Echoes Over New York City (Check This Out GIL06-1, 2)
Radio City Music Hall, New York, – April 4th, 2006
Disc 1: Castellorizon,This Heaven, Smile, Red Sky At Night, Take A Breath, Then I Close My Eyes, On An Island (w/Crosby & Nash), The Blue (w/Crosby & Nash), A Pocketful Of Stones, Where We Start
Disc 2: Shine On You Crazy Diamond (w/Crosby & Nash), Wearing The Inside Out, Dominoes, Fat Old Sun, Breathe/Time/Breathe reprise, High Hopes, Echoes, Wish You Were Here, Find The Cost Of Freedom (w/Crosby & Nash – one of their songs), Comfortably Numb
David Gilmour had eight performances in North America last year in support of On An Island. Seven were before a paid audience and one was a private session at Sony Studios on April 7th for an XM radio broadcast. April 4th is the first date of the tour and the first of two nights at the Radio City Music Hall and is documented on Echoes Over New York City on the European label Check This Out. The tape is a very good to excellent stereo audience recording some distance from the stage. Louder numbers like “Take A Breath” sound much better than the rest. The echo can be distracting at times as well as the audience comments close to the recorder (to be expected from a loquacious New York crowd). There are some minor cuts between some of the tracks but no music nor talking is lost.
After the “Castellorizon” introductory soundscape and the bluesy “This Heaven”, Gilmour says, “Good evening. It’s nice to be in New York City. It’s been a while. I hope you’re all sitting comfortably. We’re going to play the whole of the new album On An Island in the first half tonight. Sit back and relax…This is called ‘Smile'”. After the dreamy “Then I Close My Eyes” Gilmour introduces the band including Richard Wright, who receives the biggest ovation. After the band’s introduction he says, “A couple of reasons why we didn’t do this album in the right order tonight. And they are here to sing with us right now. Would you welcome Mr. David Crosby and Mr. Graham Nash.” They add harmony to the latter half of the opening set, for “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, and they all sing “Find The Cost Of Freedom” in the encore. The beginning of the second set gets off to a rough start with Gilmour flubbing the opening to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, but the audience appreciate the second half much more since it is dominated by Pink Floyd songs. Wright sings “Wearing The Inside Out” to more applause and is followed by the very dated Syd Barret tune “Dominoes”. The set ends with “Echoes” that sounds good, although not as strong as in the Frankfurt show. The show ends with the final encore “Comfortably Numb” with Wright singing Roger Waters’ parts.
Kelefa Sannah, reviewing the show for the New York Times, observes, ” When David Gilmour played Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday night, he split his concert in half. The first half, which consisted of all the songs from his new album, On an Island (Columbia), was the reason he was there. The second half, stocked with favorites from his band, Pink Floyd, was the reason the audience was there. Mr. Gilmour is known as one of the most courteous avant-garde rock veterans around (though there’s scant competition for the title), and some of that politeness has clearly rubbed off on the fans: they listened happily, sometimes enthusiastically, to the new stuff. And they knew that after an intermission they would get what they paid for: smoke, lasers, “Comfortably Numb.”… The pioneering music of Pink Floyd changed shape so many times that it barely makes sense to talk about the band’s legacy: instead, there are legacies. You could hear an antecedent of today’s freak-folk scene when Mr. Gilmour sang “Dominoes,” a song by the singer-songwriter Syd Barrett, who left the band shortly after Mr. Gilmour joined.
“You could hear a primordial form of metal during the loud squalls of “Echoes,” from the 1971 album Meddle. And you could hear a thousand hard-rock bands in the grand, note-bending, snail’s-pace guitar solos that showed up in nearly every song. Instead of trying to play circles around the music, Mr. Gilmour peels off notes so slowly that the music seems to play circles around him. (Uh-oh. Maybe it’s impossible to write about a Pink Floyd song without sounding like one.) The night’s surprise guests were old friends: David Crosby and Graham Nash….And if the CD, his first solo album since 1984, sounds like the unhurried, even drowsy work of a rock veteran who knows that longtime fans will enjoy whatever music he enjoys making – well, that’s exactly what it is…. So the concert’s first half was self-indulgent by design, devoted to the kind of meditative, ostentatious music that most newer bands don’t – thank goodness – emulate. Which was fine with the fans; a musician’s least influential tendencies are sometimes the ones that come to seem the most intrinsic. Mr. Gilmour earned a roar when he played slow notes on a saxophone in the introduction to “Red Sky at Night.” It turns out that even on a saxophone, he still sounds unmistakably like himself.” (“At Radio City, David Gilmour Delivers Echoes of Pink Floyd”, April 6th, 2006).
Echoes Over New York City is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with nice inserts and is a very nice production. Check This Out has released several Stones titles from their latest tour but this is their only Gilmour release to date and is very much recommended.