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David Gilmour – Live in Gdansk Complete Special Edition Review

Links & Resources – 150 Screen Captures from the DVDs – Share your Own Review on the Forum – Making the Wire Man article –Bonus Web Content for David GIlmour Live in Gdansk

SPOILER ALERT – There are details and information that you may not want to know if you are looking forward to discovering Live in Gdansk for yourself first!  Such as content of CDs and hidden features on the DVDs!  Also some concert stills.

Concert performed on 26th August 2006 and released on 22nd Sep 2008 on CD/DVD.

Special Edition Spread - The Full Contents of the beautiful Box Set

The Postman Delivers!

Special Edition 3CD-2DVD Box Set FrontWhen I got my hands on my David Gilmour Live in Gdansk 5 disc special edition, the smile of my face was worrying me!  If I smiled anymore, there would be a real danger of me damaging my face!  Or, rather, damaging it more than it already is since breaking my jaw a couple of months ago!

I opened the cardboard box in which the goodies are contained and was smiling even more! This is a box set which is a summary of a lot of hard work over the past two years and more before! You can tell great effort has been put into it!  Quite simply, it is great!

The White Envelope!

At first, I was a little apprehensive about opening the white envelope as I had no clue what was in it – I only noticed the massive sticker on front of the box set with the contents listed much later!!!  I didn’t want to destroy the envelope either finding out!  But, in the end – after about 10-15 seconds – curiosity got the better of me and I carefully started peeling the envelope open.  My worries about ripping it were unjustified as, given the care and thought that has gone into making this box set, the “sticky stuff” used to keep the envelope closed was that special kind that opens easily and sticks back down easily too!  I wonder if it will last as long as the P.U.L.S.E Battery?

With the envelope now open, I carefully poured out its contents not having a single clue what would be in there!  There was loads of stuff in there!!  All sorts of thoughtful items of memorabilia from the tour including a special one-off David Gilmour Gdansk guitar pick, access all areas sticky pass, an artist pass card, a Gdansk concert ticket reproduction, a flyer and 7 beautifully printed photographs!  What a beautiful set of goodies!  Although numbered, I think the passes and things are all the same hence different box sets won’t have different numbered items!  But that shouldn’t matter at all.  Check the items out below.


Artist PassArtist Pass
Access All Areas PassArtist Pass
Ticket ReproductionFlyer
Gdansk Ticket ReproductionConcert Flyer
David Gilmour Gdansk Special Edition Plectrum
Gilmour Gdansk Pleck
4 of the 7 Photo Prints
Polly Samson and David Gilmour Gdansk DVDDavid Gilmour
Photo 3-7Photo 4-7
GuitarsRichard Wright
Photo 5-7Photo 6-7


Booklet and Poster

Booklet Front CoverStill smiling, I then picked up the wonderful accompanying booklet which one would expect in such a box set.  It’s a beautiful coloured thing with photos, disc contents, credits and information about the Solidarity movement of Poland which served to help bring the Russian Bear to it’s knees!  There is something very Andy Warhol about some of the pictures in there! 😉

In addition to the booklet, there is a large double sided poster.  I think it is A1 sized or there about.  Live shot of the band on one side, Gilmour silhouette with sunset in the background on the other side.  Very nice!

The 5 Discs – Or Variations Thereof

Live in Gdansk is available in 5 different sets to suit all budgets and preferences.  I personally have the 3CD-2DVD version.  The 5 disc special edition set with bag of goodies!  But you can get just the two audio CDs, the two audio CDs and concert DVD1, the two audio CDs, concert DVD1 and the second DVD with the Mermaid, AOL, Abbey road, barn jams and On An Island 5.1 audio on.  You can then step it up one and get the extra bonus audio CD along with the two concert audio CDs and two DVDs…. or just go for the 5 LP set!   Confused?  Have a look at the take below.  That may help!

2 CD


2CD + 2DVD

3CD + 2DVD


Concert CD1





Concert CD2





Concert DVD




Sessions DVD



Bonus CD


5 LPs


Buy – UK






Buy – Other






Brief Summary of Discs

There is the Gdansk concert on 2 audio CDs (Disc one and two), the concert video on DVD1 with the Gdansk Diary behind the scenes feature (Disc three), DVD2 has on it 3 songs Live at the Mermaid Theatre from March 2006, 3 songs from the AOL sessions from April 2006, three songs Live from Abbey Road back in August 2006 and 3 instalments of “Barn Jams” recorded in January 2007.  That is disc 4.  And, finally, disc 5 is another audio CD with bonus tracks from the “On an Island” tour of 2006.  There will be more on those later.

The Audio CDs (Disk One and Two)

CD1The first two audio CDs are of the concert itself.  The set list kicks off with 4 songs from Dark Side of the Moon to get the audience warmed up and ready!  David Gilmour’s third solo album “On an Island” is then played beautifully in its entirety.  It really does sound great!

The second CD is then a sort of greatest hits presentation of some of Pink Floyd’s finest songs.  There is a very lively version of Fat Old Sun which is great to listen to and also a fantastic version of Echoes.

CD2You can tell that Richard Wright put a great amount of effort into his parts as he really does shine on this live recording!  Shine On You Crazy Diamond features the wonderful sound of wine glasses filled and tuned with varying amounts of liquid by Gilmour’s son, Joe Gilmour!

As one would expect, the concert closes with a rendition of one of Pink Floyd’s most famous songsComfortably Numb.  But this version is like you have never heard it before.  It has an orchestra of strings behind it combined with sonically beautiful guitar work (a little thanks to the great sounding custom built Pete Cornish effects board), soaring solos, adventure from the keyboards and great punctuations left by drummer Steve DiStanislao!

The Concert DVD 1 (Disc Three)


Disc Three contains the Live in Gdansk concert and Gdansk diary feature.  The DVD has a slightly different track order to the audio CDs and not all songs are included either!  On An Island album is played first followed by 5 Pink Floyd songs.  No Wish You Were Here!  That would have been beautiful with orchestral accompaniment in glorious 5.1 surround sound!  But, that said, the concert footage is still exciting!

The concert has subtitle options, the obvious track selection menu in addition to the Gdansk Diary Documentary and, obviously, the concert itself!

Hidden Video

There is a hidden video clip on this DVD! If you navigate to the Track Selection menu, then to the second page, then highlight the Echoes song. After about 5 seconds the word Echoes will start to flash light grey.  Press enter/select on your DVD player and you will see the band sat round what I think is David Gilmour’s kitchen table talking about how the song Echoes came about!


From the main menu, you can select “Weblink” to show the link www.davidgilmour.com/bonus/ which will allow you to download bonus content from the internet over the next 12 months, ending September 2009!  You need to have the DVD in your computer drive at the time otherwise you will not be able to access the free content! The actual link you end up at is https://www.pushentertainment.com/index.cfm?promotion=60.

The Concert

Full Stage ShotThe concert is set in the very industrial Gdansk shipyard and is performed in front of 50,000 fans!  It looks spectacular!  The concert opens with Castellorizonwith accompaniment from The Baltic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestrawhich is conducted by Zbigniew Preisner.  Gilmour’s soaring guitar and the sweeping strings in this industrial setting is superb!

Castellorizon then segues into the song On an Island still with accompaniment from the orchestra.  Richard Wright’s keyboards are a well thought out treat.  This greatness continues on into The Blue.  Gilmour’s lengthy solo, which makes use of his octave pedal, is one of the early highlights of the concert for me!

Placing his guitar aside, David shows off his new found talents of saxophone playing during Red Sky at Night, complete with beautiful pizzicato from the orchestra, which offers a relaxed few minutes before entering This Heaven in which Richard Wright gets to unleash the power of his stabbing, sweeping Hammond organ!  Bass player Guy Pratt also looks like he is having a good time with his electric double bass!  Perhaps Zbigniew Preisner should have stolen him and placed him in his orchestra!

Richard Wright PlayingThe chip-pan guitar gets used to open Then I Close My Eyes until the growling synthesizers stop him, forcing him to play his lap guitar… on a stand of course!  The Baltic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra are allowed a little more freedom in this song and are much more prominent in the mix.  Long time Floyd collaborator saxophonist Dick Parry makes his first appearance adding his punctuating melodies, before Richard Wright gets to play his wonderful organ melodies, which he and David Gilmour seem to enjoy immensely!  Phil Manzanera is also afforded the time for some soloing.  Then I close My Eyes seems to be the song for soloing as special guest and pianist Leszek Mozdzerdoes his thing complete with pony tail and smart jacket!  Mozdzer also recorded on the On an Island album with David and friends.

After a couple of minutes of introducing the band, Smile starts!  Unfortunately, David Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, does not make an appearance despite making recording on her and David’s studio album.  Apparently, it took some effort to get her to sing even in the studio as that song was the first time she had sung into a microphone.

David’s Rock Song Take a Breath, when in full flow, sounds immense.  It is also visually pleasing as the light man has gone mental on his light programming, seemingly having pressed every button available to him!  I am sure those who are partial-sighted would have seen all those lights!

OrchestraA Pocket Full of Stones gives another opportunity for the 40 piece orchestra to be prominent once again during the intro, before Gilmour’s vocal and piano from Leszek Mozdzer fill out the industrial Gdansk shipyard with a beautiful arrangement.  The final song from On an Island, Where We Start, features a nice Bluesy solo from Gilmour’s black Gretsch guitar.

The relaxed phase of the concert now turns into something else during Syd Barrett’s Astronomy Domine from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn album, Pink Floyd’s first release back in 1967.  The programming for the lighting is nice and erratic once again, which is reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s early pioneering into the use of multimedia during their underground concerts of the 1960s!  Heated gel slides are projected onto the rear the large stage – the largest on the tour no less!

From the start of Pink Floyd, we now move to the end with a song from Pink Floyd’s final album, The Division Bell, High Hopes, which once again benefits from the orchestration – especially during the symphonically beautiful outro.

Richard Wright and David's TelecasterThe ping of Richard Wright’s Hammond organ to start the 25 and a half minute journey that is Echoes gets a rapturous applause from the Gdansk audience.  The whole band bring this old classic to life in the now pitch black Gdansk shipyard.  The “quiet windy section” is especially eerie with Gilmour’s black Strat squealing like a gull.

Great Day for Freedom, originally called In Shades of Grey, is a poignant number given the history of the shipyard, the Solidarity movement, the lives lost in revolution and the ending of oppression due to communist Russian rule.

No concert would be complete without a rendition of the classic Comfortably Numb from Roger Waters’ theatrical piece “The Wall”.  Given Richard Wright’s untimely death from Cancer on 15th September 2008, it is somewhat sad to see him taking the lead during the verses to this great song.  He does an excellent job.  It is a tribute to him and shows what greatness he added to Pink Floyd during their 5 decade career.  He created many fond memories for many people all over the world.

The music for Comfortably Numb was written by David Gilmour whilst in France working on a solo album.  Roger Waters put lyrics to it and became part of The Wall, which then went on to be a milestone in British Music history during the performances of it with a massive wall being physically constructed across the stage.  David Gilmour’s Live in Gdansk is every bit as good!  Well done to all involved! 😉

Gdansk Diary Documentary Feature

Stage in DayAs a wannabe musician, I find all the behind the scenes and setting up stuff particularly interesting!  The Gdansk diary offers a lot of this in addition to telling the story of the Solidarity movement, the meeting of the Polish Politicians and showing some of what happens behind the scenes when setting up

One interesting clip is of David being interviewed by the media.  He is asked“Can you imagine playing one more time with Roger Waters?”.  He gives his response! 😉

37 Minutes Not Enough? Hidden Content?

If 37 and a half minutes of the Gdansk diary is not enough for you, and you are disappointed when it ends, do not despair!  There is more hidden content!  At the end of the documentary after the credits have rolled, the Wire Man appears.  When he does, press your enter/select button to see more of the documentary!

The creator of the Wire Man, David MacIlwaine, wrote an excellent article for the NPF Magazine concerning how the Wire Man came about and how David decided to use it!  You can read that here.

The Sessions DVD 2 (Disc Four)

DVD2Disc four (DVD2) contains 3 videos/songs each from Live at the Mermaid Theatre from March 2006, AOL Sessions from April 2006, Live from Abbey Road from August 2006 and 3 “barn jams” recorded at David’s house from January 2007.  Fortunately, no songs are duplicated on this bonus DVD from the previous DVD release of Remember That Night Live at the Royal Albert Hall, although that former DVD does have some of the rest of the sessions!  So you definitely need both!!

Richard Wright does an excellent rendition during the Mermaid Theatre sessions during Wearing The Inside Out from Pink Floyd’s final album The Division Bell.

Another stand out track is the acoustic version of Echoes live from Abbey Road!  That is certainly one to watch if you haven’t seen it already!

The Barn Jams

Barn Jams from Davids BarnAlso of interest are the 3 Barn Jams which are performed in David Gilmour’s 300 year old barn at his Sussex farm!  They are bluesy musical jams with no vocals.  Its nice to see them at play having seen all the work they have put in relatively recently on the On An Island tour, Gdansk being the final night of it!  And a very fine night it was too.  David does some drumming at one stage, a talent he also showed off during the AOL sessions!

On An Island 5.1 Mix (Audio)

If you have a 5.1 surround sound system (with a massive sub-woofer) then you will be pleased to know that you will be able to listen to the wonderful On An Island album in glorious 5.1.  DVD2 contains it. 😉

Hidden Chat in the Barn

There is another hidden “interview” about the Barn Jams on the disk!  Hidden away like a little Easter egg!  On Disc 4, go to Performances then Next, highlight Barn Jam 166 then use your left directional button to take you to another menu asking you if you want subtitles on.  That is the link to the video of David Gilmour and Richard Wright discussing their barn jams and working with each other over the years.  It lasts for 3 minutes and 25 seconds.

You can also access it if watching on your computer, by going to Title 26, Chapter 1!

Bonus CD (Disc Five)

CD3Just in case all of the aforementioned is not enough for you, there is one last disc 5 which is an audio CD with recordings from various nights on the On An Island tour around the world.  Beats the bootlegs as they are straight out of the mixing desk and mixed instead of from some bootleggers microphone tucked into their top pocket!

The songs were recorded mainly in Vienne and some other locations over Europe.  Sounds great and well worth a listen!  There is a nice rendition of Syd Barrett’s Dominoes.  Another nice touch is the inclusion of Find the Cost of Freedom – recorded at the concert I attended on the tour at Manchester’s beautiful Bridgewater Hall – with Crosby and Nash as special guests combining their vocals with David Gilmour’s!  Lovely harmonies, great concert! 😉

Share Your Own Review of the Discs!

If you would like to share your own review of the CDs or DVDs, then please do so on the special topic I have set up on The Forum.  Any feedback on my article would also be appreciated!


Wots… Uh… On The Discs?

Disc: 1 (CD1)

  1. Speak To Me
  2. Breathe
  3. Time
  4. Breathe (Reprise)
  5. Castellorizon
  6. On An Island
  7. The Blue
  8. Red Sky At Night
  9. This Heaven
  10. Then I Close My Eyes
  11. Smile
  12. Take A Breath
  13. A Pocketful Of Stones
  14. Where We Start

Disc 2 (CD2)

  1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
  2. Astronomy Domine
  3. Fat Old Sun
  4. High Hopes
  5. Echoes
  6. Wish You Were Here
  7. A Great Day For Freedom
  8. Comfortably Numb

Disc 3 (DVD1)

  1. Castellorizon
  2. On An Island
  3. The Blue
  4. Red Sky At Night
  5. This Heaven
  6. Then I Close My Eyes
  7. Smile
  8. Take A Breath
  9. A Pocketful Of Stones
  10. Where We Start
  11. Astronomy Domine
  12. High Hopes
  13. Echoes
  14. A Great Day For Freedom
  15. Comfortably Numb
  16. Credits – Wots ….. Uh The Deal

Bonus: Gdansk Diary Documentary

Disc 4 (DVD2)

Live From Mermaid Theatre, London, March 2006

  • Shine On You Crazy Diamond
  • Wearing The Inside
  • Comfortably Numb

AOL Sessions, New York, April 2006

  • On An Island
  • High Hopes

Live From Abbey RoadLondon, August 2006

  • The Blue)
  • Take A Breath
  • Echoes (Acoustic)

Recorded in UK, January 2007

  • Barn Jam 166
  • Barn Jam 192
  • Barn Jam 121

On An Island (Audio Only) 5.1 Surround Sound Version

  • Castellorizon
  • On An Island
  • The Blue
  • Take A Breath
  • Red Sky At Night
  • This Heaven
  • Then I Close My Eyes
  • Smile
  • A Pocketful Of Stones
  • Where We Start
  • Credits – Red Sky At Night

Disc 5 (CD3)

  1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Live In Venice And Vienne)
  2. Dominoes (Live In Paris)
  3. The Blue (Live In Vienne)
  4. Take A Breath (Live In Munich)
  5. Wish You Were Here (Live In Glasgow)
  6. Coming Back To Life (Live In Florence)
  7. Find The Cost Of Freedom (Live In Manchester)
  8. This Heaven (Live In Vienne)
  9. Wearing The Inside Out (Live In Milan)
  10. A Pocketful Of Stones (Live In Vienne)
  11. Where We Start (Live In Vienne)
  12. On The Turning Away (Live In Venice)

On An Island Re-Release (USA) Review

David Gilmour and Richard Wright performing at David's 60th Birthday party.
David Gilmour and Richard Wright performing at David’s 60th Birthday party.

David Gilmour’s third solo album On An Island (OAI) was first released on his 60th birthday back on 6th March 2006. Indeed, he celebrated his 60th at Porchester Hall in London at which he performed some songs with his 2006 touring band before they went off to travel the world touring the new album. It is therefore slightly surprising that, less than 9 months later, the album is re-released! This time though with a separate bonus DVD.

Naturally, Gilmour used the media to his advantage to publicise the first offering of OAI, the first solo effort for many years, which included magazine interviews, radio interviews and, of course, TV and the internet! One such event for the internet was the AOL Session he did in April 2006. These sessions, along with a performance from the Royal Albert Hall and another for a documentary in Abbey Road Studios, are included on the bonus DVD now packaged with the original OAI CD.

To Buy Or Not To Buy?

David Gilmour - Live And In Session Limited Edition DVD.
David Gilmour – Live And In Session Limited Edition DVD.

The AOL sessions, although presented in high definition video quality and excellent sound, are not that interesting visually. In fact, the physical set they perform on is as interesting as a brown paper bag. Looks the same too! Although a good listen, it is not as good as the forthcoming live DVD will be! The Abbey Road Studios performance – recorded for a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary broadcast in the UK in early 2007 – again sounds and looks OK, but is also not that visually interesting; but is more visually interesting than the AOL sessions! The only “interesting” aspect of the DVD is the live performance from the Royal Albert Hall of Take A Breath in May 2006.

Considering that the only interesting aspect of the bonus DVD is the performance of Take A Breath from the Royal Albert Hall, you must ask yourself if it is worth buying the re-release of On An Island just to get the new bonus DVD. The CD of On An Island is no different to the original (although the UK/Europe one has a slightly different packaging). The only difference is the inclusion of the DVD. As the only real interesting part of the DVD is the performance of Take A Breath, most people would probably be best waiting for the full concert DVD to be released next year. It is only people who don’t own the first release of the album and completists who should really be buying this!

Discuss re-release on the froumFor those who have not heard the album, I have included some track-by-track ‘notes’ that I made whilst listening to the album the other day. Do feel free to comment about what you think of this re-release on the forum on this discussion thread.
On An Island CD – My Track-By-Track Notes

The actual mix/recording of On An Island has not changed at all in this re-release. It has just been bundled with a new DVD. However, it is still a great relaxed album and should be in every Floydian’s posession! Below are my notes on each of the tracks on the audio CD.
1. Castellorizon (Gilmour) – 3:54

Castellorizon opens the album in a soundscape of unusual sounds, sweeping strings that mimic the ocean waves riding up the beach and later develops into a great squealing guitar solo! During the live performances of OAI, most of this track was not played live. The track was inspired by a night he spent on the Greek island Kastellórizo.

2. On An Island (Gilmour/Samson) – 6:47

The album then segues into track two which was the first single from the album. It is the first on the album to feature vocals and, indeed, features some beautiful work from David Crosby and Graham Nash. Crosby and Nash appeared as special guests on several of the OAI live performances; including the one I went to in Manchester! Early days Pink Floyd member Rado Klose features on this track playing guitar. David Gilmour naturally shows his mastery of guitar playing on this track with a nice extended solo greatly adding to the narrative and texture of the track.

3. The Blue (Gilmour/Samson) – 5:26

After a fade out from the previous track, The Blue begins in one easy movement. This is one of the most beautiful of the songs on the album in my opinion in terms of its general feel, harmonies and the dynamics between the sections of the song. It swells beautifully into the chorus through. It also features a nice guitar solo which makes good use of an octave pedal which makes the sound of the guitar glide from one note to an octave up or down. A beautiful touch! You can see Gilmour recording the guitar part to this song on his Astoria Studio boat on the publicity videos circulated from David site as the album was released. His wife Polly also plays basic piano on this track, with further accompaniment from Jools Holland.
4. Take a Breath (Gilmour/Samson) – 5:46

Take a Breath is the most up tempo and “violent” of all the songs on the album and features a driving drum beat. It is rocking but retains the delicate touch of Gilmour and the other musicians. Although musically very good, lyrically it is very basic and reminiscent of Gilmour’s other solo albums. The lyrics could be accurately described as throwaway and the guitar solo at the end is nothing to write home about!

5. Red Sky at Night (Gilmour) – 2:51

Red Sky at Night is the second instrumental track on the album and features Gilmour playing on his new toy; a saxophone! The track has a relaxed and almost melancholic atmosphere throughout and acts as a good piece in the narrative of the album to link Take a Breath and This Heaven together.

6. This Heaven (Gilmour/Samson) – 4:24

This track is quite a contrast to the rest of the album and possibly all of Gilmour’s other musical output as a solo artist and with Pink Floyd! It is a busy but slow swinging, finger clicking kind of track! It is scattered with fitting pieces of solo guitar throughout; but surly only to pad the melody out. The guitar work does improve towards the end, mind.

7. Then I Close My Eyes (Gilmour) – 5:26

Then I Close my eyes is another soundscape which is reflective of Castellorizon. It features an intriguing piece of banjo work by Gilmour in the first section of the piece. This gives way to an array of classical instruments and easy flowing melody, texture and colour!

8. Smile (Gilmour/Samson) – 4:03

Smile was the second single from the album and is, in contrast to the first single On An Island, more atmospheric and simple. Polly Samson wrote most of the lyrics and even does backing vocals on this track. A beautiful touch some would say. I know many others who would call her the Yoko Ono of the Pink Floyd camp! To the latter, I ask them to consider how much worse this album would be without her!!

9. A Pocketful of Stones (Gilmour/Samson) – 6:17

A Pocketful of Stones is another relaxed and atmospheric track which features modern synths in addition to classical orchestration. It probably has the best vocal performance on the album in my opinion. It reminds me of the Sonnet 18 recording on the David Gilmour in Concert DVD. It has Gilmour’s signature guitar playing at the end and a fine example too. Uncomplicated, atmospheric and full of the beautiful and controlled tones on would expect from a guitar genius.

10. Where We Start (Gilmour) – 6:45

The final song on the album continues on the atmospheric arrangement theme and probably has the best combination of music and lyrics on the album in my opinion.