OAKLAND PARAMOUNT THEATRE
Oakland, CA 94612
Live Review: David Gilmour
in Oakland, CA
by Jim Harrington
Imagine seeing Pink Floyd perform in an intimate theater or club, something that most fans under 50 never had the chance to do. That's pretty much what it was like to see David Gilmour in concert at the lovely Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA.
That's not to say that the legendary guitarist-vocalist devoted the show to Pink Floyd's best-known songs. To the contrary, Gilmour's concert on Sunday (4/16) drew strongly from new material and tracks that rank, at least relatively speaking, as Floyd obscurities.
Impressively, the new stuff and the hidden gems sounded nearly as good as the established fan favorites.
The 60-year-old rocker, who also performed on Monday at the opulent art-deco palace, is touring in support of "On an Island." It's a big deal for Gilmore to have new product on the shelves. His previous solo recording was 1984's "About Face" and his last Pink Floyd studio effort was 1994's "The Division Bell" That's why fans were in such a lather over these shows, both of which sold out rather quickly.
Gilmour was backed by a superb band, which included Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright. That meant that fans were witnessing two-thirds of the current Pink Floyd lineup. Roger Waters supporters would counter that, without the bassist/singer/songwriter in the mix, fans are only getting a cheap imitation of what was once a great band. (Waters left the band following 1983's "The Final Cut.")
But the fact is that Pink Floyd has been a trio for roughly half of the band's career. With due respect to Nick Mason, the classic-rock group's longtime drummer, watching Gilmour and Wright perform together was pretty darn close to hearing Pink Floyd.
Equally important is that Gilmour was accompanied by Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music fame. Manzanera might be one of the most undervalued guitarists in the business. Gilmour, however, knows Manzera's value. These fans found out, too, as Manzanera provided killer rhythm work throughout the night.
Gilmour opened his spectacular two-hour set with a journey back to "The Dark Side of the Moon," which caused the fans to react like $100 bills were being dropped from the ceiling. The stellar guitarist, who was ranked by Rolling Stone
magazine as one of the 100 best of all time, kicked off with "Breathe" and followed with "Time." Although it's safe to say that these fans have heard those tracks dozens of times, blasted out in smoky dorm rooms and from the tapedecks of '67 Camaros, both numbers sounded incredibly fresh and exciting. It's no wonder that "Dark Side" continues to find its way onto the playlists of new generations of listeners.
Gilmour then moved from "The Dark Side" and performed the 10-track "On an Island" from start to finish. That was a great way to present the album--as a complete work of art--and it really made me reevaluate what I had originally assessed to be a mediocre album. Gilmour's guitar work was brilliant and he delivered absolutely gorgeous leads on "Castellorizon" and the title track.
After a short break, Gilmour's group was back for a second set that opened in exhilarating fashion with the classic "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" (from 1975's "Wish You Were Here"). Many thought that song signaled the start of an avalanche of classic-rock radio staples, one that would bring such songs as "Money," "Us and Them," "Have a Cigar" and "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2."
Gilmour, however, had other plans. He immediately dove into his bag of obscurities and produced winning versions of "Wots ... Uh the Deal" (from 1972's "Obscured by Clouds"), "Dominoes" (a track written by original Floyd member Syd Barrett) and "High Hopes" (from "The Division Bell").
He closed the main set with a thrilling return to "Echoes," the 20-minute-plus epic found on 1971's "Meddle," and then came back for the fan-friendly encore of "Wish You Were Here."
I'll bet you wish you were there.
a01 Breathe>Time>Breathe (reprise) 11:28 2
a02 Castellorizon 11:47 2
a03 The Blue 06:38 2
a04 Red Sky At Night 07:54 2
a05 This Heaven 09:43 2
a06 Smile 04:34 2
a07 Take A Breath 07:04 2
a08 A Pocketful of Stones 06:14 2
a09 Where We Start 07:33 2
b01 Shine On You Crazy Diamond 12:06 2
b02 Wots... Uh The Deal 05:35 2
b03 Dominoes 05:24 2
b04 Coming Back To Life 07:09 2
b05 High Hopes 09:13 2
b06 Echoes 24:31 2
e01 Wish You Were Here 05:57
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