Music DVD Reviews: Review of Pink Floyd: Pulse

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Buy your copy from Pink Floyd: Pulse starstarstarstarstarLabel: Columbis
Released: 2006

In 1995, Pink Floyd released Pulse, a double live album that contained songs from 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, 1994’s The Division Bell, the 1973 classic Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety and a few greatest hits sprinkled in for good measure. The visual companion and document of that tour was released this year as a must-have DVD.

This is the complete package of sound and vision from the greatest prog rock band of all time. If you would like to quibble with me over the fact that this is not Pink Floyd because the crusty old patriarch of the band Roger Waters was not involved, you can bite me. Waters may have written The Wall and a bunch of Floyd material but I would argue that the smooth-as-fine-scotch voice of David Gilmour and his unmistakable guitar work is the very soul of Floyd. Waters’ contribution is huge, but the boys proved the show could in fact go on.

Perhaps the purist would have wanted more classic Floyd on this performance as opposed to the focus on Moon and the two post-Waters records. The lack of depth in the material is offset by the eloquent and expert execution of the music by the three remaining members in Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, who are joined by a thousand (okay maybe just eight) musicians to create the Floyd sound. Gilmore’s voice is as good as ever and his guitar work is fabulous. The extra musicians really are needed to create the huge atmospheric sound of the recordings. Most of the material is very true to the studio versions with an exception or two. Guy Pratt’s (studio and touring wiz) bass playing really thunders through. His funky slap bass during “Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. II)” doesn’t blaspheme but adds a nice twist to the classic.

Visually, “Pulse”is stunning and stimulating. The pavilion stage with its billions of light tricks and lasers is an additional player in the show. The director does a terrific job of balancing shots of the performers with the overall presentation of the entire stage, including elements such as the large oval video screen and light show. The surrealist visual images are dazzling as encompassed into the presentation. Not only is the ear pleased but the eye is rewarded.

Extras include the video screen movies in their entirety, a backstage (12+ minute) documentary shot on video cam by one of the crew, and drawings of the stage. Several songs are included on “Bootlegging the Bootleggers” bonus as shot from a handheld (in which the audio matches the bootleg tag). There are maps of the tour, cover art and a “Pulse”television ad also included with the two disc concert. Those are fine but the concert is magical. This is my DVD release of the year, so if you want to take a look at the Floyd experience, this more than does the trick in presenting their entire concept of art.

~R. David Smola