I watched my new dvd of Pink Floyd: Pulse and enjoyed it a lot. What’s not to like with freshly mixed 5.1 surround sound, cool packaging and some really great songs? The 2 dvd set is a document of Pink Floyd’s 1994 lineup and Division Bell show at Earl's Court in London.
I'm a casual fan of the band being familiar with Dark Side of the Moon courtesy of the tutelage of my older brothers just before they crossed over to the dark side. The Wall was a fascinating album to me at 15, although all I really understood was that it sounded pretty damned great in spots and got me to happily yell along with Hey! Teacher!, leave us kids alone!
The 2nd disc in the set has the band performing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety along with some great encores. Disc 1 also has some great stuff but also some material I wasn't familiar with. To make up for that, there is a lot of spectacular lighting design, filmed bits and “lazers” to take in.
The venue looks spectacularly large and the crowd very well behaved but that makes sense when you realize thousands of people are fervently praying that they timed their drugs just so.
The camera work was pretty static and really showed off the massive attack the boys launched on the crowd. I’d read someone’s criticism that they felt the camera jumped around too much. I completely disagree. If you want to see some slapdash editing and manic camera movement, try KISS Symphony sometime, a cool but near motion sickness inducing show. (But, KISS and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in full KISS makeup? Yes please.)
Now, as much as I liked the music, the lights, the sound and the fury, I wondered if the band actually needed to be there. They were physically distanced from the crowd by a fair bit and nearly inanimate. You might say that it’s entertainment enough for them just to recreate their songs in grand fashion but, guys, a little movement goes a long way. There was one percussionist who did some jumping around and the backup singers had their own groovy syncopation going on but otherwise I felt a bit emotionally disconnected from the whole experience.
Everyone in the front rows must have enjoyed the complimentary tans provided by the lighting effects although they may have been a bit unhappy about the lack of visual perspective on the whole production otherwise.
When Bjork was here a few summers ago and played a general admission concert on Toronto Island, I held back a bit from getting too close and was glad I did because I’d read that she had her own fireworks in tow on the tour. She set them off in sync with four of her songs and seeing the lake behind her and the Toronto skyline lit up while she sang was pure magic.
Back to the Floyd, if you’re a fan or just someone who enjoys a nice spectacle now and then, I’d recommend the Pulse dvd. It’s one of those things that I’ve let play while I’m futzing about doing other things and it’s just as much fun.