David Gilmour isn’t a name the public at large tends to recognize. It isn’t until you invoke the name Pink Floyd that some become familiar. At the age of 70 Gilmour is part of the royalty of rock that emerged in the late ’60s and ruled through the ’70s. Having become a part of Pink Floyd in 1967, replacing then frontman Syd Barrett, Gilmour’s path to rock legend was set into motion.
Before Gilmour came on board with The Pink Floyd, as they were first known, Floyd was hot on the London rock scene playing psychedelic drug rock. Fueled by an appetite for LSD, partying and dabbling in the bizarre, Syd took the band on a path they weren’t willing to go. Allow me a moment to pontificate.
When David Gilmour joined the band in 1967, it was to hold up the guitar parts at live shows when Syd was either not willing to play or too out-of-his-mind to play. The Pink Floyd were a tight band, and the members loved Syd like a brother. Even with Gilmour eventually taking over, Syd always remained a part of the team.
After Gilmour’s full assimilation into Pink Floyd, his influence was felt in the music and tone of the band. While many people praise duos like Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, and Jaggers and Richards, Waters and Gilmour were making their own sonic masterpieces that are recognized worldwide even today.
David Gilmour and the members of Pink Floyd are a rare breed, fueled more for the love of music, its art and impact on the human condition rather than personal fame and glory. Gilmour still holds true to that attitude, seemingly never attracting unwanted attention which affords him a level of privacy most rock stars don’t have.
I don’t remember the exact moment in time when I heard Pink Floyd and Gilmour’s haunting yet soothing guitar, but I do remember it was my older brother who brought them to my attention. It wasn’t an intentional introduction, as my brother was more of a Beatles fan than Pink Floyd. I do remember driving in my brother’s car and he almost always had 105.9 WCKG Chicago playing on the radio. It was through that car radio that I heard the most amazing streams of music flow in and around my ears, and I was instantly hooked.
There are things in everyone’s world that help them make the journey over the long and sometimes difficult road we call life, and David Gilmour’s music is one of those things for me. While I’ve been a long-time fan I’d never gotten the opportunity to see Gilmour or Pink Floyd play live…until last night.
David Gilmour Rattle That Lock Tour
Gilmour took the stage shortly after 8pm opening with “5 A.M.” from his latest solo project, Rattle That Lock. This was followed by two more pieces from his new project, “Rattle That Lock” and “Faces of Stone.” Gilmour’s latest effort is an exercise in growth for the 70 year old rock legend. While there is the signature Gilmour musing throughout the album, there are heavy indications that he is expanding his arsenal. Songs like “The Girl In The Yellow Dress” and “Faces of Stone” are riddled with nuances not found in Pink Floyd or past solo efforts.
The band then went into a Pink Floyd classic, “Wish You Were Here” and threw themselves into “What Do You Want From Me” off the Division Bell album. A few more solo songs from both Rattle That Lock and On An Island were played and set 1 was ended with “High Hopes” from The Division Bell. David Gilmour did an amazing job holding the energy in the room up to peak levels and the fans only sat down whilst “A Boat Lies Waiting” played.
The second set opened with one of Pink Floyd’s best Syd Barrett days songs, “Astronomy Domine,” which Gilmour has refined over these many years. Gilmour then launched into “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Fat Old Sun.” He brought the mood down with “The Girl In The Yellow Dress,” a song I felt not everyone in the crowd appreciated as it is far left of Gilmour’s norm. The set was rounded out with “Sorrow” and “Run Like Hell,” two massive guitar pieces which were delivered with precision and mastery.
Of course the crowd screamed for an encore to which David Gilmour happily obliged coming out to finish the evening with “Time,” “Breathe (Reprise),” and “Comfortably Numb.”
I’ve been to a number of concerts in my life, but this is the ONE I’ve longed to go to since forever and it was nearly everything I wanted to see. David Gilmour was on point last night as were his vocalists and band members. While there were songs I wish I could have heard, I was more than satisfied with the song selection, and the musicianship was over the top. The light show and timing was amazing and Gilmour succeeds in transporting you from this planet, albeit for a mere 3 hours.
My only complaint, and the reason this didn’t get a perfect 5 out of 5, were some slight issues with the house mix. There were a few instances when guitars were so overdriven it was hard to hear the licks being played clearly. This is by no means a deal breaker, having run sound boards myself I know the task the sound crew have ahead of them. There’s no way they could get it right 100% of the time.
David Gilmour is set to play his final shows in the US in New York then he heads to Europe to finish out his 2016 tour. I suggest you find tickets someway, somehow because this is one show you should not miss. This is probably Dave’s final tour so if you’ve always wanted to see him live, now’s the time.
David Gilmour Rattle That Lock Tour Set List (Chicago April 8th)
- “5 A.M.”
- “Rattle That Lock”
- “Faces of Stone”
- “Wish You Were Here”
- “What Do You Want From Me”
- “A Boat Lies Waiting”
- “The Blue”
- “Us and Them”
- “In Any Tongue”
- “High Hopes”
- “Astronomy Domine”
- “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)”
- “Fat Old Sun”
- “Coming Back To Life”
- “On an Island”
- “The Girl in the Yellow Dress”
- “Run Like Hell”
- “Breathe (Reprise)”
- “Comfortably Numb”