“Then Kate, her son Bertie, and who I have to assume was his nanny, got out of a black cab and came in. I was speechless, so THRILLED to see Kate up close! She passed by, politely declining requests for autographs or pictures (and I refrained from taking any, out of respect for her), and went inside…I actually got to see and hear Kate Bush perform live, which I never believed would ever really happen!”
(Thanks to Michael – who improved the quality of the pics for us.)
Review of David Gilmour – Friday 18th January 2002 at the Royal Festival Hall, London. By John (A5JCE@aol.com)
To give some background – last year Robert Wyatt was asked by the Royal Festival Hall, London to run that years Meltdown. He asked David Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s guitarist to come and perform a set, which he did on 22 June 2001. That set was basically an acoustic set and featured a number of Floyd songs together with a Syd Barrett song, a song from a Bizet opera, a new song and a lullabye from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – I kid you not.At that show Dave got an outstanding reception and the show was hailed by many as one of the most amazing Gilmour performances. It was a stripped down set – no flying pigs, no lasers, no movie screens and all in a small venue. It seems that that performance (his first live show since the 29 October 94 when Floyd finished their last world tour) stirred him into doing some more shows.
I got a phone call many months ago early one morning saying that he was going to to another show at the Festival Hall in January so immediately I booked tickets. A few days later and another call – a second show had been added and more tickets were bought. A few days later and another call – a third show and more purchases. Without hesitation I bought tickets to all three at £45 each!!!!! But hey the June show was so good I just had to do it – and what would he come up with this time? Little did I or anyone else know the incredible surprises that awaited all those lucky to buy those tickets.
All three shows sold out very quickly and the only notification of the shows was on the Festival Hall’s website (www.rfh.org.uk) – word of mouth was the key. Then adverts started to appear in the national press for the first two shows but by then they were sold out.
Time passes slowly when you are waiting for such shows – but time did pass and on Wednesday last week I caught the train to London, checked into my hotel and headed to the Festival Hall arriving at about 3pm. There I meet some German friends who had come over for Junes gig and were here again. I first met them at a Roger Waters (Floyd member) show in the US in 99. Also there were many UK friends and a chap who had come from Brisbane for the shows! He deserves a prize for the longest journey to see a show – 23 hours in a plane. But he had waited 15 years to see Gilmour live and wasn’t going to miss the chance now.
As I was chatting it was revealed to me that one of the German guys had spoken to the bass player (Chucho Merchan) when he arrived that day. He had said that each night would be different. There would be a guest each night, and they were to be Robert Wyatt, Bob Geldof and Kate Bush. Later that day Richard Wright, the Floyd’s keyboardist arrived – this was going to be a sublime show – 2/3 of Pink Floyd live in a small arena doing an acoustic set – and my seats were 4th row.
The three nights were essentially the same. Doors open at 8pm for the support act. On Wed and Thur it was Ghostland, the band of Gilmours cellist, Caroline Dale. They did a short set from 8.15 to 8.45. On Friday it was Trashmonk, Nick Laird-Clowes band. He was the guy behind Dream Academy and co-wrote some songs on the last Floyd album, The Division Bell.
There was then a a short break till 9.15 when Dave walked on stage.
He walked on, on his own and picked up his acoustic guitar and started to play Shine on you Crazy Diamond. Two minutes into the song most of the audience recognised it and a loud cheer went up. Then silence and they listened. The show, as with June’s, was great in that whilst he was playing there was silence. In between there were cheers and various shouts from the audience – a number of which he replied to. It was the same on all three nights.
The setlist for all three nights was the same and very similar to the Meltdown show, and included Comfortably Numb. On Wed Robert Wyatt reprised his role from the June show by singing two verses – the first and third, taking the part of the wicked doctor. On Thursday he was the turn of Bob Geldof who played the central character in Pink Floyd The Wall film (although he didn’t actually sing the song in the film whilst he did sing other Floyd tunes).
On Friday at about 3pm Kate arrived, on foot, at the venue. It seems that rehearsals were around 4pm each day. She was recognised by the few people that hung around the artist’s entrance to the Hall, but politely declined requests for autographs and walked straight in.
Tonight, Friday the guest on Comfortably Numb, was to be Kate Bush. After the end of Wish You Were Here, Dave said “Now we’re going to sing Comfortably Numb now, and to play the part of the wicked doctor, I’d like to invite Kate Bush to come and sing with us”. At this point Kate walked on to huge applause that lasted ages – her applause was certainly louder and longer that that received by either Robert Wyatt or Bob Geldof.
At the front of the stage there was a stand with the lyrics that Kate was to sing together with a mike stand just to the right of Dave. A piano intro lead quickly into the first lines which she sang beautifully and with real pain as the original is intended. Her performance was to a stunned silenced crowd. The second verse was taken by Dave to initial cheers, with Kate joining in on harmonies, whereas on previous nights the guest did not.
There is then a piano section that leads into one of Dave’s most famous guitar solos which he did on an electric guitar heralding cheers both before and after the solo.
Verse three was Kate’s turn. Again superbly handled. Verse four was Dave with Kate again taking harmonies. Another guitar solo. Throughout the time Kate was on stage she was watching Dave sing and play moving slowly to the music. She was dressed all in black – a dress I think – very reminiscent of her Wuthering Heights outfit.
The end of the song produced a huge round of applause at which point Kate went over to Dave and gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. She then walked off towards Michael Kamen, who was on piano, and also gave him a hug and kiss.
I don’t know if she hung around for the after show party, but she wasn’t seen leaving the venue after the party like the rest of the band and guests.
The show was filmed professionally by a 10 camera team. One high in the balcony, one by the sound board, one to the right, two to the left (a long shot and a near shot), three at stage front and two on stage. Only Thursday’s and Friday’s shows were filmed – for some reason they didn’t bother on Wed. Gilmour’s June gig was also filmed so there may be a DVD out – but the Floyd are well know for filming and taping shows then never releasing them. It took them 20 years to release a live CD of the original Wall shows in London. So don’t hold your breath.