert’s album so many times I’ve lost count. I bought it in England when I was in high school on an exchange program and the little LED in the box pulsed steadily for at least three years after I bought it. Pink Floyd, The Beatles, They Might Be Giants and Nine Inch Nails were my staples through high school and well into college. For Pink Floyd my go-to album was Wish You Were Here, followed closely by The Division Bell and Dark Side of the Moon. Sure, I love The Wall, but well, I prefer to listen to it in its entirety. Why yes, I am a snob about that.

My mother shares my love of Pink Floyd. When we’re in a car together, if Pink Floyd is in the CD player or on the radio we will sing along with it together. I bought her this album for her birthday one year and she played it incessantly until my brother hid it. The thing is, while I know that The Division Bell didn’t get great reviews, we both loved a lot on it. Certainly the songs included in the first portion of the Pulse concert are ones we love. And mixed in with some of our favorites off of earlier albums it ends up serving as sort of a live ‘best of’ album. But I realize I’m reviewing the album, not necessarily the concert. I’ve never sat down to watch it with my mother. I have watched it with Andy before, which is nice, since we both love Floyd and it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see the surviving members together on stage, and certainly with Richard Wright gone and, we won’t see this.

There’s a lot of melancholy in the later Pink Floyd material. Yes, it’s there in the earlier stuff too, but the earlier pieces do stand out in this concert as being a little snarkier. A little angrier. A little more like the melancholy of a bunch of smartasses. Contrast Another Brick in the Wall (pt 2) with Keep Talking, which is played just before it. Contrast Shine on You Crazy Diamond, which opens the show, with High Hopes, which is just one song (Learning to Fly) away. One of These Days is an entirely different creature from anything off of the later Gilmour albums. It’s an interesting lineup, especially knowing that this concert was at least partially to promote The Division Bell. Of course songs from that album feature prominently, and personally I enjoy them. But then they’re contrasted with some interestingly chosen classics. And then there’s the entirety of Dark Side of the Moon as the latter half of the concert. Not that I’m not thrilled to watch it and see the entire album played live. It’s one of the best albums of all time, in my opinion. But it does rather dominate everything else, you know?

I really don’t mind the lineup for the concert. I like it. There’s not a single song played that I don’t enjoy and some of the performances – particularly the three encores – are amazing. Knowing the Division Bell songs as well as I do, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the little differences in their live versions. Now, I’ll admit, I don’t necessarily put in a concert DVD to watch it. I do watch in pieces, but since my focus is always on how the music itself is performed, I look away a lot too. I don’t think I’m really qualified to say whether this is a good concert in comparison to other groups or other performances by Pink Floyd. I simply don’t have the background. I do know I enjoy it, and that while they don’t look terribly involved with the audience, Nick Mason and Richard Wright certainly played well. David Gilmour, of course, has center stage here, and he is very into it. So that’s fun to see. And then there are the rest of the band doing more keyboards, more percussion, more guitars, the backup vocals and saxophones. They’re all fantastic, but I have to give standout credit to Dick Parry on the saxophones, who I seemed to catch whenever I looked at the screen, and the three female vocalists, Sam Brown, Claudia Fontaine and Durga McBroom. If you know Dark Side of the Moon, you know it’s got some demanding bits for a singer to perform and Sam Brown and, I believe, Durga McBroom split the biggest part of it and they are phenomenal.

Watching this, hearing my favorite songs, I feel the need to go restructure my iPod’s playlists to feature more Pink Floyd. I’ve got some odd tastes in music at times and I’m sad to say I don’t listen to as much Floyd as I used to. But watching the encore performance of Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell makes me wonder why that is. Perhaps I need to load up the live performance versions, since they certainly refreshed my love of them tonight. I only wish I’d been there to see them myself.


September 10, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | ,

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