Updated: Jan 17, 2022
To view the accompanying video head here.....
A few weeks ago I began filming and posting my new YouTube series "MY FAVOURITE THINGS". These videos were always designed to be quite small - no more than 10 minutes in length: the kind of video that YouTube is rife with! This limit pushes my waffling brain to the limit...I just can't cope with being so restrained! Actually, that's not true at all but I do feel the need to go into a bit more detail for the benefit of those geeks like me who have to know about EVERYTHING.....Ok, that's not true either: it's all for ME!
I could only ever discuss David Gilmour first as, quite frankly, without David Gilmour and Pink Floyd it's quite likely that, not only would have never have begun playing guitar, I wouldn't have the professional or personal life that I have right now. And so I thought I would detail my own personal Gilmour/Floyd journey for your reading pleasure....
Me & David Gilmour
This it how I remember this story. My Father features quite prominently in most of this tale as the unknowing conduit in my introduction to Floyd life! So if you ever get the chance to ask him about it, he might remember it differently to me!
The first time I heard Pink Floyd would be in the early 90's and I would be around 12 years old...ish. Dad had purchased a cassette copy of the live album Delicate Sound of Thunder and was playing it quite regularly in the car. We went on family caravan holidays in those days and so there was plenty of opportunity for musical immersion on long car journeys. It's actually quite lucky that I ever managed to hear it at all, my Mum would also have been in the car and is definitely not the worlds largest Floyd fan! Nevertheless I have a vivid recollection of her passing comment on the appearance of a snippet of the Doctor Who Theme in the middle of One of These Days - in fact I think about it every time it appears now. Anyway, I digress....as usual. And so I found myself listening to this live album quite a lot, knowing nothing about it, but finding it rather good: it's fair to say that the love affair had begun.
My next memory of my relationship with this record was around the same period that my younger brother was taking swimming lessons, and a bit later on in time from the above. There was a 20ish minute drive involved to get to the swimming pool and, let's say, an hour for the lesson. I wanted to listen to this album more and more but, for some unknown reason, I didn't want to tell anyone about it. So a plan was hatched: I would leap at the chance to accompany the family in the car to swimming lessons and then wait in said car - under the very clever(!) ruse that I could do my school homework whilst waiting. I sucked at school so a minimal amount of homework was done but a MAXIMUM amount of listening to The Delicate Sound of Thunder took place, all the while pouring over the album sleeve and discovering the identity of this fellow by the name of David Gilmour....wow, he was the guitarist and the singer!
I still remember the very first picture of David Gilmour I ever saw. Dad still has that same cassette copy of The Delicate Sound of Thunder. When I next go for a visit I'll dig it out and post it.....
This secret crush went on for a long time - maybe a couple of years. It's one of my greatest regrets that I kept my new Pink Floyd love affair to myself as will be revealed....
There's a bit of an overlapping in my memory here - it's been nearly 30 years - and I can't quite remember the order of events as well as I'd like to. But I clearly remember seeing copies of the NEW Pink Floyd album The Division Bell stacked up in a rather lovely display at Andy's Records in Meadowhall - a retail outlet in Sheffield. Sadly Andy's Records is no more but Meadowhall still survives to tell the tale as does my copy of The Division Bell!
I've since found out after the event that, thanks to my stupid secret keeping, I missed the opportunity to see Floyd on the '94 tour. Alongside the release of The Division Bell came the announcement that there would be a world tour in support of it. I had no idea about this at all but Dad had caught wind of it. He knew that Floyd were planning on a residency of concerts at Earls Court and, had he known that I was becoming a fan, he would have bought tickets for us to see them. At the time he had no one else to go with so let the chance slide! DAMN IT!!!
It was now time for my secret love affair to come out into the open. I just mentioned the Earls Court concerts in the paragraph above and, in October 1994, the BBC screened the Earls Court show that would go on to become the PULSE Video. I obviously wanted to watch this event but there was a snag: Dad was also going to watch it! He would be there. In. The. Room.
There was nothing for it: I was going to have to 'come out'.
Dad now recalls three things about this event 1) That I appeared at all! By this point I was now thoroughly dug into my mid-teen bedroom phase and so it was extremely rare that I would even deign to acknowledge that the rest of the household existed, let alone watch television with them! 2) Upon catching sight of 'The Floyd' moving for the first time I apparently remarked "They're old men!!" Bear in mind that in these pre-internet days the only way to view such concerts was on video or TV Broadcast and, as I have detailed above, I had no prior knowledge of who "Pink Floyd" were and only a cassette sleeve for reference, so this outburst, although a bit harsh, isn't entirely unjustified. To be fair they weren't actually old men then - David Gilmour of 1994 would perhaps be only a few years older than I am now. But, to a 14 year old.... Anyway, 3) I apparently said nothing else throughout the whole broadcast. I just sat there dumbfounded at the spectacle. And what a spectacle that '94 tour was!
That was it, the addiction was secured. I was out! The speaking of Steve would now only grow as I would now regularly ask Dad if I could borrow his tapes. I remember buying The Division Bell on CD and The Dark Side of The Moon as well.....I can also remember the moment that it clicked that the second half of that Earls Court show had been this monumental album in it's entirety.
This would bring us up to early 1995 and I finally worked up the courage to tell my parents that I wanted to learn guitar. I can't remember when this first stirring towards the most beautiful instrument began but I do remember 'noticing' guitars more and more on Top of The Pops and really feeling like I wanted to be part of that gang! It was DEFINITELY the influence of David Gilmour though that tipped me over the edge to finally opening my mouth. After a little to-ing and fro-ing with my parents - lots of "It'll end up in the corner of your room untouched!" etc - I did finally get my first guitar: A BRIGHT PINK Hondo Strat copy which, sadly, I sold to upgrade to a Hohner Jack Headless guitar which, again, I sadly sold to pay the deposit on my first love...."Charlie". I still have him. I still play him. I still love him. Here he is....
And so it went on. My love of Pink Floyd was cemented and un-moving - even to this day I go through very regular and quite major periods of Pink Floyd obsession. This love has only been equaled by my love of playing guitar which similarly manifests itself in my obsessive desire to collect guitars that very closely resemble 'the man's'.
Following the 94 tour, Gilmour entered a self-imposed semi retirement era. He had gotten remarried and started a family. So why not? It did - and does - frustrate the living daylights out of me that I discovered Pink Floyd just in time for their career to end! Is that ironic? Alanis Morrissette would know...actually no, she probably wouldn't! Anyway.....I did genuinely think that that was that. No more Pink Floyd and not much chance of Gilmour coming out to play. Then in 2001 he surprised us all by playing at the Meltdown Festival at The Royal Festival Hall.....and Dad and I got tickets!!! It was a massive shock to us that he would perform this show pretty much totally acoustically....no circular screen, no mirror ball, no flying pigs, no red strat. The show was filmed and released on video/DVD as David Gilmour In Concert - and you can see us on it! Well, I can see us anyway!
He repeated this show again in 2002 at the same venue and here is where I'm sad to say that Gilmour and I had our first lovers tiff.....well, he was a bit of a dick to me anyway!
We'd headed to the show early as I wanted to spend a bit of time at the backstage door in the hope of snagging an autograph from my idol. I'd already successfully done this with Mark Knopfler a few years earlier so what could go wrong? It was January. It was freezing cold. It wasn't fun! There were only a few people milling about. No huge throng. No rowdy rabble. Just a few people. We'd been there for a few hours when a Mercedes pulled up out onto the pavement nearby and a 'heavy' got out...i.e. a bodyguard kind of person. The stage door opened and out he came. IT WAS DAVID GILMOUR....right there!
And then it happened.
I said the immortal words: "Mr Gilmour could I have....." And her cut me off with: "NO!" He never even broke his stride.
Anyway, I can at least say that I stood next to him. He literally passed by me...he's much shorter than I imagined. Only shoulder height to me....
I haven't held it against him too much. I still think there was no need. If there had been a huge throng then I could understand his attitude. But it would have taken him less than a minute to sign a few pictures. He made up for it by bringing on the surprise guest of Richard Wright to perform some songs with him. A serious Oh My God moment.
And so that was about that. Again we fell into 'the wait of the Pink Floyd fan'...in other words the wait for the big bog all to happen.
Then 2005 happened.
Actually, the impossible happened.
Pink Floyd were going to play a Live 8. And not only Pink Floyd...Roger Waters was only going to be there with them! Oh.My.God! And I was there. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was easily the greatest concert experience I've every known....Simply wonderful. I can't say anything else about it. I'd finally achieved my ambition to see Pink Floyd. And what turned out to be the final performance by the 'classic' line-up as well.
Of course I couldn't help but notice that Gilmour played The Black Strat at this show.I had to wonder, geek that I am, if this was a deliberate decision seeing as Roger was with them and The Black Strat was used when Roger was last with them at The Wall shows....
I missed the opportunity to see Gilmour in 2006 on the On An Island tour as, in the wake of Live 8, the tickets sold out in seconds......only to appear at hugely inflated prices on eBay.
I did see Gilmour on the Rattle That Lock tour in 2016. The FINAL night of the tour in fact at the Royal Albert Hall. And, of course, I went with Dad.
At the end of the show he remarked "That could be the best concert I've ever been to." Yes, Dad. It might well have been.