Sound — 9
In 1994, with the release of "The Division Bell", Pink Floyd went to one of the most extensive, massive, gigantic tours by a major rock band ever. Touring with various assisting musicians (extra guitarist, extra percussionist, extra keyboardist, the usual three-girl choir), the European (and final) leg of the tour ended with an impressive, and record-breaking two-week residency at Earl's Court in London. PULSE is the live document of the European tour and (mostly) of the London concerts. And it's a pretty good live album. Even for such a late period. It could be "Delicate Sound of Thunder part 2", but fortunately, Gilmour, Wright, Mason, and the multiple musicians assting them correct the problems of the previous live release. How? Well, sure "The Division Bell" is better than "A Momentary Lapse of Reason", and of the latter we get only the best stuff. As for "The Division Bell" tracks, the only weak is "A Great Day for Freedom", which, coincidentially, was "Division Bell"'s weakest song. For the originals, well, "Another Brick in the Wall" is not so nice, but is saved by Gilmour's and assisting guitarist Tim Renwick soloing. Oh, and there's a surprise, the second disc contains a complete performance of Dark Side of the Moon. It has it's share of defects, though. "Money" is disgusting, the solo on "Time" is bad, and there are some minor defects. So, these were the problems with this release, now lets concentrate with the best things about it. First, a powerful version of "Astronomy Domine", perhaps more powerful than the original. A pleasant surprise for the album. Then we have a good performance of "Learning to Fly" (though it's not so different from the "Delicate Sound of Thunder"), and a pretty good performance of "What Do You Want from Me?". There's also an OK performance of "Hey You" (though it may not sound convincing always). Oh, and the best recording of "Sorrow", improved, and extended enough to convince me that this wasn't too much a filler track of "A Momentary Lapse". Great guitar. Also, the best version of "Coming Back to Life", this sounds more powerful than the original for some reason I can't explain. And finally, we have the closing three gems: "Wish You Were Here" (even if is not the definitive rendition of the song as some people tend to name it, it's an excelent performance), "Comfortably Numb" (along with "Astronomy Domine" the best song here, thanks to an amazing 5-minute solo (that is in fact an edit of SIX minute solo), and a superpowerful "Run Like Hell", with the strange intro noises, and an effective coda.
Lyrics — 7
Well, there's no much banter, but that's what you expect from a Pink Floyd live performance, isn't that? Oh, and the vocals. Just as seven years before, Gilmour's vocals aren't too stronger for "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", but his voice is needed after the long introductory instrumental passages of "Sorrow" and "Coming Back to Life". Oh, and unfortunately for late Floyd, Waters is needed for the vocals on "Another Brick in the Wall", but fortunately, the vocals aren't you'll be more interested in "Comfortably Numb".
Overall Impression — 8
If you're already a more or less experienced Floyd fan that is trying to find a live album you may like, start from Ummagumma's live album, the best official live album they ever released. However, move to this after you know enough of the band. Is an interesting double album, filled with two hours and a half of average-to-great live (and late) Floyd. Enjoy!