Coming Back To Life (Eat A Peach EAT 72/73)
Ippodromo Del Visarno, Florence, Italy – September 15, 2015
Disc 1 (79:33) 5 A.M., Faces Of Stone, Wish You Were Here, A Boat Lies Waiting, The Blue, Money, Us And Them, In Any Tongue, High Hopes, Astronomy Domine, Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Disc 2 (70:29) Band Introductions, Fat Old Sun, Coming Back To Life, On An Island, The Girl In The Yellow Dress, Today, Sorrow, Run Like Hell, Time / Breathe (Reprise), Comfortably Numb
In September 2015 David Gilmour released his fourth solo record Rattle That Lock, the follow up to the very successful On An Island, has it been almost ten years…time flies. Like his previous solo effort, Gilmour writes the music while the majority of the lyrics are written by his wife, Polly, with the record being somewhat of a concept of basically a “day in the life”. The tour to support the record started with initial dates in Europe and his first trip to South America in 2015, with more dates in Europe and the USA to follow in 2016. His band would be comprised of the same core ensemble of players who worked with the guitarist on his previous tour. The source for this new release comes from the third date on the tour with the venue being a racing course, the Ippodromo Del Visarno. There are four know audience recordings from this show, the one featured here is superb, a completely three dimensional source, this quite a statement considering it is an outside venue, surprisingly it even has quite the punch in the lower bass frequencies. The atmosphere of this concert is beautifully captured, listening gives the experience of almost being there, thankfully the people around the taper are quiet although from time to time you can hear a distant conversation.
The set list for the tour is what one would expect, a nice chuck of material from his new record, a couple from his previous effort plus the obligatory Floyd classics thrown in for good measure. The first grouping of songs, save for a classic bit of Floyd, follows the tracking of his new record, the ambient 5 AM wakes from the slumber with Rattle That Lock being a rather upbeat song with almost pop sensibilities to it. Faces Of Stone has some wonderful clarinet in the mix giving a very Italian melancholy feel to the song. David takes a minute to greet the crowd and tell them of his intention and introduces the next song as “older and better known”, the audience cheer as the flipping of stations is a dead giveaway to Wish You Were Here. The version here is very nice, the use of pedal steel gives a soothing and comfortable feel to the song, Dave still gets into the scat vocal as well.
A Boat Lies Waiting is a song Dave wrote for the late Richard Wright, the audience is respectful throughout the song but for me this version, while superbly played lacks a bit, missing the soft harmonies of David Crosby and Graham Nash. The song perfectly segues into The Blue, from On An Island. The two songs work wonderfully together, the latter features some nice leads from Dave as well. Money wakes the audience from the tranquility of the previous numbers, it is wonderfully detailed in this recording and you hear all the little instruments in perfect clarity. The band do a bit of an almost funky improve in the middle I did not hear on the couple of other concert I listened to from this tour, Dave even flubs the lyrics during the “it’s a gas” line. Theo Travis does an acceptable job taking on Dick Parry’s saxophone parts in Money and Us And Them, on the latter I found myself missing Rick Wright not being in the mix, while sounding full and lush there is just something missing. In Any Tongue is for me reminiscent of Comfortably Numb, with an almost Roger Waters feel to the lyrics, most certainly about a soldiers aftermath of combat. Then song has Gilmour playing some of the most expressionistic and intense leads of the evening.
High Hopes finishes the first set proper, my favorite post Waters Floyd song, it gets a slightly different arraignment on this tour, the pedal steel is kept at a minimum, only for Dave’s final solo and in its place simple acoustic guitars, keyboards, and some nice harmony vocals and while not as intense, equally as beautiful, the song ends with Dave announcing a 20 minute break to rapturous applause. I can remember the excitement of seeing threw Floyd on the Division Bell tour as I knew Astronomy Domine was the opener, since “resurrecting” the song on that tour, David has also elected to include it in his solo concerts as well. The band play the song loosely as it should be, lots of slashing guitar and pulsating rhythms make the song sound fresh and, for me, still relevant. A 10 minute version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond follows, very laid back with many different textures yet still somehow manages to sound rather simplistic, the last couple minutes features some nice band interaction.
Second disc start with some acoustic guitar tuning as Dave introduces his band before “getting on with it” with Fat Old Sun, the song has a similar arraignment to the On An Island tour that is very effective in making a song 45 years old sound fresh. Their next song is a like an extra bonus done on just a few of the European dates, the very personable Coming Back To Life. On An Island features some great playing from Dave and Phil Manzanera as they entwine leads around one another. The Girl In The Yellow dress is perhaps one of the most un Gilmour like songs in his catalog, it has an old school laid back cool cat Jazz feel to it, an obvious musical homage to his early youth where such music was very popular. As on Rattle That Lock, Today follows the smooth Jazz with up tempo rock, a song that sounds like something that would be found on About Face.
The rest of the concert is all Floyd beginning with 1987’s Sorrow, love Gilmour’s playing on this song, for me the standout song from Momentary Lapse Of Reason, Dave plays some Hendrix licks adding the heaviness of the aptly titled piece. Run Like Hell makes its return to the solo Gilmour set, if I am correct it has not been in his set since the 1984 About Face tour (those versions were incredible), the song is the main set closer and brings it to a rousing conclusion. The band takes a brief break before returning for the encores. The audience gives a loud cheer when the sounds of clock chimes and ticking fills the air heralding the Time. In proper fashion they also play the Breathe reprise, the audience sings along with Dave making for a wonderful experience. The band then go into Comfortably Numb, again the audience sings in time with the band, sounding like a far off distant choir, they don’t skip a beat when Dave takes his vocal parts, I half expected them to cheer, they finally do during Dave’s first lead break. Of course the climax to the song and concert is the big solo, Dave proves he can still shred with the best of them. An excellent concert in front of a most respectful audience coupled with an excellent recording, this is one that has been and will continue to be on regular rotation.
The mini LP sleeve is wonderfully adorned with live shots of Gilmour, while the CD sleeves and booklets have mostly posed shots of the Floydman, there are no liner notes but the 2015 European tour dates are listed. A stunning release that no fan of solo Dave or Pink Floyd show should be without, the top notch recording and attractive artwork make for an excellent title to get.