Sound: The sound for this concert is very good. I've watched it a few times on a stereo sound system, and once on a 5.1 system; the 5.1 of course was better, but even with the two channels you get wonderful sound quality. The band David Gilmour plays with was excellent; notable are the basist Chucho Merchan (seen groovin' to the music the whole concert, weather he's playing or not) and his 12 backup singers. A good performance from Caroline Dale on the cello, as well, good use of an electric cello (which, personally, I had never seen used before) on a version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Less notable were performances by guitarist/vocalist Neil MacColl (who played well, but didn't seem that into it, and was passed over a lot by the camera) and the few guest stars (see below), which seemed kind of tacked on to me. The concert as a whole sounds very good, and there weren't any places where I wished the sound had been mixed better. Some concert DVD's suffer from questionable sound quality, but this one was very well balanced. // 8
Content: I would have to rate the content of this disk a 10 out of 10. It is a superb package. It is a live concert DVD, the Meltdown Concert played in the Royal Festival Concert Hall in 2002. David Gilmour plays with a well put together band including the artist named above, Nic France on percussion, Dick Perry on sax, and wait for it. Michael Kamen on piano and oboe (A very nice addition to the concert). For the most part, the cameras do a good job of covering everyone, though I would have liked to see more of Neill. There were three guests; Richard Wright came to sing 'Breakthrough,' and Robert Wyatt and Bob Geldof did the 'narration' for two different versions of Comfortably Numb. The setlist included a lot of Pink Floyd era stuff of course, as well as a few nice tidbits. Highlights include two versions of Shine On You Crazy Diamond (an acoustic version to open, and a nice heavy version to close), Comfortably Numb, Dimming of the Day, Dominoes, High Hopes, Wish You Were Here, and a nice suprise: Bizet's Je Crois Entendre Encore from the opera The Pearlfishers. The DVD goes through one evening's performance, then adds a few songs from the performance the following evening (including the second version of Comfortably Numb). Gilmour plays like a man possessed; you can tell he's there making music because he loves it, not for the money/fame/pride. There are some moments (such as the intro of the concert) where he's so engrossed in it, he might as well be locked up in a dark room alone. This makes for a very heartfelt and inspiring performance.
The extras on the disc are good, though some of them seem tacked on. There is a 5.1 surround sound tester which is useless unless you haven't set up your system yet, and 'home movie, ' which is just Gilmour practising with his backup singers (not very entertaining), and pages of lyrics (which we could have found online anyway, but it's an interesting touch). There is a music video of Gilmour singing Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 with music by Michael Kamen which was horrid, it sounds forced and unnatural. It seems to have been shot in Stratford and offers some nice scenery, but not much else.
There were two features that stood out above the rest: a video of Pink Floyd doing the classic blues tune I Put a Spell On You, featuring Mica Paris and Jools Holland (some amazing vocal work, and excellent licks by Gilmour). A very nice addition.
But the best part of the disc, in my opinion, is a feature called Spare Digits. It's a collection of exerpts from the concert, all showing cloe-ups of Gilmour's hands while he's playing. As a beginner guitarist, it was educational to watch him go at it like that. My only complaint is that they didn't show more songs, and that they only did the solos. // 10
Production Quality: The production as a whole is very good, though there's nothing fantastic about it. The music speaks for itself, so there aren't any flahy camera tricks or such things, which is probably for the ebst. As said above, the camera does a decent job covering everyone in the band, and thankfuly doesn't centre just on Gilmour. I like to see the whole performance, not just the star. Not much else to say, but I should mention the DVD menus. They are very well done, with music bits from the show. The opening menu is syncronised with those four notes from Shine On You Crazy Diamond (four notes=four menu options), which is a nice touch. Nothing fantastic, but neither is it a run of the mill DVD. // 7
Overall Impression: I watched this soon after seeing Roger Waters' In The Flesh concert, and definately like Gilmour's better. It was a nice and easy, sit back and relax concert, and will definately bear repeated viewings (I've owned it less than a month, and I think I've watched it three times). I wasn't very familiar with Gilmour as a solo artist, but this DVD makes me want to look into him more. This is the kind of concert that makes you want to pick up your guitar right then and there and play along. It's the kind of concert that reminds you how powerful creating/listening to this kind of music can be. I'd reccomend it to anyone who likes classic rock/blues/just damn good music. If it were stolen/lost, I'd buy it agian in a heartbeat. // 10