REMEMBERING THAT NIGHT
(London) - Big surprises were in store when TPi attended the cinema premiere of David GilmouR's New Live DVD at the Odeon in London's Leicester Square...
David Gilmour’s On An Island tour was one of the most eagerly anticipated and brilliantly executed of 2006. Amongst its highlights was a trio of shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall in May of last year, featuring guest appearances from David Bowie, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Robert Wyatt.
Filmed under the direction of David Mallet, a souvenir of what was described by one critic as “near-perfect” gigs is now available as Remember That Night — a double DVD set containing more than five hours of material, including a complete concert, on-the-road documentaries and an engaging pile of extras.
The DVD was launched in style at a special event staged at the Odeon Leicester Square on September 6, which was beamed live in 5.1 surround sound to participating cinemas around the UK and Europe.
The event featured extracts from the RAH shows, as well as a solo introductory performance by the Pink Floyd guitarist, a Q&A session hosted by BBC Radio 2’s Stuart Maconie, and finally a surprise jam by Gilmour and his touring band — Floyd colleague Rick Wright on keyboards, Guy Pratt (bass), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Jon Carin (keyboards/guitar), Dick Parry (sax) and drummer Steve DiStanislao.
As events go, this was far and away one of the most captivating I’ve attended in recent times. Towards the end of the DVD screening, Gilmour’s rendition of the Floyd classic ‘Echoes’ was the cue for dry ice to billow from under the cinema screen, followed later by the surprise of a real-life light and laser show orchestrated by touring LD Marc Brickman.
As I pointed out to Brickman afterwards, it all added up to an incredible three-dimensional experience. “It was something else, wasn’t it?,” he smiled. “But I can’t take all the credit — my colleagues Mark ‘Sparky’ Risk and Mark Grega were just as responsible for the lighting. It was a fitting postscript to what was a great tour with a bunch of truly wonderful people.”
Gilmour’s solo intro, the Q&A session and the live jam that followed were live in stereo, while the DVD screening was in surround sound.
Heading up the production team was Floyd/Gilmour mainstay of 33 years and counting, Phil Taylor. “My role at the Odeon started off being small and gradually got bigger as more elements were added, such as when David decided to include the band performance at the end,” he said.
“Obviously, the Odeon was never designed to accommodate live music but with careful pre-planning and assistance from Britannia Row and PRG Europe, the load-in and rigging went very smoothly.”
Many others from the On An Island tour crew were reunited for the event, including FOH engineer Colin Norfield who used a Midas Heritage 3000 console to mix to 14 Turbosound Aspect TA890H three-way cabinets, six Aspect TA890L lows, four Turbosound TQ-440sp flown delays and six TQ-308sp lip-fills. Norfield also piloted a modest monitor set-up from FOH, comprising of three bi-amped Turbosound TFM 450 wedges and an in-ear system.
Said Brit Row director Mike Lowe: “We sent a reference track from the Pro Tools rig back to a Sennheiser G2 in-ear monitor system for David’s guitar instrumental intro. The IEM enabled him to time his live performance perfectly and blend it in as the DVD screening took over seamlessly.”
Norfield was assisted at FOH by Dave Bracey who deputised a fortnight later when the event was reprised in a downscaled form at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton for satellite broadcast to audiences in the USA.
Other sound crew on duty included Aron Ross (system tech), Josh Lloyd (radio/stage tech), Pawel Zakrzewski (PA/stage tech) and regular backline techs Sid Pryce and Andy Field. Damon Iddins and Devin Workman of Gilmour’s Astoria houseboat studio engineered the Pro Tools system which was also used to record the live elements of the event.
For the 23-camera shoot, David Mallet used the very latest HD digital technology and the visual quality is stunning. Mixed by Andy Jackson at the Astoria, the sound quality also sets a new standard for live concert DVDs.
Working alongside broadcast producer Dione Orram, Jackson also handled the 5.1 OB mix at the Odeon — a role which Phil Taylor described as critical to the event’s success. “Andy was really the driving force behind the satellite broadcast to cinemas around Europe. In the past, there have been many technical problems involved in doing this kind of thing in 5.1, but thanks to a number of satellite tests before the event, and Andy’s persistence in perfecting the sound, he made sure everything happened to plan.”
Darren Hodge co-ordinated all lighting departments. Controlled by a Virtuoso VX console, the lighting spec featured Vari*Lite VL3000 spots and washes, VL5 floor washes, Martin Atomic strobes with scrollers, a Robert Juliat Alex spotlight, MDG hazers and City Theatrical dry ice machines. Six ETC Source Fours were used for the Q&A session, managed for TV by Gurdip Mahal, who also looked after the 4-Lite PAR 36s for audience lighting.
Mark Grega of Strictly FX manned the laser portion of the event, with a system comprising of two 5W air-cooled diode lasers with Pangolin computer workstations for scanning and beam effects.
At the premiere, Gilmour said of the DVD: “I’ve obviously never sat out front and seen one of our concerts and it was fantastic to experience it in this way. We’ve worked very hard over the past year to make this DVD and it’s a very fine document of one of the best and most satisfying tours I’ve ever done in my life. The whole team have done an excellent job and I’m very proud of the results.”
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