Pink Floyd (minus Roger Waters) has recently released their Pulse double DVD. Directed by veteran music video and concert director David Mallet, and shot on video during Pink Floyd's two-week stint at London's Earls Court Exhibition Centre in October 1994, this 145-minute performance (from Floyd's Division Bell tour) is a sonic marvel to behold. Under a massive arch festooned with then-state-of-the-art laser, lighting, and projection systems, the 1987 incarnation of Pink Floyd (David Gilmour on lead guitar, keyboardist Richard Wright, and drummer Nick Mason) and their stellar supporting band kicks off with "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" (a loving tribute to Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett), followed by four tracks from The Division Bell, two from 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" from 1979's magnum opus The Wall, and leading into intermission with an absolutely stunning performance of "One of These Days," the timeless opening track from 1971's Meddle.
The focus of Disc 2 is a near-perfect performance of 1974's Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety--reason enough to make this a must-have DVD for even the most casual Floyd admirers. And while no one will ever re-create the sheer magnificence of Clare Torry's original tour de force vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky," it's safe to say that backup singers Sam Brown, Claudia Fontaine, and Durga McBroom deliver the next best thing, in addition to seamless contributions throughout the concert. After the closing heartbeat of "Eclipse," the concert ends with encore performances of "Wish You Were Here," "Comfortably Numb," and a no-holds-barred, pyrotechnically explosive rendition of The Wall's "Run Like Hell," all showcasing Gilmour's guitar mastery with frequent close-ups of his picking and fret-work as seen throughout the concert. (Like Gilmour, Mason and Wright were never dynamic onstage, and that's true here as well, but their technical precision is fully evident, and while guitarist Tim Renwick and saxophonist Dick Parry are each given moments to shine, bassist Guy Pratt (Wright's son-in-law) is a worthy substitution for Waters, especially when vocally sparring with Gilmour on "Run Like Hell.")
This is a DVD that requires a number of viewings/auditions to appreciate the quality of the performances contained within it. To some extent, the performance encapsulated within Pulse is a dying breed. Few super groups today put on the stadium extravaganza that was Pink Floyd ( U2 is one of the few that come to mind). If, like me, you were never fortunate enough to see the Floyd live, Pulse is the nearest you're going to get. Put it on your wish list, if only for Gilmour's god-like guitar playing.