8/28/2006

Pulse

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.

10 comments:

Old Lady said...

Yes, concerts today are a huge sponsored productions. I think people expect the big stage productions of today.

The most we would look forward to, back in the day, was actually seeing the live human bodies of the band and whether their musical ability held up to their album quality and maybe a light show.
The light shows were like a squished lava lamp until the 'laser lights' and smoke came into fashion.

Drugs went in with us, alcohol wasn't allowed, now it is the other way around.

Coaster Punchman said...

I've heard from others that Pink Floyd is pretty good, but I can never get past the creepy 8th grade memories that flood back whenever I hear "The Wall."

Dale said...

Strange isn't it Old Lady? And now instead of lighters, it's the light from thousands of cellphones. Ugh. I got a kick out of the light shows as you described them, squished lava lamps.

CP, well then nothing to see here, move it along, don't want the 8th grade spilling all over the place and making a mess like coffee grinds in a water chamber. :-)

Grant Miller said...

Bjork with fireworks? That is some fucked up shit.

Dale said...

Yes Grant Miller, that is some fucked up shit. I loved every second of it. Except the part where just before the show started my friend said, I feel faint and almost hit the ground. Luckily someone nearby cared enough to catch her, I had a show to watch!

Holly said...

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.

at the risk of sounding, oh, anti-social or unhip or "unable to appreciate live music" or something, that's how I feel about a lot of bands. They don't really need to be at their live shows, but for some reason a lot of people who are willing to blow smoke in my hair and invade my personal do need, very much to be there. Which is one reason all the bands I love most rarely tempt me to do more than just listen to their cd's and appreciate the value of a really good engineer and mixer.

X. Dell said...

I'm wondering: did you think about listening to "Pulse" while watching The Wizard of Oz?

Dale said...

It's a unique alignment of the stars to find me at a concert these days Holly - (venue) size matters, number of hipster doofi bound to be present is a factor, and liklihood that the band will be able to play their instruments are all rather important to me.

Very funny X. Dell, maybe I could bring it to the play Wicked which is coming back to town and try and sort something out? The Wizard and I are not so well acquainted. I only ever saw it as an adult and I have to say, the munchkins drove me mad.

Beth said...

I've never been a big Pink Floyd fan, not post-Barrett. I'm know I'm supposed to love them, but I don't. I like a lot of their songs, but that's the most I can say. Please respect me in the morning, Dale.

Dale said...

I'm not very knowledgable about the Floyd machine either Beth. In the end it all comes down to some damned good songs and a couple of flying pigs and that's good enough for me.

The respect remains intact. I've been listening to more Tom Waits lately thinking about that show you saw and I wish he'd come here damn it.