I often complain that California, specifically in the Los Angeles area always seems to get the best concerts. I really shouldn’t complain however because I live about an hour away from Toronto. Toronto seems to get it’s fair share of concerts as well. It truly is a wonderful city, and the music fans in and around the area support both local and international artists. Often big acts announce multiple night shows in this city. I remember when U2 had a 5 night run of shows in Toronto. They announced a Monday show, it sold out in less than a minute, then tickets went on sale for the remaining 4 shows, and in minutes the entire weeknight was full, with around 15,000 per show.
David Gilmour released an album last year ( review here ), his first in 9 years, and he recently announced “North American” tour dates. Apparently, by North American he means 4 cities. L.A. of course, New York, Chicago and Toronto. I have vowed that I will do what I can to see aging rock stars, because you never know when their time performing, or on this earth will be up. I have regretted not seeing my heroes before. My biggest regret was being asked to go see Ronnie James Dio. I said “next time.”, and he died shortly after. I’ve seen Roger Waters live, but never David Gilmour, and this might be my last chance, so I had to go. The below video shows the other members performing with David. Of note for me was Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music fame.
We hopped on the subway and my wife chatted with a couple from Goderich that were also going to the show. They mentioned that their seats were not very good. I asked where they were sitting. “On the floor, 30 rows back” was his response. I felt like asking if he wanted to trade for my upper level tickets. She told us to follow her. We got off the subway and within 1 minute she didn’t know where she was. I said let’s go outside, and when I saw the CN Tower we headed that way. It must seem funny to a Toronto person, but when you come out of the ground and are surrounded by huge buildings on all sides, it is easy for the rest of us to lose our sense of direction. I saw a familiar overpass and we headed into the ACC. I already have all the music, and have too many t shirts so we got a drink and headed to our seats. We were just sitting down when David hit the stage.
5 A.M. – Some may feel it is risky to start off with an instrumental off a new album. Some would not have heard David’s amazing guitar work though.
Rattle That Lock – The leadoff single from the new album is a really good song, and from what I gathered many fans knew it, which is a good thing.
Faces Of Stone – Another song off the new album adds the brilliance of multiple stringed instruments and fine organ playing to amazing guitar.
Wish You Were Here – I felt a chill, and was covered in goosebumps when this song started, and the feeling of elation lasted for the entire song. I last felt like this seeing Rush perform 2112 in it’s entirety. There is no way to describe the feeling I felt. But I will try. WOW. JUST WOW.
What Do You Want From Me – I’ve seen footage of when this song was first played in 1994, and I actually prefer the 2016 version. It seems that just like fine wine, David’s voice has actually gotten better with age.
A Boat Lies Waiting – This song was inspired by Rick Wright(RIP), who lived on a boat. This song brings us back to the new album. As with the entire setlist, David plays a few solo songs, then a few Pink Floyd songs to keep everyone happy.
The Blue – Mellow song that sets a nice tone until David’s amazing guitar has us all playing air guitar hero.
Money – All we need to hear is the bass and the cash registers and over 14,000 people all scream in unison just like young kids getting their first puppy. Props to Joao Mello for his wonderful work on the sax.
Us And Them – Wonderfully soothing keyboards begin this song off, and the saxophone keeps it classy. Then David, and most of the audience members combine for an epic sing-along.
In Any Tongue – The video speaks volumes about this song. Cartoon characters aside, this song takes over where John Lennon left off in terms of an anti-war protest.
High Hopes – A large bell chiming and piano keys begin this song off. David’s voice most often stays in a low, deep tone. When his voice raises a few octaves however, we all sit up and take notice. Then his steel guitar work then reels us in like a fish on a hook.
Astronomy Domine – After a 20 minute break David comes storming back with the Syd Barrett era song. This is an epic, psychedelic journey that will surely keep the oldest Pink Floyd fans happy. Of note is the Fender Esquire David uses to try and get that Syd sound .
Shine On You Crazy Diamond ( Parts I-V) – One of my favourite tunes. Written about Syd Barrett. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Syd’s passing. I can only assume he would be happy with this performance, even though David did slightly mess up the chords twice.
Fat Old Sun – The first half is a mellow acoustic affair, the second an electric onslaught. Just like chocolate and peanut butter, they go well together.
Coming Back To Life – Amazing guitar work and string bending galore set the tone for this song.
The Girl In The Yellow Dress – I was very shocked when I heard this song starting. I told my wife it was a beautiful jazz song, but did not feel it was like any other Gilmour song. I’m glad he included it though.
Today – Great guitar effects and the background singers put this song over the top.
Sorrow – The guitar takes centre stage here, and even when the other instruments and vocals join in, the riffs are all we remember.
Run Like Hell – Mere milliseconds into the song, the audience screams in approval. A perfect song to try and beat thousands of other concert goers to the subway.
Time – After pretending he is done for the night, David roars back with this song to start the encore performance. The alarm clocks tell us we better not fritter away the hours in an offhand way.
Breathe (Reprise) – We all sang along to the softly spoken magic spells.
Comfortably Numb – There was a lot of commotion near me as fellow concert goers and then paramedics were attempting to revive someone who actually was a little too comfortably numb. Perhaps they gave him a little pin prick, as he regained consciousness and was escorted off. I was still able to focus on the brilliance that was happening on stage. I was glad he was ok, and was glad I got to see David Gilmour and company.
David did not do any songs off of his early solo works, which is a shame, and I would prefer a different setlist from night to night on the tour. However we were treated to 22 wonderful songs, and all David, no opening act. His voice is in peak form even though the man is 70 years old. I watched clips of him singing in the 80’s and he actually sounds better now. Many of my other musical legends do not sound like they did back in the day. David does. Even though he messed up a couple of chords on guitar, I would prefer this when I see a band live. This tells me they are actually playing the notes. Props to the camera and sound guys. It looked and sounded beautiful. I especially liked the camera focused right in on David’s guitar, where we could watch all the hand movements and string bending riffs. I suggest if you get a chance to see him play live, you go for it. It might be your last.