Flashback: Venice

Riccardo and Guy Pratt, Venice, 12 August 2006Here’s Riccardo with Guy Pratt in the Piazza San Marco on the afternoon of 12 August 2006.

Thanks for sharing your moment with us, Riccardo.

There are two songs from this show on the upcoming ‘Live in Gdańsk’ (which you’ll soon have the possibility to purchase on bonus CD or download, free): ‘On The Turning Away’ and ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’.

Your memories from Venice today, please. Preferably happy ones from the second attempt at staging these concerts, although I’m quite sure that any music fan can well imagine your bitter disappointment that the original dates were not possible (due to suspect stage set-up), so do feel free to bemoan your truly rotten luck, if you wish.

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Just take note of the rules on your way in, please.

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’.

36 thoughts on “Flashback: Venice”

  1. Hello Fed!

    Here is my little story about our time in Venice 2006:

    Part 1: 4th/5thAugust 2006

    After our 1st concert in Hamburg in March 2006, we decided to go there a second time and it should be the cloud of our 1 week holiday in Venice. From the first day on we observed the stage assembly on the piazza San Marco. From the top of the Campanile (bell tower) we could take fantastic photos of the stage area at the Piazza San Marco. The view was amazing because a thunderstorm had just passed over the roofs of Venice and the sky was clear.

    The date of our concert was the 5th of August 2006. In the evening of the 4th of August we went to the Piazza San Marco to check whether we could hear the concert, but there was nothing to listen to. What was wrong?

    Then we saw many shocked fans, who discussed in many languages the rescheduling. And we saw a signboard announcing the rescheduling of this concert. Nothing was said about the next evening…

  2. Part 2

    In the morning of the 5th of August we went back to the Piazza San Marco and now both concerts had been rescheduled. With teary eyes we decided to shorten the vacation by one day and left Venice immediately. We drove back to Berlin without interruption (1200km), not knowing anything further. The roof of the stage was defective. The only positive thing was that the artists and the crew were safe and sound.

    We had some days to decide whether to give the tickets back or drive to Venice again. We read on the Internet about the option of returning the tickets without financial losses.

    After just one working day we decided on Monday evening to drive once more to Venice. Plane or train would have been far too expensive. That meant that we had to drive again 2400km…

  3. Part 3: 12th August 2006

    …And that we did, crazy, isn’t it? Friday night after work we started to Venice one more time. After a big traffic jam in South Tyrol we arrived in Venice on Saturday afternoon. The weather was still fair.

    30 minutes before the beginning of our second concert of the OAI tour it started to pour. Only after the break of the concert the rain finally stopped. (Despite the rain protection we were soaked and I froze.)

    The band began the second part of the concert with playing “Shine On Crazy Diamond”. The street musician Igor Skylarov accompanied them on the glass harmonica using wine glasses. We had never seen anything of that kind before.

    Another highlight was how David reminded us of the deceased Syd Barrett with the song “Dark Globe”.

    All in all the sound was good despite the rain and we enjoyed ourselves.

    After midnight our second concert with David Gilmour closed and we immediately returned to Berlin. We never even once regretted having made this journey twice.

    With best wishes from Berlin

  4. Here I am in Piazza San Marco, where I went many times , but this evening there are numbered stalls, as in a large open air theatre , following the tour world-formula with an audience that DG may look into the eyes.

    I’m so excited that I can’t believe that the weather forecast this time was right: …ready for the rain then…21.06 hrs, torrential rain, me and my old friend are wearing large ponchos and the sky is menacing cloudy.

    But in the darkness of the stage I can see the unmistakable guitar-belt: yes, here is the giant that I dreamed of ever since I was twelve. The lights are on, DG says “Buonasera” and adds “Sorry for the rain”. People come and go. Rain: what is the rain? I’m motionless, totally dipped into the music when the opening heartbeats of Breathe began and then the unforgettable Time.

    It seems incredible but a piece of rock’s history is there, in front of me playing in the same way and with the notes melodies the most beautiful songs of Pink Floyd. Richard Wright, on the right, plays the the Hammond organ. DG introduces all the bandmates, but there is nearly a standing ovation when he “forgets” to introduces RW!

    Before starting the whole OAI ‘s songs he says“because we are …on an island.”

  5. …The lights of Marc Brickman become blue on the first notes of Castellorizon, so perfect and all the songs evoke emotions in a meditative atmosphere, with melancholic reflections on life, death, friendship, about love and family as focuses of his life. DG gives the best of himself, often changing the guitars, playing the sax, and the steel pedal… the voice is perfect and magnificent, the band plays wonderfully well together.

    It’s still raining after one hour and a half but never mind, we are here.

    Short break. The black clouds break up and we can see the moon and two stars and finally we can also listen the music better without caps on our heads.

    People are warming up. I can touch the originality of the first notes played by Igor Sklyarov with his”harmonious” water glasses: DG invites us to silence but when he starts to plays the loved sounds of “Shine You Crazy Diamond” – the applause is thunderous and so on when the band continues with Wot’s … Uh The Deal, Arnold Layne, Fat Old Sun, On The Turning Away.

    High Hopes and that original PF world tour ‘s bell are magic: I’m singing together with many people! Echoes is magnificent, it’s such a long version and RW’s and DG’s voices so perfect and all the bandmates’s energy can be perceived from everyone.

    In this second part songs are those that every fan expects, laser lights are simply wonderful, the San Marco’s square atmosphere is incredible!

  6. …The emotion has its top when the classical guitar of DG and the fantastic keyboards of RW start Wish You Were Here: I was singing and weeping of joy in the meantime.

    St. Marco Square like a large chorus: what a spectacle!

    Last song: Comfortably Numb, very very long version… wonderful piece, great voices and guitar, impressive lights.

    Here ends the legendary concert: they played more than three hours, nobody would have expected more.

    What can we say, it will be only “rock music, with high volumes and lights and everything else” but I’ll never forget the deep inspiration and the magic memories and feelings of that night. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to remember that night. Thank you.

    Keep well
    Bye/ciao Elisabetta

    If you click my name you will see my point of view behind the area of the unfinished stage on Saturday 5th (the second show cancelled – yes, I was there twice for DG this and more), me VERY HAPPY on Aug. 12th and my original ticket…..

  7. off subject:

    love the new sound loop. sounds like a mix of ‘astronomy domine’ and ‘echoes’.

    anyway i really hope ‘echoes’ hasn’t been edited on the live album (fat chance! come on you know what official live albums are like!) because it was 25 minutes on that concert and it would be a travesty if say, five or six minutes has been edited out of this version.

    it would be nice if we had a page where we can listen to sound samples of about 30 or 35 seconds of songs from the live album (or even some full songs! but maybe that’s pushing it!).

  8. Hey FEd!

    How about Pink Floyd getting the Polar Music Award? Real award to be given on Aug 26 in Sweden. Is David going?

    I know this is not the subject for today, but thought I’d toss it out anyway.


    [Can’t say, sorry. – FEd]

  9. Nice photo isn’t it FEd? 😉

    [Very nice. (We’re discussing the latest flashbacks in the chatroom, if anyone’s questioning the wink, by the way.) – FEd]

  10. Off-topic:


    you had asked us if we would buy the live album through DG.com. Is there any news about that or should I place an order elsewhere? If I can I always try to prevent too many dealers and grow the profit for the producer…

    Best regards,


    [No news at all. Anthill is just another dealer, so the producer’s profit is no greater if you buy from them. My advice, if you can’t get it from a local, independent shop and support your area’s economy, is to buy it wherever it’s cheapest, and, if ordering online, where you can guarantee fast delivery. Anthill never quite managed that, you may recall from past experience. – FEd]

  11. Hi FEd. It’s been a while since I’ve posted – apologies – been very busy!

    I remember the Venice gig as being a highlight of my life, second only to my wedding day. I remember it for a couple of reasons. One being that the cancellation meant I had to go and visit Venice twice – boohoo, it’s a hard life eh. 😉

    Igor was also a great surprise and being able to virtually lean my elbows on the stage for Comfortably Numb was a moment I won’t forget!

    But most of all, I’ll remember my 2nd trip to Venice as I met the late Michael Alexander, or ‘Floydian Leaf’ as he might be known. He was a great guy with whom we just clicked. Probably the biggest Floyd/Gilmour nut I’ve ever met. We kept in contact and were looking to hook up in New York for Christmas.

    Sadly, Michael passed away just over a year ago, well before his time. But I’ll never forget the time we spent together in Venice and the chats we had outside his hotel in the Venetian streets with David’s manager and Guy Pratt!

    Shine on Michael!

  12. Is there going to be a “best albums of the ’80s” list this week?

    Thank you very much indeed, good night to you.

    [Yes, there is. – FEd]

  13. Nice work, Elisabetta.

    This was a concert I thought seriously about making the trip from England for … San Marco’s famous “drawing room” had become the last chance saloon to see this tour (oh my Gawd, what if it was the last chance, period).

    Didn’t make it and with hindsight a good thing due to the cancellation …

    We’re going back to Venice at the end of the month though … well, you know what a romantic bunch the English are …. so I’ll be sure to humm “Echoes” to myself whilst sipping one of those outrageously priced coffees.

    But then, it’s only money, isn’t it?

  14. Great picture you ‘Guy’s’!

    Thank you to everyone for my birthday wishes. Maybe my wish will come true, and we will all become ‘Comfortably Numb’, someday.

    And I will Shine on for everyone…

  15. Great picture Riccardo!

    Ina and Elisabetta, your memories of the concert make me feel like I have my own memories! Thanks ya’ll.

    I hope all is well with you Fed. My Mom is better and home from the hospital so the world seems a lot brighter.

    Have a good Tuesday everyone!

    Barbara P

  16. Elisabetta, you’re right! David, before starting OAI said: “because we are…on an island”. But what he didn’t say was “because we are on the magic island”!

    St. Mark Square is an amazing place, full of history, glory, beauties. David, Rick and the rest of “the guys” dressed up this wonderful place, taking by the hand every single woman and man standing under a cool rain, driving everybody in a magic island, where heart & mind collide and that magic sound…

    I can clearly hear…The echoes of a distant time…feels like knocking on heaven’s door!


  17. The concerts were fantastic. Highlight of course On The Turning away – I could see the other members’ faces – how surprised they all were. 🙂 Fantastic idea of David’s – keep the band motivated – and David smiled himself until the end of the song!!

    Not so good was the rain and the cold wind .. I bought a plastic raincoat just before the concert started – but of course ripped it into pieces when I tried to get it over me … after the concert .. I had to get off my clothes and drove home from midnight to 7oclock in the morning all in my underpants!! After a few hours sleep I had to go to work – night shift …

  18. […after the concert .. I had to get off my clothes and drove home from midnight to 7oclock in the morning all in my underpants! -Werner]

    Life’s great moments.

    I think I can remember my mom telling my older sis (as a child) ‘always wear fresh undies – you never know when you may end up in front of the doc;’ she never passed on that logic (directly) to me. Apparently (hopefully) you were prepared (and we’ll skip the ‘boxers-or-briefs’ inquiry…).

    One rarely has regrets surrounding life’s messy details, after a night as I’ve heard described here. Lucky you (all).

  19. What wonderful memories you have! Thank you for sharing them. I could imagine being there with you.

    It sounds like Venice was a dream. I wish I’d been there.

    Werner you made me laugh so loud! The things we do for the things we love!

  20. Riccardo looks so excited in that picture. I can imagine how he felt. Nice stories also.

  21. 20 years ago tonight it was Pink Floyd at the Richfield Coliseum near Cleveland, Ohio.

    I was there and it was the best seats I ever had for a PF show. Mid floor and center, it was the perfect distance to see the band and take in the stage show. Nearly a religious experience.

  22. Sounds like another great concert. It’s a shame about the weather but do you really notice it that much when the music is so good?

    Is anyone else reminded of Aquafresh toothpaste when they see Guy’s shirt?

  23. Awwww, all that’s missing from that photograph is a teddy bear underneath Guy’s arm.

  24. Had one of the worst days of my life on the 4th – nothing but problems in the office, got out late, got to the airport only to have my glasses and my iPod stolen.

    Arrived in Venice 2 minutes too late to catch the water taxi.

    When we finally got to St. Marks an hour later, all we saw were the roadies looking up. After calling one over, he said the concert would be cancelled and almost certainly for the next day too.

    The only bright spot was I was able to grab about 30 copies of the program which I still sell on EBay every now and then to recover my cost as there was no way I was going to miss this show.

    Flew home a couple of days later only to fly back on the 11th to catch the shows.

    The Friday show was jaw dropping. The opening to Shine On alone especially since we met the waterglass artist several times in Venice.

    The show on the 12th was, how shall we say – wet. I tend to block that one out of my mind as the one on the 11th has to qualify as the best show of the tour.

  25. Lovely photo of Riccardo and Guy.

    I recently finished Guy’s book. His account of playing ‘On The Turning Away’ in Venice is just hilarious, and I’m glad that we get a chance to hear it for ourselves (and Shine On too, bonus!)

    To find out what Guy said to David after being put on the spot like that (they hadn’t played it since ’94) and what David thought of Guy’s playing, you’ll have to buy the book. I highly recommend it (even if I am a little amazed at the amount of times that controlled substances are mentioned – guess that’s why I’ll never be a musician).

    Speaking of Guy, I noticed that he now has a column in UK’s BASS Guitar magazine. He is teaching BASS for beginners.

    So if you ever wanted to learn, this is the time. Buy the mag, get a bass guitar and start playing! Nice photo of him and his beloved Betsy (one of his bass guitars).

    [Did he pay you for that? – FEd]

  26. I was in Piazza San Marco and I liked very much the little “anarchy” at the end of the show with everybody running near the stage ! For the very first time I was really screaming like a teen girl at a boyband concert…hahaha.

    Maybe this time we could do it…too many times sat down in audiences with chairs and too many Pink Floyd concerts with huge and too far away stages.

    I’m still laughing thinking of David dancing in circles like Guy did during the “Comfortably” solo.

  27. Hi FEd & Bloggers !

    It seems that this concert was a very good one too in such a lovely venue !! I can’t wait any longer to listen to the “Shine On” version recorded in Venice !

    About the loop playing on the web site at the moment (that seems to me being a mix between “Echoes” & “Astronomy Domine” too): it would be nice to have it on the “Live in Gdansk” DVD’s menu… A very very good loop !

    Have a nice weekend everybody.

    Cheers, Patoch’

  28. Hello FED and All !!!

    I’d very much like to express my experiences of those fantastic two and change weeks I spent there. Probably the true highlight was visiting Megiste/Castellorizo, the inspiration for David’s OAI.

    I know I haven’t been on here lately. I am on a Death Watch. My 85 year old Grandmother, Gram, is dying. We decided ( my mother and I ) to have her home, instead of a nursing home. Let her have dignity and all that horse manure. Her health is in rapid decline and I would be surprised if she makes the weekend. I was supposed to go to Georgia, the one that hasn’t been invaded, with Lisa, but…

    Well, I have to go. Please folks, say a prayer and if you hear a primal scream, a la Roger, that will be me.

    Take care, FED. And to everyone else, I miss you all !!!

    Peace and love

    [So sorry, mate. – FEd]

  29. [Did he pay you for that? – FEd]

    If you mean about buying his book – of course, how else will I be able to afford a black Strat? 😉

    No, just supporting Guy. Besides, it’s a long story and it is so good that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice by paraphrasing it in just a few lines. The whole story really is funny. As is the book.

    My wife even found it an independent book store. Here in Toronto we have books stores named: Chapters, Indigo, Coles, World’s Biggest Bookstore. They are all owned by one company and the independents are slowly disappearing; so we try to shop at the smaller book stores to keep them alive and because we get better service!

    [Thanks, Andrew. Good to know. – FEd]

  30. It was a great night, absolutely one of the most beautiful days of my life. Such a great night that Friday, 11th August 2006.

    How are you all? Hope you’re doing well. How is David? And how are you Fed?

    Even if I don’t have time to write very often during the last month, you’re all always on my mind.

    See you soon.

    [Everything’s peachy, thank you. – FEd]

  31. Dear Ray,

    whatever is going on right now I think of you and your family and your courage: I don’t know if I’ll be able to do the same in a such a case…

    In this very busy last period so full of brilliant events for DG and the band, take care dear F.Ed and to everyone else good night

    ciao Elisabetta

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