Pink Floyd
Pulse


4.5
superb

Review

by Med57 EMERITUS
January 19th, 2005 | 58 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist


The Band (on this album): Dave Gilmour (Guitar, Lead Vocals)
Richard Wright: Keyboards, Vocals
Nick Mason: Drums, Percussion

Other musicians: Sam Brown: Backing Vocals
John Carin: Keyboards, Vocals
Claudia Fontaine: Backing Vocals
Durga McBroom: Backing Vocals
Dick Parry: Saxophone
Guy Pratt: Bass, Vocals
Tim Renwick: Guitar, Vocals
Gary Wallis: Percussion

Released: 1995 (EMI)

After the release of 1994ís The Division Bell, Pink Floyd (by now consisting of Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright) went on their final tour, which culminated in a 2 week sold out run at Londonís Earlís Court Stadium. This recording is that of their final date there, and was recorded on October 29, 1994, and contains songs recorded both before and after Roger Waters left the band, and indeed one from when Syd Barrett was still a member. It also features a performance of the bandís best known album, The Dark Side Of The Moon, from start to finish, and shows very clearly that although the band may have been aging, and their newer material may not have been as good as their very best music, they remained a formidable live act, and were still creating good music, rather than just resting on their previous record.

Disc 1
1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5). The first half of the band's epic 25 minute tribute to former front man Syd Barrett, this has an air of great emotional intimacy here, which serves as a very good set opener. Dave Gilmour's guitar work and tone replicates the studio recording very well, and when the four note guitar line of "Syd's theme" comes in after the anticipation, it's one of the best moments of the album. Although Gilmour's voice has also clearly matured since the album this is taken from was recorded, and even though Roger Waters sang on the studio version of this song, his voice has definitely not lost any of its quality, and the performance here, aided by some of the many backing singers in places, is incredible. 5/5.

2. Astronomy Domine . The only song taken from the Barrett era, it's another definite success, with the section during the middle of the song, where Gilmour's guitar takes the lead in the song being particularly good. Although it's obviously very different from the music that the band would make later, this song also shows the genius of Syd Barrett, and the sheer scope of his musical imagination, and is also very well performed. 5/5.

3. What Do You Want From Me. The intro to this sounds a lot like Have A Cigar, and in fact the whole song has that sort of feel to it. One of the most controversial things about these concerts were the number of people on stage, with some critics saying that it devalued the concept of a Pink Floyd tour, but there's no question on this song that Gilmour is very much in command, and the backing vocals simply merge very well with his, meaning that this is a song that works well in the large Earl's Court Arena. 4.5/5.

4. Learning To Fly. One of the stronger songs from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, it's performed well here, with the breakdown in the middle of the song before Gilmour's vocals return being particularly notable. Lyrically this is also one of the best songs recorded after Waters left the band, and it definitely shows that although the two post-Waters albums were not brilliant, to condemn them as being without merit would be completely incorrect. The drumming towards the end also brings this to a very strong conclusion. 5/5.

5. Keep Talking. Opening with a taped spoken effect, the slower, more laid back nature of this song doesn't really work as well as the others have done so far, although, needless to say, the solo from Gilmour is little short of incredible, and really shows how confidently he took control of the band after the departure of Roger Waters, and also that he remains a great guitarist. The lyrical interplay between him and the choir isn't anything too special though, and along with the atypically poor lyrics, this gets 3.5/5.

6. Coming Back To Life. Opening with very ambient guitar work from Dave Gilmour, this initially reminds the listener a bit of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, especially due to the (somewhat) prolonged wait for the lyrics to begin. This, possibly more than anything else on the album is a Gilmour solo song, with drums, and every other instrument only coming in after quite a long time, and even then, none of the complex music that the band are famous for being present. It's still a strong song though, and therefore gets 4/5.

7. Hey You. One of the more famous songs from The Wall, you'd immediately wonder on hearing this about whether Gilmour could possibly replace Roger Waters on this song, that was so important to Waters's final masterpiece. Well, although it's probably fair to say that no-one could quite live up to that, Gilmour does a better job than many people would have thought, so this song in fact doesn't have any real live weaknesses, and recaptures the feeling of the original very well. Again, the guitar solo is pulled off perfectly, and although the songs from the band's most recent two albums have been good, it's also notable that there's a definite jump in quality when songs from the classic era of the band are played. 5/5.

8. A Great Day For Freedom. With references to the wall coming down, and a haunting piano part, this initially reminds you of a song from disc 2 of The Wall, but the subsequent variation between upbeat and more haunting music means that this song invokes conflicting emotions in you, making it a curiosity of the first disc, and showing that the band are still experimenting somewhat, rather than just sticking to a formula that would have been incredibly popular. 4/5.

9. Sorrow. A truly epic song, this drags a bit at the start, with Gilmour's atypically rough tone starting to grate. When the rest of the band join him though, things improve, and this quickly turns into a great live version of one of the most important songs on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, which refers to the emotions felt within the band over the legal struggles, and problems within the band, and with Roger Waters. It's got a groovy feel to it as well, that also comes across well on this CD, meaning that in spite of its length (it's even longer than the studio recording), it's a definite success. 4.5/5.

10. High Hopes. A darker song, the effect of a bell tolling in the background adds atmosphere to the song, which makes it really feel as if the band are in a far more intimate surrounding than they actually are. Gilmour's vocals sound pleading, almost desperate at times, that also works very well, and reinforces the mood still further. Nick Mason's drumming, which becomes more prominent as the song goes on, before fading out again, helps make this a more modern masterpiece by the band, and means that this song gets 5/5.

11. Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2). If there's one real disappointment on this CD, I'd say that this is it. Although the disco mood of the song is recaptured very well, as is the original segue from The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, this song quite simply needs Roger Waters in order for it to work as well as it can do, and Dave Gilmour's voice, although quite a good impression, is just too different to manage it successfully. The children's choir are present though, which means that although this song isn't as good as it could be, it's by no means a complete failure. And, of course, the elongated guitar solo is excellent. 4/5.

Disc 2
The Dark Side Of The Moon. Rather than doing a track by track review of Pink Floyd's best known collection of songs, I'm going to talk about how the final ever complete performance of them went. Put simply, this could be summed up as excellent, although, naturally, there are some clear highlights. Foremost among these are the use of the tape effects, which are so important to the album, as well as the vocals, which emerge during the album, to say things such as "I'm not frightened of dying, any time will do."

The overall tone of the album is also recaptured brilliantly. Possibly due to the fact that Roger Waters had much less of an effect on the making of this album, the more laid back, spaced out nature of it works very well, with Breathe being a excellent example of this, with it's languid chords and Gilmour's voice complementing each other perfectly. On The Run was a bit of an oddity on the studio album, as well as being one of the most evident moments showing the link to insanity, which the album referred to so many times. It works well here though, with the effects being replicated, and indeed improved, and a similar air of rapid tension being built. Time gets one of the biggest cheers of the evening, when the clocks at the beginning start chiming, and, along with Wish You Were Here, it's also one of the biggest crowd sing-alongs of the show. Even from the sound of it, it's apparent that the band are genuinely enjoying themselves as well, with Gilmour's initial vocals being virtually bellowed out. That's a persistent theme of the album in fact; after all these years performing the songs, the band still makes them sound fresh-something which is to their great credit.

If Time is good though, The Great Gig In The Sky is a revelation. It's easy to see how this track could fail live, but the vocals are quite brilliant, coming close to, although in all fairness not surpassing, those of Claire Torry, and judging by the crowd's response, it's not just on the album that this song sounds great. And there's even the famous "If you can hear this whisper, you are dying" line overdubbed over the vocals, again showing the full ambition of the band in replicating this album live. Next comes Money, with the bassline that was Roger Water's most famous. Again, this is a faultless live version, and I personally think it improves on the original in parts, most notably in the middle, where Gilmour's soloing coming over some improvised drumming by Nick Mason, and a jazzy breakdown, that sounds like it could have been in the original, but is all the more impressive, since the band are largely improvising it. Again, the fact that Waters's vocals don't feature is barely noticeable, and certainly doesn't lower the standard.

The combination of Us And Them, and Any Colour You Like, which work so well together on record are also similarly good here, although there aren't any significant deviations from the originals. Both songs are among the most uplifting in terms of mood that the band recorded, and in spite of all that happened since they were recorded, they remain so here, on the final performance of them. These 2 songs are definitely linked in the minds of Floyd fans, but so too are Brain Damage and Eclipse, which provide the triumphant climax of the original album. They also provide a great end to the main set here, with their message being as relevant today as it was in 1973, re-iterating the timeless quality not only of the band, but in particular of this album. Gilmour's initial, semi-whispered vocals turn into full out rock proclamations, with the famous promise, "And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on The dark side of the moon", sounding like an answer to some deep, profound question even more so than on the album. As for Eclipse, well...we all know what a good closer to The Dark Side Of The Moon it is, and I don't think any more needs to be said here other than the fact that, unsurprisingly enough, it's a rather good set closer as well. As a collection of songs therefore, this unsurprisingly gets 5/5.

11. Wish You Were Here. Basically any Pink Floyd fan will admit to a complete love of this song, and hearing this live version will have a similar effect on most. Listening to the crowd chanting back every word, there's an inescapable feeling of community, memory of the history of the band, and that of all the songs they performed here, this one is the most loved. I can't even begin to describe this, apart from to say that this is as good a live version of the band's best song as I can imagine.5/5.

12. Comfortably Numb. One of the most famous songs from The Wall, it misses Roger Watersís vocals, although to a lesser extent than on Another Brick In The Wall, but the focus of this song are two quite amazing solos from Dave Gilmour, particularly the second solo, which is drawn out, and provides the best example of why Gilmour is considered by many to be a truly great guitarist. Itís rare that guitar solos can come close to knocking the breath out of the listener, but this song provides one of those examples.5/5.

13. Run Like Hell. Although possibly a surprising choice for a set closer, it works far better than you might think, and is extended far beyond its normal length, thanks to both the intro and outro being elongated. For the first time on a song from The Wall here, Roger Waters's absence isnít really felt at all, and I personally prefer this version to the studio version, and as such, this, the last song that the band played live, also gets 5/5.

In summary, this is a very good live album. Although some people would want a setlist including more of their best known work, they're definitely compensated with the entirety of The Dark Side Of The Moon, and the presence of recent material shows that the band know how to juggle both demands for old songs, and their own wishes to show that they were not a spent force. As the band's last gig, this CD is historical, and it's pleasing to see that they didn't go out with a whimper, but instead showing that with or without Roger Waters, they were more than capable of making and performing good music. Dave Gilmour is very much in control on this album, and virtually every song features a fantastic guitar solo from him, meaning that for any fans of the band, especially if, like me, you never got to see them live, this is a very good buy.

Final Rating: 4.5/5.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Kingofdudes
January 19th 2005


294 Comments


Already responded to your old review but my favorite tracks on here are: Comfortably numb,High Hopes, SOYCD, and Run Like Hell.


Great Review.This Message Edited On 08.20.05

Big-Bird
February 7th 2005


2 Comments


Should I buy this or Animals?

Med57
Moderator
February 8th 2005


1001 Comments


Get Animals. That's their 3rd best album, in my opinion, and is essential listening for any Floyd fan.

Kingofdudes
February 10th 2005


294 Comments


Tr00, after Animals get this over Delicate Sound of Thunder

-Gilmour

Dragon_Prince
August 20th 2005


272 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really like this album, even more then animals or such ... nice review great album

Knoxvillelives
August 28th 2005


342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For the price...(generally about 30 pounds), this CD is bit of a rip off. There is almost NO difference what-so-ever between these versions to the album versions apart from Gilmours matured voice, which doesnt sound as good as it did. I'd go for Echoes: The Greatest Hits.
The run through of Dark Side is totally pointless...unless you're there, a performance of an album adds nothing to a CD.
Great performances and everything...but without Roger, it's not Pink Floyd...and without having been there...I don't think it's worth it. Also, you said Gilmour does a good job of imitating Roger's voice...but it's a different guy doing Roger's part mostly, on Run Like Hell, Hey You etc.This Message Edited On 08.28.05

Knoxvillelives
August 28th 2005


342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thoroughly recommended if you want a Floyd Live experience now the real thing are 'retired' (assuming of course they dont take the hinted at 150,000,000 to tour America) are The Australian Pink Floyd. Absolutely brilliant, and I found the woman who performed Great Gig In The Sky was much better than the vocalist on PULSE (who I dont think was much good at all, although to be fair she'd probably done it many, many times. On the album, Torry switches between falsetto...or a cracked voice whatever and her normal singing voice effortlessly, on Pulse there's a noticable breath)
And u get a free CD of the show you saw (with leaflet and proper graphics etc.) the next month.
Well worth a look, I saw them for about 15 pound. BitchinThis Message Edited On 08.28.05

hahacharadeyouare
August 31st 2005


17 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

fisrt, i'm sorry for my english, understand that i'm from argentina :P
i think this is one of the best live albums i ever heard... and one of the most brilliant of pink floyd, exellent review :D


taylormemer
November 30th 2005


4944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A truly amazing live compilation. And the light display on the video is spectacular. A real winner.
Good review.

Knoxvillelives
November 30th 2005


342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Worth getting the DVD?
I've only ever seen it on HMVs web site, it's only 13 quid I think, on the Xmas list methinks

Kingofdudes
November 30th 2005


294 Comments


I heard the DVD has been pushed back again, into april :-/

Med57
Moderator
December 1st 2005


1001 Comments


What! That's so lame...I was really looking forward to that.

Kingofdudes
December 1st 2005


294 Comments


oeg123g12r23r123f3fg13
I mean January ugh, too much work and too little sleep makes me :downsthe fact that I had to edit this comment 20 times proves that)

Amazon says January 17th. They are now taking pre-orders so it may stay.This Message Edited On 11.30.05

Morvit
March 27th 2006


71 Comments


Amazon says September 12, 2006 now...... OMG

pulseczar
March 28th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bleh, sounds way too artificial. Back in the day, Pink Floyd only needed 4 men, a saxophonist, adn some coloured ladies to play songs like Shine On and all of Dark Side. This is boring, listening to a bunch of touring musicians, and three now lazy members play Floyd. Maybe it's just me.

Kingofdudes
March 29th 2006


294 Comments


wtf, have you seen the crews they had back during DSotM times?

I dont see why you hate the Gilmour years so much.

pulseczar
March 29th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Musicians, not crew. I don't care how big a crew they have, of course they'll have a big one for those elaborate tours. I probably exaggerated though.
Meh, AMLOR is really the only thing I hate from post-Waters Floyd. Everything else is ok or just good. Out of the solo albums, Gilmour's On an Island, Waters' Pros & Cons, and Wright's Broken China are the ones I like, I'm not biased towards any of them. To me, it was always the dynamic of those four (or with Barrett) that made Floyd amazing, and simply put, Gilmour's Floyd proved that to me.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 6th 2006


3777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I adroe this album, its the first Floyd album I had and I was blown away. That was a wicked review too though. I want the DVD! AGH! Actualy, Ive seen it once though, 'casue a frined of mine managed to SOMEHOW pick up a copy of it in Thailand. Its insane, I loved it. Can't wait to get my own copy. Also, the Artwork on this album, the pictures, the booklet, etc, is some of the grestest I have in my CD collection.This Message Edited On 05.06.06

hahacharadeyouare
October 4th 2007


17 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

roger's voice is fucked up, roger's playing its also fucked up


great job gilmour the best pink floyd album... and for the one who said that there is no difference with the album versions... GET AN EAR MICROPHONE OR A HORN, u r def man

dub sean
December 13th 2007


980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I had to bump this up form a 4 to a 4.5, this album is simply amazing.



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