David Gilmour Swings Six Ways

I was poking around Amazon last week when I found David Gilmour's new Live in Gdansk album. In fact, I found several versions. It's available in no fewer than six configurations that dole out varying levels of content at prices from $20 to $116.

At $20, the lowest-priced package offers two CDs covering the entire concert except for one song, "Wot's...Uh the Deal?," which does however play over the end credits of the concert DVD included with the more expensive sets.

At $35, you get two CDs and one DVD. The video material includes 15 of the 22 concert tracks (omitting the Dark Side medley and a few other things) plus "Gdansk Diary," a making-of documentary that mixes concert and backstage footage.

For $50, the set includes two CDs and two DVDs. The extra videodisc is loaded with stuff including three tracks from a London concert, live-in-studio material from AOL Sessions and Abbey Road, three jams from Gilmour's rehearsal barn, and the full On an Island studio album mixed in both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1.

The full version lists for a breathtaking $116. It includes three CDs and two DVDs. The extra CD, for you completists, has more tracks from the 2006 tour.

Finally, for $97, there is also a five-disc set on vinyl. The first four LPs contain the concert while the last one offers extra live tracks. Incidentally, you can get significant discounts off these list prices at Amazon and elsewhere.

Buying the sets (at least the one I own) also entitles the user to access downloadable content by placing the first DVD into a PC with a web connection. The online material will be "updated regularly for a limited period."

The summer 2006 tour was an eventful one. It included Richard Wright, who died recently at the age of 65, and might be seen as a memorial to the underrated keyboardist who contributed much of Pink Floyd's mood, flow, and texture. The concert featured here took the band to the Gdansk shipyards in Poland, birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which sparked Eastern Europe's return to democracy. Included in the set are songs from several stages of Pink Floyd's history plus the entirety of Gilmour's then-new On an Island.

Do you need one of these sets if you've already bought Gilmour's Remember That Night: Live at Royal Albert Hall? This is the first live recording to replicate the studio album's orchestral parts. Unlike the previous live set, this one includes CDs that can be easily ripped. The second DVD in the $116 and $50 sets includes much never-before-heard material including the jams and a fragmentary unplugged version of "Echoes." Finally, it's hard to turn down the same disc's transformative 5.1-channel remixes of On an Island.

The only angle Gilmour has neglected is Blu-ray. Somehow I have a feeling he'll get to it soon. The Blu-ray version of Remember That Night followed the DVD by two months.

See the David Gilmour site.