Flashback: London

On stage at the Royal Albert Hall, May 2006David and the band performed on three consecutive nights at the Royal Albert Hall back in May 2006, the first of these concerts being two years ago today.

If you were lucky enough to catch one, two, or even all three of these shows, please share what stands out most clearly in your mind.

Was it one of the surprise guest appearances? ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’? Getting to hear a new album performed in full? That delightful fusion of lights, lasers, dry ice and screaming guitar on everyone’s favourite best-part-of-half-an-hour-long piece, ‘Echoes’?

Whatever it was, we’d like to hear about it.

The chatroom is closed today, but will be open tomorrow between 13:00 and 15:00 (UK).

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

43 thoughts on “Flashback: London”

  1. Two years ago, I was living in Sweden, as a student. Good Old Times. I got the tickets for the 30th of May show months before, from the RAH webpage, after a “raid” against ebay resellers had been succesfully (for me at least) conducted.

    I arrived at London on the 29th of May, and I said: “why not go to the RAH before going to the hostel, just to see where it is, and what´s going on there?”. Said and done. I went to the RAH, and I saw that people were still gathering around the huge palace. I thought the concert had already begun, and I was puzzled.

    I asked a couple of guys nearby: “hey, why is everybody not in yet?” and they said “it starts in half an hour… do you have tickets?”…. “I do, for tomorrow”, I said, thinking that they were trying to sell me one of those extortionately expensive second hand tickets.

    “Oh, I see”, said the other one, “a friend was going to come with us, but he couldn´t… we are selling it under face value.”

    And that is how I got to see David on the 29th.

  2. Hi Fed,

    I went to see David and the band on the first night. We had a great day out in London first.

    What a sheer spectacle the whole night turned out to be. The light show, the beautiful music, the guests and the great audience made it a night to remember. I shall never, ever forget it.

    Same again soon.

    Steve.

  3. …and then one day, two years have got behind you…

    The fact it’s two years ago is freaking me out a bit. What is happing to Time these days, it’s so much quicker than it used to be. Could someone have a word for me please?

    Memories from the Monday & Wednesday gigs: –

    – ‘Echoes’ – extraordinary.
    – The band itself – thoroughly enjoying themselves.
    – Seeing the look on a teenager’s face sat next to me as the 2nd half of the set unfolded.
    – David Bowie’s appearance on Monday.
    – The audience’s perfect silence during ‘Find The Cost Of Freedom’ and the end of ‘High Hopes!

    Just a few memories of what has proved to be two of the best gigs I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Still memorable to this day.

    Thanks, David.

    CJD

  4. I don’t think one particular thing stood out. What made it special was partly that I didn’t discover Pink Floyd until just after the PULSE tour (I’m not terribly old :P), and subsequently, of course, there were no more tours.

    So when Mr Gilmour announced his tour, AND it transpired that I was going to be in row 10 of the arena at the RAH, that was pretty much what I’d been waiting for for about ten years.

    So thank you, Mr G, and do it again soon 😉

  5. Cool pic! I like the lights, the shadows, the dark figures of Phil and Guy and the bright one of David. I like their body positions and the moment Polly captured.

    Brava Polly!

  6. Hi Fed,

    Well, I was lucky enough to have been at the last night and it was just superb! I was also celebrating my 40th birthday and it really doesnt get any better than that.

    I don’t think I moved an inch the whole show and when I see the people dancing at the end of Comfortably Numb on the DVD I really do know how they were enjoying it…but being a guitar player I couldnt take my eyes off watching.. Oh Great One.. playing my fav song of all time!

    The sound in the RAH was superb, the lights were superb and the band weren’t that bad either!!!

    Thanks for a wonderful night!!!

    Cheers
    Paul

  7. Thanks to information on the blog I had managed to get tickets in the choir for the final night at the RAH. Initially I had been a bit concerned about being behind the band but in fact we were more on a level with them. The lighting effects may not have been quite as intended from this angle but it gave a great viewpoint from which to watch the interaction between the band members. It was also fun to be able to look out and get a band’s eye view of the audience.

    I enjoyed every minute of the show and heard many of my favourites that night. Particular high points for me were ‘Shine On…’, the song that got me into Pink Floyd all those years ago and, of course, ‘Echoes’. I will always have in my memory a picture of the band looking as though they were floating on a cloud when the dry ice was used.

    When Nick Mason appeared for the encores my excitement was tinged with sadness that Steve Di Stanislao would not be playing for what were, as far as we knew at that time, the final moments of the OAI tour. Happily that turned out not to be the case as a short while later the European summer dates were announced.

    All in all the best concert I have ever been to and one that, from my point of view, I can’t imagine ever being surpassed. I’m so glad that I can relive it with the DVD.

  8. Well, we arrived much, much too early & stopped near the underground car park of the R.A.H. We temporarily parked on a double yellow line & I nipped out to ask a couple of guys who were standing at the barrier to the entrance. They told us we could not park in that particular car park but the one we were looking for was just a hundred metres behind. He said he had just dropped David off (which one i now wonder, G or B?) & was about to move off.

    We parked up & wandered around the R.A.H. & I could hear Arnold Layne being rehearsed (still not knowing who was actualy singing) but I could hear a familiar guitar tone very clearly. We then sat in the sun looking at The Albert Memorial untill it got too windy & cold so we went inside for a meal. We really had arrived much to early due to me having a panic about traffic.

    The anticipation was really building & I wanted to get to my seat to savour every minute. My wife just could not understand my eagerness to sit & look at an empty stage but for me it was all part of it (during the interval, she was even more dumfounded when guys rushed to the front of the stage to stare at what she said were a load of black boxs with lights on)…

  9. …We were lucky enough to get tickets to a box & in our box we had several people who kept taking pictures in front of us during the first part of the show. During the interval I grabbed a “red coat” & complained & he came in our box for the second half & we were not bothered from then on.

    Also in our box a guy had brought his guitar in with him to this day I can’t understand how he was allowed to take it in or why he would want to & I was concerned he would whip it out (so to speak) & mime along to David & the band. (He did not, thank god.)

    The concert…… I replay it constantly still but the DVD can’t capture the excitement of actually being there & I feel privileged to have been present to witness something of such breathtaking beauty.

    By the way, it was my wife’s first ever concert.

  10. 31 May 2006, my first ever show. It was and will always be so very special.

    Nervously waiting at work 10 days before hand to see if Phil could get tickets on the last phase. The feeling when he phoned to say ‘we’re going’! Soaking in the atmosphere beforehand.

    The opening few notes of Breathe when Phil suddenly realised it wasn’t just On an Island. Box 12, lower level, diagonally opposite Rick Wright but remembering that we’d gone to see David. The fantastic lights. David’s wonderful playing and singing and his lovely just-get-on-with-it attitude.

    Robert Wyatt. Nick Mason. The rest of the band flawless. Singing along to WYWH, ECHOES! Still being in the RAH at 10 to midnight when the last train had left at 11.26 from Victoria!

    I could go on but it was just the beginning ..the Blog, the Odeon, The Ritzy, meeting other lovely Bloggers and we never stop hoping that one day it will happen again.

    Thank you so much and so many happy memories.

    Belated congrats to David for the Ivor Novello award.

  11. i was there on the first night.

    i remember that it was a lovely, warm day. there were lots of people selling tickets outside and cameras flashing inside, but that didn’t spoil it for me too much.

    i didn’t have many noisy fans sitting near me either. i think i was sitting with people from the record company who were there on a freebie!

    i didn’t meet anyone from the blog, but i wondered who was a blogger!

    i got goosepimples when i heard the heartbeat and the band came on stage through the fog.

    i loved hearing oai live. it was just fab.

    i saw polly with her camera taking photos and thought about seeing them on the blog.

    seeing david bowie was a nice surprise, but i didn’t like the way everyone jumped to their feet.

    there’s so much more, but i’m glad there’s a dvd to help me remember that night!

    thank you david. x

  12. Hi,

    We, my wife and I, went to see the first gig in London and it was without restriction the best we ever saw.

    Sadly we lost all the pictures we took from that weekend… but it will be carved in my skull forever.

    Yep and seeing David Bowie perform Arnold Layne was superb.

    Hope to see you again, someday, somewhere.

    Nick

  13. I went on the 30th and the 31st. That last night was just magical. The solo of On An Island made me cry, Echoes made me float to the ceiling of the RAH and seeing and hearing the three of them together on stage again made me happy, happy, happy.

    I’ve seen Floyd and Gilmour live a lot of times, but that night was the best concert ever. It was wonderful; it was bliss.

  14. That’s one of the shows I really hate missing. I just love these stories.

  15. I have to say the whole night was special. Echoes & David Bowie made it extra special!

  16. May 29th – that was quite possibly the best night of my life!!

    I got the tickets on pre-sale through the site, I think it was December 8st or 9th… And I was greedy, so I managed to grab tickets for the 31st , as well…

    My first time in London and in RAH, and the first time I saw David Gilmour live… Great band, wonderful music and, of course, my three favorite Davids together on stage 😉

    I had to call my friends back in Belgrade during Echoes – they wanted to hear it live…you don’t want to know how much I had to pay for my cell phone bill that month. But it was worth it!!!

  17. Wow, I really can’t believe it’s been 2 years!

    I went to the 31st show and was completely blown away.

    Echoes really made it for me, that half an hour or so will live with me forever. It’s my favourite song of all time, and to have it played live in front of me was just out of this world, I remember giggling with glee when the lasers came on at the build up section.

    Having Nick Mason come on for the encore was just the icing on the cake, what an amazing evening!

  18. I went on the 29th. A spectacular concert in a spectacular venue. A great atmosphere.

    David Bowie was a big surprise. Good to see Robert Wyatt, Dave Crosby and Graham Nash.

    Hard to believe it was 2 years ago.

  19. I remember the sickening feeling when I realised I’d lost the tickets for the RAH and the elated feeling on collecting replacement tickets on the 30th May minutes before the show and finding back stage passes in the envelope.

    Someone turned disaster to triumph…

    Matty

    [Good to hear, Matty. Glad it worked out in the end. – FEd]

  20. Fed, you twittered about trying to remember what you were doing this night. Will you be sharing your memories?

    [Probably not. What you lot have to say is much more interesting. – FEd]

  21. Me and my friend Thomas were lucky enough to see ALL 3 SHOWS !!!

    The FIRST day, May 29, our seats were in CIRCLE V, Row 6 nearly under the roof, however we enjoyed it to be there to see a GREAT SHOW including guest DAVID BOWIE! Also the LIGHT SHOW with all the white light all around us was AMAZING the first day.

    The SECOND show, May 30, we had GREAT SEATS in STALLS O, Row 8 on the right side with direct view on the stage! JON CARIN was nearly 5 meters from us. Anyway, this was our BAD DAY cause two persons behind us had only the idea to talk to each other through most of the show so we can`t enjoy it so much! 🙁

    But the story that day ends very cool. As we got to the restrooms/toilets we met FISH (Ex MARILLION) and talked to him in the toilet. GREAT!

    … to be CONTINUED

  22. …The THIRD day, May 31 we had the BEST SEATS directly in the ARENA floor, Section B, Row 14. I will never forget that day with the LONGEST and best ECHOES version !!! I still remember that David finds no end in the middle part and saw GUY PRATT and PHIL MANZANERA look to each other and wait for their action again – VERY FUNNY!

    Also a highlight was that NICK MASON was playing the ENCORES that day! It is a shame that this was not on the DVD! I really hope for a later release of NICK`s performance – maybe on the next LIVE CD/DVD.

    After the show we was interviewed by an film crew member outside the arena.

    We will of course NEVER FORGET these 3 memorable days and hope for NEW GIGS from David in 2009/2010 with hopefully a new album to promote!

    THANKS, DAVID
    PETE & THOMAS from the North of GERMANY

    P.S. to FEd – Is there any chance to let us know on which day from the RAH shows every title was used? For example: From WHICH DAY was ECHOES on the DVD? Thanks!

    [I’m afraid not, sorry. – FEd]

  23. I went on all three nights and loved each night. The first night I was too overwhelmed by the whole occasion: David, RAH, OAI live, Echoes…so I was glad to go to other nights. A bit like seeing an amazing film, but that you miss out so much on the first viewing and needs a second to pick up all the extra detail.

    Two years on the stand out moments for me when I think back to those wonderful nights, were Echoes, Fat Old Sun and Wots. Obviously there were SO many amazing moments but those are the parts that touched me the most.

    I loved the feel of OAI played live, especially with the Castellorizon lead in. Felt like I was strapped into my seat and taking off for an adventure (like most good DG/PF albums imho!) and boy o boy, what a ride 🙂

    There was so much, it seems unfair to single out only a few good bits. Richard’s voice and keys were outstanding, as was the tightness and togetherness of the whole band. The range and mix of songs were fantastic, covering old and new.

  24. The Royal Albert Hall is quite possibly the finest, most elegant, and emotive concert venue in the world. Having seen David Gilmour live at the Royal Albert Hall was quite a privilige, particularly two consecutive nights – the two that were filmed for the DVD.

    The show was historic – from the minute the first show kicked off it kept piling on one historic moment after another. If anything stands out it was David Bowie’s suprise appearance. Not that those at the last show didn’t see something special – as someone partial to the Gilmour-led Pink Floyd era, I feel it must have been quite a treat to see Nick Mason hit the stage with the rest of the guys.

    How I wish I had gone to that third show as well!

    The calibre of musicians during the entire tour (Phil Manzanera, Guy Pratt, Richard Wright, Steve DiStanislao) was outstanding – the calibre of the guests mind-blowing; to watch David Crosby and Graham Nash perform live with the band made the performance so perfect!

  25. I was in the front row of the choir for the final night. A particularly interesting experience was watching the guitar technician checking everything and eating his dinner (I think it was a curry) at the same time.

    I was close enough to read a setlist that was taped to the floor of the stage.

  26. i got to go to 2 shows, monday and the wednesday night.

    the first night i was sat in the very back left hand side and didn’t see much of the light show, but a great view down onto the band. David Bowie was amazing!

    the wednesday night i was about 5 rows from the front. this is now the my best show of all time. just hearing Echoes live was the highlight for me. great to see Nick Mason on stage too.

    that show just kept on giving.

  27. My husband and I are lucky enough to remember three nights at the RAH. This is one of my favourite venues, and a perfect place for the magnificent show David and his excellent band created and performed.

    Just being there was exhilarating, and I loved hearing On an Island live. Highlights of that set for me were Take a Breath (truly breathtaking) and Then I Close My Eyes.

    Hearing Echoes live was pure joy, and I love the way David and Rick play together. My heart gave an enormous leap when David Bowie was introduced, and ditto when Nick Mason took the drums.

    We sat near to the control box on one night, and were very interested to see the crew at work. What a magnificent job they do.

    We saw the gig again in Vienne, and have seen it may times since on the wonderful DVD.

  28. Saw the 30th concert. So much to say, but I’ll keep it to top 3 moments.

    On an Island, sublime. Fat Old Sun, did it ever sound so good? And Echoes, gave me goosebumps. (I have been told that the version on the DVD is from the 30th, even better.)

    Mystery of the night, why did Great Gig never make it to the DVD?

  29. [Mystery of the night, why did Great Gig never make it to the DVD? – Pete]

    I think there’s a very obvious reason for that but I’m too polite to say!

    CJD

  30. Hi Fed.

    I saw all 3 Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. It was very exciting to walk into this legendary Concert Hall. Film cameras and extra lights everywhere. A lot of surprises on stage: DAVID BOWIE of course the biggest, Mica Paris, Nick Mason and Crosby & Nash.

    And also surprises in and out of the Albert Hall. I stood next to Evan McGregor, saw Storm Thorgerson and members of the Gilmour Family. I had the chance to say hello to Bob Klose. And after all that, me and other fans were interviewed, asked about our thoughts and feelings, after the last of the concerts. So there were a lot of unforgettable adventures going on.

    And of course had the chance to met some old Floyd-Friends from all around the world! Which was great!

    Hopefully we get another chance one of these days!!

    bye
    Werner

  31. I was lucky enough to see David in 2006, but didn’t attend any of the three concerts in London and my regret is that I didn’t see Mr Robert Wyatt on stage.

    I already missed him in 2002, as he appeared in London (‘David Gilmour In Concert’ DVD), but not in Paris.

    I have a great respect for him, as he is a fine musician and, above all, a real long time friend of David.

    Michèle

  32. Two years ago today I saw David Gilmour live for the second night in a row. It was the night for which I had bought the tickets months ago, and the seating was absolutely and outstandingly perfect: the ninth row in front of him. Oh, I could almost touch him. After the gig, I was not only enlightened by guitar-god-gilmour, but I was also a year older, as the 31st of may is my birthday.
    At 6am I had the plane back to sweden so I didnt book a hostel for the night. Instead, I met many nice people in the back of the RAH, waiting for our hero to come out after the gig. He didn´t, of course (it seems they went through an underground way by car, shame on you mr. Gilmour 😉 but at least I spent the night with great people from Costa Rica (whom I would meet again in Berlin, for a RW show) and other south american countries.
    We walked a bit around London and when the time came, I took a bus to Stansted. And that is how I saw David Gilmour for the second time. Tomorrow, what I thought of it.

  33. Hello! I went to all 3 shows and had a great time with friends! Si, Chris, & many folks from ECHOES too.

    My favorite moment was during the second night. I sat on the floor towards a far side. During “Coming Back To Life” a fellow fan was “in the groove” and standing in the stairwall dancing like mad (the floor seats were accessed through stairs under the platforms). This guy was just in another world, letting the song move him. There was a man with a camera filming for the DVD & we made eye contact & smiled… it was very nice moment as we both realized that this guy was letting his joy move him – literally.

    To the fellow who asked about which nights where on the DVD, I (sadly) know the answer. On night 1, the RAH had many lights illuminating the arena for effect. On night 2, there was an aisle down the middle of the floor seats, no RAH arena lighting. On night 3, no aisle & no extra lighting. Shots from all 3 nights are mixed in each song. (Yes I’m a nerd!)

  34. Sitting in an empty Albert Hall on the afternoon of the 31st watching the stage being set up, then hearing “Saucerful of Secrets” suddenly fill the hall – Rick had sneaked off to play on the Albert Hall organ for a few minutes.

    Really spooky…..

  35. I was there too, the 29 of may 2 years ago. And still that day is the most unforgettable.

    What can I say… during the concert I cried, laughed. I had the best evening ever.

    I hope that I can do it again, and again,…and again.

    Thank you all for everthing.

    Carlos

  36. Time is really flying, it is hard to believe that the RAH concert we attended on June 31st is already 2 years ago.

    But the memories of this mesmerizing event are etched into our memory forever, the awesome sights and sounds in a venue of style and class really are unforgettable, and again, like after all the PF and David gigs before, one is spoiled regarding any gigs of other artists, nothing will be able to top David´s concerts.

    TG one can relive that wonderful evening with the RTN DVD, but another gig would really be appreciated a lot.

  37. I was privileged to be there on the 29 and 30th of May.

    First night was quite emotional, as it was my first time in the Royal Albert Hall as well as my first PF/PF member concert.

    I had a nice seat in the second tier of boxes, center stage and I had a great view on the stage.

    I had been wondering what’s ahead about that night as FED decided to come to that one (I spent my whole flight to London to find out an answer and still was surprised, but assumption was correct). It was quite clear during the encores when surprisingly David was given a blond Telecaster and shortly after invited David Bowie to sing Arnold Layne. Earlier I was impressed with Time and rotating mirrors and Take a Breath from the first part. Also Robert Wyatt was great in Then I Close My Eyes.

    In the second I really liked SOYCD with Graham Nash and David Crosby, excellent and different addition to that piece as on earlier versions usually ladies were on backing vocals. I never forget Wearing The Inside Out (my wife’s favorite on DVD, my older daughter’s, Arnold Layne with Bowie) and of course Echoes. CN was great, too…

  38. …On the 30th I was much closer to the stage, as I had 4 row M stalls, so it was quite a different experience as I could focus more on musicians. I had the impression that it was louder than on Monday, especially during the first part.

    I really remember Arnold Layne this time with Richard singing. Great Gig In The Sky, it was nice to hear it, but it was probably too demanding for Mica especially in second part. But I need to say that I really like her singing Put A Spell On You on the David Gilmour In Concert extras (still selling well in Poland, I saw it recently in the top ten DVDs (on 10th spot) in one of the respected electronic retailers).

    Again Echoes and Comfortably Numb were excellent.

    Two years after, what can I say? Nothing more than thank you to: bloggers who constantly encouraged me to try buy return tickets, to Przemo, who kindly agreed that I could stay at his flat during my visit in London, and that’s why I could afford to go on 30th as well and of course to David and the band.

    Unforgettable nights, and of course I still have tickets which are in the RTN DVD booklet.

  39. There for the last night – Mica just couldn’t hack Great Gig.

    Highlights for me were the appearance of Nick Mason… and Echoes was simply out of this world. Never thought I’d get to see it performed live, pure joy!

  40. Ok – so I was totally late to the table on this post but I was on vacation …

    May 29 is forever inscribed in my heart as magical. The anticipation was delish, the whirlwind 3 days we spent in London perfect, but there really isn’t an adjective that would do justice to the night itself.

    With me at the concert was my husband and 17-year-old daughter, who was visiting the UK for the first time (we’re from Wash DC). It may have been a short 3 days in May, but something about that trip clicked with her and she will now be in London next spring for her university semester abroad. We joke (at least she thinks I’m joking) that I will be visiting her quite frequently now that she will be residing in my favorite city. Ha! We’ll see.

    But really, the concert is the main thing that will resonate always. Thanks to the DG site, I got 2 very nice seats in the stalls; although that meant the husband had to sit in the RAH equivalent of the nose bleed section .. .

  41. …So, Laura and I sat next to a couple of Dutch guys who had been around for the sound check or something (can’t quite remember), and they were absolutely coy about something special planned for the evening. They kept grinning and saying ‘you won’t believe it’.

    Well, they kept their secret and, at every amazing moment – which, really, was every song and solo – I would look over with stars in my eyes (and a few tears too!) and they would nod their heads in wordless agreement but then say, there’s more. What else?

    Finally, when David Bowie was announced, they looked over and said, unbelievable, huh?

    Yes, it was from start to finish. Appreciating David is something I have done for a long time, but I have to say that I fell in love with the band as a unit that night. They were just superb in every way.

    Thank you seems too simple a phrase.

Comments are closed.