The Delicate Sound Of Thunder (Blu Ray Edition) – Pink Floyd
When it comes to making money both The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd have always been amongst the highest earners since the late 80’s. Although the latter of the two never charged extortionate prices for a concert ticket to go and see them play live like the other did. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if Floyd had of continued to play live like the Stones did, they also would be charging £300 or more for a ticket. Apart from the one-off 18-minute reunion with Roger Waters at Live 8 on the 2nd of July 2005. Pink Floyd have not played a full live concert since the 29th of October 1994 yet they still function as if they are still going today with the way their music has been reissued and released in high priced elaborate box sets.
It was only at the end of last year that Pink Floyd released The Later Years 1987-2019 Box Set that came at a WHOPPING! price tag of around £300. That might not appear to be too expensive if your profession is that of a lawyer, doctor, accountant or even a brain surgeon 😁😁😁. But for the average Joe even here in the UK many would be lucky if they took that money home in their pay packet at the end of a week and you would have to be living in places like London to take that home after tax. If you could put aside £20 per-week it would take you 15 weeks (a quarter of a year) just to save up the money to buy it.
The later years of Pink Floyd’s career is hardly the bands best output and their career does not even stretch as far as 2019. In reality even the final album Endless River that was released back in 2014 was only a compilation album of unused material that came out of the recording sessions back in 1993/4 whilst the band were making The Division Bell and was compiled and put together by only one of its band members and was nothing to write home about. In reality you could say the bands career ended back in 1994 and in my personal opinion The Division Bell was the only real decent album the band had produced after Roger Waters left back in 1983.
As with most box sets, they generally try and include unreleased material remaster and remix older material and even include 5.1 surround mixes and throw in other trinkets such as replica concert tickets, programs, posters, badges and include a book and other sorts. The surround mix in particular is what entices many surround FREAKS! such as myself to lash out the extra money for such a box set and, in most cases, those are the things that don’t get to see an individual release and are very much a marketing ploy (along with the way it’s been presented) to try and entice you to buy it.
Looking at the contents in the picture above it does look like you are getting your money’s worth or even a lot for the money. But if you were to look at the actual music media content that is contained on the 18 discs within this box set, in reality you are only getting around 6 discs of actual media content. Simply because they are giving you the same thing 3 times over on CD, DVD and Blu Ray. Even if this box set retailed at half its price at £150, they would still be making over 100% profit of what it actually costs to make.
This is the sort greed I myself generally stay clear of and would rather wait till they see sense and start releasing part of it individually at a reasonable price I can afford and don’t have to sell a kidney to obtain the thing I want out of it. Now near enough a year later it appears they have seen sense and they have at least re-released one of the items they were bragging about a year ago which is the Delicate Sound of Thunder film to which has been restored and remixed.
OK! its perhaps not the thing I was after but least it’s a start and I did have this concert on double CD and on VHS when they were released years ago. I don’t think I’ve played them since then either 😁😁😁. But my interest in buying it again was really to see how well they had restored the film footage and if it was worth actually putting on a Blu Ray with all they were bragging about of how well it’s been restored. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging & artwork.
Packaging & Artwork…
The Blu Ray is very neatly presented and comes in a cardboard 2-panel DVD-Sized Digipak with a plastic tray to hold the disc firmly in place. It also comes with a 24-page booklet that is stored in the left-hand side of case and it all is stored in a die cut cardboard slipcase. The booklet contains mostly photographs taken from the live concert and comes with all the usual linear production and credits.
Overall, they have done a quality job on its presentation and personally I think this is a better presentation than the discs that were in The Later Years box set. Though to be fair least they did use gatefold Digisleeves which is a lot better than a single sleeve like how the discs came in their Immersion box sets.
The artwork and design were done by Steve Knee of Blade Design who used some inspiration from the original front cover design done by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis. The Sleeve Photography was done by Rupert Truman of Storm Studios and the Package Photography by Dimo Safari. Overall, I quite like this newer design and Powell’s original manakin with light bulbs all over him has been put to good use. I often wonder if Peter Gabriel got the idea from Powell’s original design to have a jacket made with light bulbs stuck all over it to use at some of his live shows.
The new reissue of Delicate Sound Of Thunder was released on 5 formats counting the Digital Download which is the cheapest option to purchase it at around £12.99. The Double CD is the cheapest of the 4 physical formats and retails around £13.99. Both the DVD & Blu Ray retail around £14.99 & £18.99 respectively and the 3 LP 180-gram Vinyl edition is the most expensive and retails at around £69.99.
They also put out a 4 Disc Deluxe Edition that retails at around £48 which includes the Double CD/DVD & Blu Ray and threw in a 40-page booklet, a double-sided poster and 5 postcards. It’s also worth noting that both the DVD & Blu Ray in the deluxe edition include the 5 bonus tracks “Yet Another Movie”. “Round And Around”. “A New Machine Part 1”. “Terminal Frost” and “A New Machine Part 2”. These bonus tracks were also included in The Later Years Box Set and were omitted from both the single DVD & Blu Ray releases. Once again it can only be seen as another ploy to entice you to spend more money. I pre-ordered the Blu Ray Edition from Amazon UK on the 18th of October and got it slightly cheaper and ended up paying £16.82.
Delicate Sound Of Thunder In Review…
The latest new reissue of the Delicate Sound Of Thunder by Pink Floyd was released on the 20th of November 2020. The blu ray contains the same 16 songs that were featured on the original 1989 VHS version and they run in the same order. However, what we have here is a 2019 remix where some parts have been added and subtracted from some of their other live shows taken from their Momentary Lapse Of Reason tour back in 1989. The new edit of the film also includes the full performance of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” whereas the VHS version only had had the introduction to “Part 1” which was played over a montage of footage. The time-lapse of the stage being disassembled with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 2-5)” on the end credits has been removed and replaced with a black screen accompanied by “Terminal Frost” as the credits instead.
Effectively this is perhaps not for purists but then again not all the film footage from the original 1989 release came from the 5 nights they played at Nassau Coliseum and some additional footage was taken from a couple of the nights they played at the Place d’Armes of the Château de Versailles in France in 1988. That particular footage has now been removed so at least all the footage now comes from the shows they played at the Nassau Coliseum and it’s not unusual for many live releases to feature footage from other venues as they like to include the best performances. Though they may have gone to even more extremes with the editing of this new release and it does look better for it.
The original double live album released back in 1988 has sold over 1.5 million copies in the US alone and reached number 11 in the Billboard chart the same position it reached in the UK albums chart. It’s also worth noting that the Delicate Sound of Thunder was the first album to be played in space and the soviet cosmonauts took it aboard Soyuz TM-7 that was launched in November 1988 to which both Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason attended the launch party.
I remember buying it on CD and I only had it for a few weeks before I lent it to a work mate who never returned it. I never did bother replacing it and brought the VHS Video of the concert in the following year instead. I was never keen on the A Momentary Lapse Of Reason album and it was the songs from that album that put me off watching the live concert and none of the material from that album was never really any highlight of a Pink Floyd show that’s for sure. To be honest I thought the last album The Final Cut they done with Roger Waters was a weak album but for me this was an album that had very little to say.
To be honest even though they have done a completely new remix of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason that supposedly brings it more up to date. From what I have heard of it I am far from impressed and I doubt that I would be even interested if they re-released the 5.1 mix of the album from The Later Years box set next. Like I mentioned in my introduction I did purchase this release to see how well they had restored the film footage and to see if it was up to the higher standards that blu ray has to offer these days. So let’s now take a look at the blu ray.
The Blu Ray.
The main menu looks very neat and sharp and displays the front cover artwork along with three options to choose from “Play All”. “Tracks” and “Audio Setup”. It’s a simple navigation system to get around and is indicated by a white triangle or cursor for you to make your choice.
By clicking on the “Tracks” menu it gives you the choice to play all or select any one of the tracks. I quite like how you do not have to wait for another screen to load and everything is all contained on a one-page menu system where things are simply hidden away. You simply click on the “X” at the bottom to close the tracks menu and it reverts back to the main menu.
The “Audio Setup” offers you the choice 2 audio soundtracks both of which are high-resolution formats of 24 Bit 96K. You have the choice of PCM Stereo 4.6Mbps and a 6.8Mbps 5.1 DTS Master Audio track for the surround FREAKS! such as myself. Overall, a professional job has been done with the blu ray’s interface and menu system and it is pristine quality.
The Picture & Film Editing Quality.
The original film footage of the live concert was directed by Wayne Isham who had a large camera crew onboard and in total 27 cameras were used to capture the live concert. This new release is sourced from more than 100 cans of original 35mm negatives that have been restored and transferred to 4K. I have to say a TOP JOB! has been done regarding the restoration and this concert never looked so good as it does now that’s for sure. It does however look as if it’s been upscaled to 4K which works very well for the actual detail and clarity of the film footage. However, it’s not quite as pristine or polished as 1080p HD simply because it does show up quite a bit of the grain and other blemishes but overall, its very impressive with what has been done here.
It’s also been re-edited by Benny Trickett under the creative direction of Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis and another TOP JOB! has been done of it too. Overall, despite the presence of grain there is no doubt that this was well worth putting on Blu Ray and even the 4K upscaling that has been applied to it brings out the detail larger than life and it’s worth shelling out the extra few pennies for the Blu Ray over the DVD. The Blu Ray is not even advertised as a 4K release but it’s quite evident that it is with how good it looks and I think many people will be impressed with how well it’s been restored.
The Surround & Stereo Mixes.
The sound quality is even more impressive than the picture quality and considering this was an earlier concert than their tour of The Division Bell this does have a better sound production I feel. Pink Floyd’s long-time sound engineer Andy Jackson & David Gilmour remixed the sound from the original multitrack tapes and were assisted by Damon Iddins and they have done a pretty decent job. Both Stereo and 5.1 mixes sound very good and even though I would not say the 5.1 mix was a surround FREAKS! paradise and I have heard better it’s perhaps worthy of 8 out of 10 and its very much another reason to get the Blu Ray over the DVD.
Musicians & Credits…
Directed by Wayne Isham. Produced by Curt Marvis & Carl Wyant. Audio Produced by David Gilmour. Remixed by Andy Jackson with David Gilmour assisted by Damon Iddins. Filmed & Recorded Recorded between the 19th – 23rd of August 1988 at Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York, USA. Recording Engineer Dave Hewitt assisted by Robert (Ringo) Hrycyna. Film Edited by Benny Trickett. Artwork & Design by Steve Knee of Blade Design. Creative Director Aubrey Powell / Hipgnosis. Director of Photography Marc Reshovsky. Sleeve Photography by Rupert Truman of Storm Studios. Package Photography by Dimo Safari.
David Gilmour: Guitar – Vocals.
Richard Wright: Keyboards – Vocals.
Nick Mason: Drums.
Jon Carin: Keyboards – Vocals.
Tim Renwick: Guitars – Vocals.
Guy Pratt: Bass – Vocals.
Gary Wallis: Percussion.
Scott Page: Saxophone – Guitar.
Margret Taylor, Rachel Fury & Durga McBroom: Backing Vocals.
The Concert In Review…
Pink Floyd embarked on a world tour after the release of their 13th studio album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. It was to be the bands first tour since they toured The Wall back in 1981 and notably their first tour without their bassist Roger Waters. The band done two consecutive tours in support of the album and they kicked off the tour at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa in Canada on the 9th of September 1987 and ended off the first leg of the tour on the 23rd of August 1988 at the Nassau Coliseum, New York in America. The venue where this concert was filmed. The band played a total of 158 shows over its first leg of the tour most of which were played in the US & Canada though they also toured New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Europe during the 3 legs of their North American tour.
The second part of their tour was titled “Another Lapse” and this was a much shorter European tour that ran from May–July 1989 starting at the Rock Werchter annual music festival in Belgium on the 13th May 1989. The band played a total of 40 shows on this leg of the tour playing in many European countries such as Belgium. Italy, Greece, Russia, France, Sweden, Finland, Germany, England, Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands. It ended off at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille in France on the 18th July 1989. It’s also worth noting that that the show they played before that on the 15th of July in Venice, at the Grand Canal in Italy was broadcast live worldwide.
The band grossed around 135 million dollars US from their tour making A Momentary Lapse of Reason the highest-grossing tour of the 1980s. They also used part of the set to play at the Knebworth Festival in the following year on the 30th of June 1990 and was the last act to play, to an audience of 120,000. They also financed the £60,000 firework display out of their own pockets to end the show off in style.
The Delicate Sound Of Thunder is a film that captures the band playing live between the 19th-23rd of August 1988 at the Nassau Coliseum indoor arena in Uniondale, New York in the US. The venue itself is a multi-purpose arena that is widely used for concerts and other sports such as Hockey, Basket Ball, Tennis and many more. It was the home of the New York Islanders hockey team between 1972 to 2015 and the venue itself first opened in 1972. The arena had a seating capacity of around 16,300 when Pink Floyd played there in 1988 which was around 1,500 more than what the seating capacity was when they first played the venue back in 1975 on their Wish You Were Here Tour.
Since the venue opened many other bands and artists have played at the arena including the likes of Elvis Presley, David Bowie, The Beach Boys, Queen, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Elton John, Genesis, Frank Zappa and so on. It was announced earlier this year in June that the arena would be closed indefinitely but a couple of months later it was saved by Florida-based businessman Nick Mastroianni II whose company was responsible for the loan to help with the renovation of the arena. The Coliseum offers a different capacity for different events for example, 14,500 seats for basketball, MMA and boxing, 13,900 for hockey, up to 15,000 for concerts, and 4,500 seats for its theater configuration.
On With The Show…
Like I mentioned earlier this is not a concert for purists and things have been jiggered with to make it look good more than anything and on that score it certainly does. The other notable thing is that this new version of the concert is now some 15 minutes longer than the original UK VHS release. One of the major reasons for that is that this release now includes “Money” which was only ever included in the US VHS release and some intro’s and guitar solos on some of the other songs have been extended. The total running time including the end credits is now 1 hour 55 minutes 26 seconds precisely.
The show gets off to a cracking start and it’s good to see that they feature all five parts of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” together rather than apart like on the studio version and this has to be one of the highlights of the show. Though I do think that the sax player Scott Page is a bit too flamboyant at times throughout the show and he does tend to go over the top at times.
The band then knock out five of the songs from what would of been their latest album at the time A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and they roll out the first couple of tracks in order as they were on the album “Signs of Life” and “Learning To Fly” to which I quite like the film footage you also get to see that was done for both of these tracks and it does look even more impressive in 4K. The first of them is really just an instrumental piece and does not really speak that much to me and neither does the latter of them to which Tim Renwick gets to play the lead guitar on. I have nothing against Renwick personally and am quite in ore of some of his playing I have heard him do as a session player on many other artists albums. Some of the echo has also been removed from Gary Wallis’s electronic drums on this newer remix of the song.
“Sorrow” is up next and this is one of the better songs from the album and Dave Gilmour gets fly on the lead guitar and his guitar solo is also extended on this remix. It also does sound more like the material we seen on his solo album About Face rather than classic Floyd Material. They do a good job of rocking things up a bit with “The Dogs of War” and this new mix has a longer intro. Once again Page on his sax tries to hog the limelight here and I quite like how Gilmour has a little chuckle watching him do so 😁😁😁. “On the Turning Away” is up next and its the last song from this album for a bit and its quite a mediocre one that does not really set things on fire not even with its extended solo on this mix either certainly not for myself anyway.
The next part of the show features some of the bands iconic material and “One of These Days” is another of my personal highlights and the surround sound kicks in well on both “Time” and “On the Run” and once again I like the film footage that accompanies these tracks and the way the bed flies across the arena is put to good visual effect. Both Richard Wright’s vocals and Nick Mason’s drums are also dominant good features on the first of those tracks. “The Great Gig in the Sky” is up next which features the voices of the backing singers and once again they do a very good job of it here too. This is also all in colour unlike the original which has black and white footage from the Place d’Armes of the Château de Versailles in France.
They take a slight break from the “TDSOTM” album and both Gilmour and Renwick jump on the acoustic to play “Wish You Were Here” and another GRAND! job is done here and on the next song “Us and Them” which apparently has a piano added to the intro on this remix. It’s also said that even though “Money” that follows it that has now been included is not the full performance and has been condensed omitting Pratt’s bass solo and a female acapella section. Though this is another of my personal highlights of the show.
“Comfortably Numb” is up next and here we have Wright, Pratt and Jon Carin singing the verse sections of the song in unison and I am sorry to say that Roger Waters voice is tremendously missed here and even though Gilmour’s solos (which have also been extended on this mix) and his voice do in some way rescue the song, this is by far the best performance I have personally seen and the way the verses are actually sung I think is diabolical. No doubt others will disagree but they honestly do my head in 😁😁😁. To be honest all 3 of them can very much sing individually but this for me simply does not work at all.
The band then return to their latest album at the time and roll out “One Slip” and this is actually my favourite track from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason only here they more or less use the song to feature Pratt’s slap bass solo and some heavy percussion. I don’t think it measures up to the studio version but it’s not bad. They then wind up the show with “Run Like Hell” and this has never been one of my favourites however, at least the vocals do sound right with Gilmour and Pratt and I am not even missing Waters voice here at all. This new remix has an extended intro and also includes Gilmour thanking the audience at the end of the show and the audio of “Terminal Frost” is used for the rolling credits at the end.
Summary & Conclusion…
To sum up this new 2019 remix of Delicate Sound Of Thunder by Pink Floyd. I am quite impressed with how well they have restored the film footage and because it has been upscaled to 4K that is really where you will benefit more from the Blu Ray more so than the DVD. Though I am pretty sure even the DVD will be quite an improvement over the original VHS which was very poor. It’s not as pristine or as polished like an up-to-date live concert that was captured with the latest technology and if it was not for the 4K upscaling I personally do not think this concert would look as impressive as the DVD that was put out in 2003 of Led Zeppelin that captured 4 earlier concerts and was restored by Dick Carruthers. I would even say that the 5.1 mix was more impressive on that DVD than what we have here as well.
However, with all that has been done here it is without doubt quite a major improvement and well worthy of putting on a Blu Ray. Both the picture and sound quality are very good and I would even say that the sound quality and the 5.1 mix is better than the Pulse DVD. Although I myself prefer that concert in relation to this one and that is really down to my disliking of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Which is why my personal highlights from this show are “Shine On You Crazy Diamond“. “One Of These Days“. “Time“. “On The Run” and “Money“.
I think the one thing that was quite evident is that Pink Floyd proved that they could still function as a band without Roger Waters and the name was still the much bigger attraction. Though I do think both David Gilmour and Roger Waters have also put out better live shows than this one. But even though this particular concert is not the best the band have put out, it’s still got it’s fine moments though I don’t think it will ever be one of my GOTO! concerts of the band even with how much more impressive the picture and sound are now with this new release.
I do however feel this is worthy of getting and for others they will get a lot more out of this concert than myself that’s for sure. Especially those who are more into A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. The price point might be a tad too high but at least it’s not going to break the bank and it comes in a quality package that’s worth paying the extra few pennies for which is why I would still recommend it.
Now Shines On Much More After All These Years…
On a final note, I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year and let’s hope its a Covid Free one so things can start to get back to normal. 2020 has not been the best of years that’s for sure and even I am well behind on my reviews of the music I have purchased this year and still have to review 2 box sets and 3 albums I purchased between October – December.
The Blu Ray track listing is as follows:
- Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5) (Live, remix 2019) 12.02
- Signs Of Life (Live, remix 2019) 3.24
- Learning To Fly (Live, remix 2019) 5.20
- Sorrow (Live, remix 2019) 10.33
- The Dogs Of War (Live, remix 2019) 7.58
- On The Turning Away (Live, remix 2019) 9.04
- One Of These Days (Live, remix 2019) 6.28
- Time (Live, remix 2019) 5.19
- On The Run (Live, remix 2019) 2.47
- The Great Gig In The Sky (Live, remix 2019) 4.51
- Wish You Were Here (Live, remix 2019) 4.38
- Us And Them (Live, remix 2019) 7.34
- Money (Live, remix 2019) 8.18
- Comfortably Numb (Live, remix 2019) 9.54
- One Slip(Live, remix 2019) 6.08
- Run Like Hell (Live, remix 2019) 8.05