David Gilmour shouldn’t need an introduction, but just incase his guitar solos sent you on such a trip you forgot where you were, here’s a quick history lesson. The English singer/songwriter/guitarist/jack of all trades musical entrepreneur joined Pink Floyd in 1967. Fast forward to 2015 and the band has sold over 250 million records worldwide, yet the Cambridge product is still producing music. Rattle That Lock is Gilmour’s fourth solo album and was released in September of this year. To celebrate the release, we’ve collected five of Gilmour’s most captivating live solos. Shut your blinds, light a candle, turn your speakers up to 11 and let the master take you on a journey.
#5 ‘Young Lust’ at Earls Court, August 1980
Pink Floyd may be best remembered for their laid back, synthesised psychedelic sound, but the band was just as brilliant playing hardcore guitar rock too. ‘Young Lust’, a dominant track from The Wall, performed here live in 1980 showcases Gilmour in all his glory. The effortless combination of syncopated rhythm and lead (dirty and oh so clean Fender), backed by soaring, growling vocals completes a timeless Floyd classic rock offering.
#4 ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ at Earls Court, August 1980
The video features all four original Floyd members, including Dave Gilmour (unusually, playing a Gibson Les Paul) performing the quintessentially brilliant lead break that anchors the song so very well. Perhaps like no other, Gilmour has demonstrated over time the value of complementary and melodious lead guitar in lifting the stakes of a song to dizzy heights. Amply demonstrated right here.
#3 ‘Wish You Were Here’ at the Royal Albert Hall, June 2001
This is Dave Gilmour in triumphant unplugged mode, displaying all the verve, style and emotion we’ve come to associate with the searing electric riffs from his heyday with Pink Floyd. In the warm environs of London’s Royal Albert Hall, Gilmour strokes his Taylor acoustic with crystal precision, backed only by 12-string acoustic, stand-up bass, cello and piano. His voice and guitar are as one in this rendition of the emblematic Floyd track, ‘Wish You Were Here’, highlighted by Gilmour’s falsetto simulation of the lead break we know so well.
#2 ‘Comfortably Numb’ at Earls Court, October 1994
There can be little doubt that Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ continues to hold the high ground as one of rock music’s greatest anthems. Gilmour’s effortless solo is a masterclass of composition and technique, covering every string and fret of his Fender and stamping him as one of rock’s greatest guitarists. Further, the guitar solo itself, with melodious, screaming notes cascading perfectly into an emotional crescendo that pierces the marrow every time, is surely one the greatest of all time.
#1 Echoes Part 1, at the Roman Amphitheatre in Pompeii, October 1971
Pink Floyd’s live performance in the deserted ruins of Pompeii’s ancient Amphitheatre remains an iconic statement of the classical rock era. The extended ‘Echoes’ track (running over 23 minutes on the Meddle album studio version) speaks of no-frills, hardcore guitar rock, where Gilmour’s harmonies with Rick Wright are magical while his guitar playing is second to none. This is Floyd psychedelia at its very best, at a time when extended guitar solos were not only desirable but still very cool.