Feeling the PULSE

After having so much fun listening to Led Zepp in concert again, I decided it was time to see some more on the big(ish) screen. So I went out with the intention of getting the recent Led Zepp ‘DVD’ (that’s all it’s called), a meticulously mixed version of all their surviving live recordings. Seeing the price, though, made me think again for now, which is when I noticed the famous PULSE by Pink Floyd, one of their most recent concerts ,famed for some incredible renditions of Dark Side of the Moon, amongst others. Having already heard the CD and finding it a lot more exciting than a studio album and seeing that it half price due to being an imported version without subtitles, I went for it, rushing home to slot it in.
All I can say is… WOW! Seeing them there in Earls court, with the rich play of lasers and the thrill of the crowd would be enough on its own. Not being able to see the walls in the darkness, it may as well be outside and the crowd is certainly massive. But seeing the extended, one-off guitar solos echoing around the stadium, turns it into a memorable event, even seen vicariously like this. I’ve been into this music for years, but rarely even heard a badly-recorded bootleg, let alone had a chance to see it performed. Thank God for DVD as a VHS tape would have seriously compromised the image and sound (it actually comes with a 650kbs Dolby Digital mix, which is quite a lot more than the usual 448 kbs, which does sound a little more detailed, too). To be honest, the video’s pretty low quality, at least on my DVD player/tv combo, with spot-lights shining in people’s faces and a kind of roughness to the whole thing, but the camera-work is almost perfect, which makes up for that in spades.
My favourites so far are ‘Learning to Fly’, a remix of ‘Another Brick in the Wall, Past 2" (including lasers swinging in time with the helicopter blades), a fantastic rendition of "Echoes" and seeing the entire "Dark Side of the Moon" performed live. What? That’s practically the whole 2 Dvds anyway? Well, just goes to show how much I love it! If I did have to choose a moment, though, it would have to be the guitar solo after ‘Learning to Fly’, which is actually one of the best I’ve ever heard. I often thought that even though I love their music, Floyd weren’t ever as skilled musicians as Led Zepp or Jimi Hendrix- hearing this makes me seriously think again.
All I can say is that if you’re a Pink Floyd fan, or even if you aren’t but you like good rock music, go out and get your hands on this, by beg, borrowing or stealing it (the last is just a joke, kids!) Next up for me is another live recording of Floyd and perhaps that Led Zep DVD. Now I’ve got my surround speakers connected again, I can hear that great sound-stage, but these surround mixes are controversial, as sometimes the music loses some of it’s ‘punch’ arranged with all the ambience and breeziness. Personally, I’m happy with the mix and in some ways it’s a lot more natural-sounding than the CD, but I did notice a few things happening on-screen that didn’t really make it to the speakers. Well, there’s always the usual stereo mix to fall back on (or, even better it seems, the surround’s downmix, which has a lot more richness, at least from my player and the same ‘punch’). So, either way, just sit back and enjoy Floyd, as you’ve never seen them before, right there in your living-room!
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