David Gilmour’s Live in Gdańsk was recorded and filmed in 2006 at the Polish city’s shipyards, the very same historic location where Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement began its populist assault on the country’s repressive Soviet-installed regime in 1980. By all accounts of the time it was a truly awesome multimedia spectacle. But there are strange and sad ironies that accompany this release as well. For starters, it was released in the U.K. exactly a week after the death of Richard Wright, Gilmour’s longtime bandmate in Pink Floyd, and his keyboardist here. Secondly, it appears during a period of increased tension between Russia and the United States over the latter’s proposed missile defense system to be placed in Poland (by the U.S.) and the country’s intended membership in NATO. But there is nothing bittersweet about the music to be found on this double-disc package (one of six different packages that document the event and the tour — apparently nobody told Gilmour the recording industry was in an economic crisis). On this version, two and a half hours document the entire concert. Gilmour’s band — Wright, Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, keyboardist Jon Carin, bassist Guy Pratt, drummer Steve DiStanislao, and saxophonist Dick Parry — is accompanied by the Baltic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, including its 40-piece string section, conducted by Zbigniew Preisner (who did the arrangements on Gilmour’s On an Island album).
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