If you’re feeling a little stressed today—maybe a lot stressed today, maybe severely-rationing-your-social-media stressed—it might do you some good to get comfortably numb. And unless the laws of your locality prevent it, you can reach a safe state of bliss at home with historic live concert films from Pink Floyd. “Following the lead of Radiohead and Metallica and launching a YouTube concert series,” notes Consequence of Sound, “the band will release unseen, rare, or archived material from their vault and stream it for free” over the next few weeks.
It may or may not be necessary to qualify that Pink Floyd these days consists of only two people, David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Richard Wright having passed away in 2008 and bassist/rock opera impresario Roger Waters having stormed off to make his own records in 1985, never to return. Perhaps only coincidentally, the first film the band has released is 1994’s Pulse, a 22-song set from the Division Bell tour, the second studio album made without Waters. But it’s got quite a lot to recommend it despite his absence.
“Filmed at London’s now-defunct Earls Court during the band’s record-breaking 14-night residency,” this show is notable particularly for “the inclusion of the first-ever film recording of Pink Floyd playing The Dark Side of the Moon in full.” The 1972 album’s sardonic ruminations on the banality of modern life in an economy that cannot stop its constant grind might strike us as particularly grim while we’re facing such huge collective losses of life and livelihood. But as always, the band knows how to make its medicine go down with some sweet eye and ear candy.
Mixed in 5.1 surround sound and digitally re-mastered by James Guthrie, Pulse also includes some of original screen films used for the 1970s concert performances of The Dark Side of the Moon (which were never filmed) as well as the visual components for the piece which were remade for the 1994 tour.
On their Facebook page, the band promises more “interesting and diverting images, music and video to help us all get through this”—as best as we can, in any case. And if you run out of Pink Floyd to help you get through a tough time of day, head over to see another band bringing blues-based psych-rock, American style, to the shut-in masses this spring. The Grateful Dead have their own weekly streaming series of full concert films. Of the first concert posted, they write, "Its excellence is indisputable and is something that we think pretty much everyone will enjoy in the absence of actually being able to see live concerts."
Take an hour or two to relax with some classic live shows from classic bands of yore, and maybe make a list of all the current bands you want to go out and support as soon as you get out of quarantine. Something tells me after all this livestreaming, there’ll be waves of renewed appreciation for live music. Goodness knows, musicians everywhere will need it.
Visit the Pink Floyd Youtube channel for more lives streams in the future.