November 29, 2007

Unnerving...

by Chris Randall
 

There's some artists which you would give their due acclaim, should the opportunity arise, but you just don't pay close attention to what they're up to in general because they're so fuckin' omnipresent. David Gilmour fits squarely in this category. I mean, he puts out a pretty steady stream of material, and has for several decades now (!!!), but it's just one of those things. I mean, I like Pink Floyd as much as the next guy, and like every other musician on the planet, I know ever single note of Dark Side and WYWH, but I don't set my watch by 'em or anything, you know?


Anyways, yes, there is a point in here eventually. I was flipping through the channels tonight, and I happened upon Rave playing the concert film of the 2006 David Gilmour (and friends, natch) Live At The Royal Albert Hall thingie, and I'm like "oh, this is cool," or whatever. So I'm watching along, and the set is this bizarre fusion of DG shit and Pink Floyd (both the w/ Rog and w/o iterations) songs, with various folks coming up and it's okay and all. I mean, all other things aside, David Gilmour is a fucking excellent guitarist, no mistake.


So it's chugging along, and then in the middle of a bunch of whatever, David Bowie walks out on stage and they bust in to Arnold Layne. While I grant that Rick Wright is the only person on stage that actually performed that song in its original state, so it was more of a cover than anything else, it was (a) shocking, and (b) really fucking cool.


I know that most of the British readers of this site will probably have known about this, because there was a single made of this performance which apparently reached #19 on the UK charts last fall. (I assume #18 was some British indie rock band, and #20 was probably the worst electro-pap imaginable, because the British are like that.)


Okay, so I guess there wasn't actually a point, after all. But I'm a big Bowie fan, and he pwnd the fuck out of that tune, I'm just saying. And whaddya know, here it is on the tube. Who woulda thought it?

 
 
 

16 comments:

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Nov.29.2007 @ 8:35 AM
JG
I flipped past that on PBS the other night (part of their "Great Performances" series, or something)...frankly, I take issue with the constant re-treading of PF material by David Gilmour. I mean, guitar god and all that, but I'd far rather re-watch the young Dave in Live at Pompeii (the new version, only because the various interview bits where they're stoned and coked out of their minds are so fucking hilarious, particularly when he and Rog answer deny that they're a "drug band" and you can see how glazed and bloodshot their eyes are) than see him farting along at whatever decrepit age he's at now.

It really comes down to how I can't stand watching old men have to reenact their glory years from three decades in the past, especially when they're usually not 100% up to the task and, as such, it often comes off as a pale imitation and with a whiff (if not stench) of desperation to remain "relevant". See: Genesis in 2007. Or the fucking Eagles. To quote The Dude: "I fucking hate the Eagles."

This is why I'd rather be a jazz musician than a rocker: being old in jazz is Sonny Rollins playing like a badass motherfucker into his 70's; whereas in rock it's bands from the 70's playing the same 12 songs from their repertoire ad-nauseum like some museum piece. Although, to be fair, the Arnold Layne thing is a little different than simply re-hashing the greatest hits...

Back to DG: it was the profile shot of him very early in the broadcast that did me in, because his Strat was clearly balanced across his corpulent gut.

That said, at least he can still sing well, unlike Rog.

 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 9:26 AM
Dave McAnally
JG- So I take it you aren't holding high expectations for the Led Zeppelin Reunion in a couple weeks?

On that note...neither am I. I mean, I definitely want to see it and find out what the setlist was...but I think Jimmy Page was well into the Fat-Elvis phase of his career when he did that stint with the Black Crowes. Robert Plant hasn't been able to hit those notes in years, so I wouldn't be suprised if the whole affair is tuned down a few steps to accomodate that.

 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 10:06 AM
JG
"I wouldn't be suprised if the whole affair is tuned down a few steps to accomodate that."

That's one of my biggest pet peeves about old-fart reunion tours. I think it doesn't bother non-musicians (generally, inability to play doesn't seem to bother a lot of the public in these situations; for them it's more about wallowing in nostalgia simultaneously with 10,000 other people - definitely the case with The Police), but when they pitch things down, it completely ruins songs - when you write a song, you put it in a specific key for a reason, and a different key completely changes the song. But you're supposed to pretend it's the same thing.

Again, Genesis is a case in point - even though I swore off nostalgia tours years ago (it was Yes that did it for me...I'll spare everyone the gory details), I was slightly interested only because I've never seen Phil and company do their, uh, thing. And because they did promise to play plenty of 70's stuff (although from what I've read the show is dominated by songs from the detestable Invisible Touch). But, then I caught some YouTube-ed footage of them on some VH1 show, doing "Turn It On Again" - pitched down a whole step. I couldn't even make it to the chorus, it was so pathetic.

So, no, no Zep reunion for me. I'll stick to making fun of The Song Remains the Same (though I think I might NetFlix How The West Was Won at some point...).

 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 10:10 AM
Gibbon

David Gilmour's houseboat studio..

link [youtube.com]">link [youtube.com]

 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 10:17 AM
JG
To clarify my comment about The Police: I meant that it's definitely the case that their shows are massive nostalgia-fests; I was NOT saying that they can't play. In that regard, they actually have better reason than most old bands for getting together, because they still apparently rock very hard. And, remember, Andy Summers is older than Mick Jagger!
 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 10:36 AM
neB
I saw Roger Water's DSOTM tour a few months ago and thought they sounded great...He was never much of a singer, but was more than capable to write the music he sung in an appropriate range. David Gilmour has always been the better singer - as well as an amazing guitarist. I watched the same concert two nights ago and enjoyed it and I didn't see a whole lot of the rehashing of PF material. In fact, the portion of the concert they did show was 3/4's Gilmours solo material taken from his most recent 'On an Island' CD - which, I think is great. A great collection of mellow songs that seems appropriate for this point in his career. It maintains his signature sound [even now] without coming across as a 'Pink Floyd' album whatsoever.

JG - It's unfortunate that you can get turned off to his performance by his 61-yr old physique. IMHO, while there are certainly many acts more deserving of ridicule for shitting on a 'better-left-alone' legacy, I certainly wouldn't put Gilmour in the same boat. From what I've seen and read, he is the last guy to try to milk his 'glory days' teet for all it's worth.

As far as Led Zeppelin - I saw their reunion tour in the 90's and Robert Plant wasn't near his game for that tour...No matter how excellent the musicians are or how much processing they go thru, there are too many of their songs that rely on his signature 'wail'...and he ain't 'wailing' as much as choking anymore.

 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 10:45 AM
adamkjohnson
I remember reading somewheres (I think it was Rolling Stone -- oh the shame) that Arnold Layne didn't even show up in live sets during the Syd Barrett days, so I find this doubly impressive.
 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 10:49 AM
JG
neB - point well taken. Admittedly, it was overly judgmental, and the things I've seen are strikingly NON-embarrassing for him. I can't help it, it's a knee-jerk reaction I have to those things - you probably could tell that from my posts above.

I have to assume from his current M.O. that DG milked the glory-day-teet enough for his liking in the late 80's and early 90's, anyway. Judging by how he operates, I have to assume that he's in the minority of rock stars that not only made metric fucktons of money but actually still have some of it left. (And, thus, don't need to be "riding the [nostalgia] gravy traaaaaaaaaiiiiin". Sorry, I couldn't help myself on that one!)

 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 11:59 AM
giantm
Yet another reason I want to move to England the Awesomeness/Land-mass ratio is so much higher...

On the Police front, I caught the tour somewhat accidentally this year, and was generally unimpressed. I'm not much of a fan to begin with, but their performance just seemed uninspired and as performers, they never really "gelled". The crowd went through cycles where conversation would start swelling up, then, in unison, would say to themselves "Oh, fuck, we're watching the Police" and get quiet again, and then start talking again...

 
 

 
Nov.29.2007 @ 6:40 PM
Solipsist Nation
Well, Mr. Bowie IS a god walking the face of the earth, so I'm not surprised he kicked all kinds of ass.

Now I'm going to have to remember to find a recording of this when I'm no longer at work...

 
 

 
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