David Gilmour | Live In Gdansk - DVD Review

Live In Gdansk

David Gilmour

David Gilmour’s Live In Gdansk is dedicated to the memory of Richard Wright, who passed away on Monday, September 15, 2008. That being said, it’s safe to say that Wright truly “shines” on this live collection, alongside David Gilmour, Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, drummer Steve Di Stanislao and members of Pink Floyd’s backing band from the 80s and 90s — bassist Guy Pratt, keyboardist Jon Carin and saxophonist Dick Parry. This second live collection from the On An Island tour is significant for another reason: the concert was played before 50,000 people against the backdrop of the Gdansk, Poland shipyards.

The day David Gilmour and his band played Poland, it marked a National holiday for the Polish people, commemorating the 26th anniversary of the Solidarity Trade union, which was co-founded by the country’s former President, Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa. To honor the occasion, the 40-strong string section of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic conducted by Zbigniew Preisner appeared with Gilmour to create live orchestral recordings of Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes,” “A Great Day For Freedom” and “Comfortably Numb.”

It’s all captured on the double CD and the visually stunning DVD, along a documentary that includes Gilmour’s private meeting with Walesa, backstage shenanigans with the band and crew, concert rehearsals, and a wreath-laying at the Memorial to the shipyard workers killed in the 1970 uprising. At the heart of all the music and historical footage are those big David Gilmour-Richard Wright moments, especially “Astronomy Domine,” written by Syd Barrett, another fallen brother from the Floyd family, and “Echoes,” sounding as grand and epic as it did that windy day in 1971 when, before the cameras, Pink Floyd attacked it with fierce veracity amongst the ruins of Pompeii. Stack it up next to your copy of Remember That Night, and get ready to watch your brain go into interstellar overdrive.

Live In Gdansk is available in more formats than you can imagine (I’m not kidding) — as a double CD; as a double CD with a DVD featuring a bulk of the live album and a documentary; the double CD, the DVD, and another DVD with three previously unreleased ‘Barn Jams’ and a 5.1 audio version of On An Island; as a five-disc set with additional live audio and videos tracks plus a 24-page booklet; and as a five-vinyl LP set. Go ahead and cash in your 401K and buy ‘em all. You won't regret it.

~ Shawn Perry

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