There are many reasons for not attending a live concert by an artist you love. Maybe the tickets sold out quicker than you could say ‘Scalpers!’. Perhaps the concert was in another city—or another country. For artists long gone, you may have been born too late. Whatever the reason, the live album has long been a consolation prize for music fans who couldn’t make the gig.
In 1994, Pink Floyd—at the time consisting of David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright—released The Division Bell and mounted an extensive tour to accompany what turned out to be their last studio album of new material. Naturally they recorded the shows and put out an album to mark the occasion.
Pulse, originally released in 1995, was a 2CD set featuring songs from the latest album, some perennial favourites, and a complete live performance of Dark Side of the Moon. It was impeccably played, beautifully recorded, and very nicely packaged by a team including the legendary Storm Thorgerson. Some versions even had a pulsing red LED light on the spine of the CD slipcase.
The 2018 re-issue of only the second official live Pink Floyd album as a 4 LP boxed set caused a lifting of pulse rates amongst Pink Floyd fans, this writer included. Despite having a well-maintained compact disc set (with flashing light) I was seduced by this delicious slab of live Floyd.
It is a brilliant performance and a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience on vinyl. The arrangements are slick and powerful, and to the delight of fans, the much loved song ‘One of these days’ (from Meddle) is restored to its rightful place in the running order.
What’s more, Pulse is a visual treat.
The record covers have all the mystery and fascination of classic Hipgnosis design while the hardcover LP-sized booklet is a feast of images from the concerts.
Overall, this lavish set will bring smiles to the faces of Pink Floyd fans everywhere, yet could serve equally well as an introduction to one of rock’s classic bands. It may not have a flashing light, but it has everything else.
© Bruce Jenkins 2018