DVD Review: Pink Floyd PULSE (1994)
The definitive concert DVD of Pink Floyd's final tour in 1994 has just been released, shipping with 900,000 advance orders. The thing that makes this so territorial imperative are the bonus features, such as the infamous screen films, which have been a staple of Pink Floyd concerts for the past 30+ years.
DVD REVIEW: PINK FLOYD PULSE (1994)
After numerous delays, anxious fans, and various and sundry false starts, the Pink Floyd PULSE DVD has finally been released worldwide. Taken from the Earl's Court concert of October 20, 1994, this DVD documents one of the band's last U.K. shows on their last tour, save for the one-off LIVE 8 show of the summer of 2005, which took place with the participation of Roger Waters. It is also notable as the ONLY video recording of the band performing the greatest album of all-time, 1973's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. This 2-DVD set is packed with four hours and three minutes of Pink Floyd goodness, and all fans of the band will NOT be disappointed after picking up a copy for their own home music video library.
I had this show on DVD since its' release in Malaysia, on October 31, 2001. However, that contained ONLY the concert, with no extras whatsoever. Both the video and audio components were subpar, and this new release makes this earlier set obsolete. I have an after-market modification on one of my DVD players, which allows me to flip region codes, as well as having the choice of PAL or NTSC video playback. Thus, I am able to purchase and view virtually any audio-video release, from literally anywhere in the world, and this particular Malaysian title contained a Dolby 5.1 Surround mix ONLY.
The new PULSE 2-DVD Set contains a plethora of extras and bonus features, and these are worth the price of admission alone. This new DVD lists for $24.95 ($14.95 at Amazon.com), and the 900,000 pre-orders reflect this lower price. While the per unit profit margin may be slighly lower than other similar DVD's, such as with the five-hour Led Zeppelin extravaganza, they will sell many more copies to their still-growing worldwide fanbase.
Over the years, I have had the immense pleasure of seeing Pink Floyd a total of four times, all of which were in neighboring Toronto, Ontario, Canada; at the Canadian National Exhibition stadium, where I have seen many other performers and rock music legends. This DVD set is like a multimedia tour scrapbook, filled with memories of a mind-blowing experience. Upon entering the stadium, there was a multi-channel surround mix of ambient sounds of waterflows, birds, insects, and various other sounds of nature. From the very moment I set foot into the inner bowl of the CNE stadium, Pink Floyd had already begun playing with my mind and perception.
DVD EXTRAS GIVE A GREAT SHOW LEGENDARY STATUS
While I won't go into a blow-by-blow account of each and every item on the DVD's, I will make some general comments concerning things that made an impression on me, both good and bad. The concert is 2 hours 27 minutes long, with a couple songs ommitted, due to spacial capacity limitations. The most egregious ommission is Syd Barrett's ASTRONOMY DOMINE (pronounced: as●tron●o●me dom●in●nee) --- especially given the fact that Syd passed away only days before the release of PULSE. ASTRONOMY DOMINE would have been a worthwhile and moving tribute to Syd, had it been included.
The most welcome portion of the DVD, beyond the concert itself, are the 46 minutes of screen films (and their alternates). This allows superfans like myself to study these films, which are synched to the accompanying audio track. There is nothing else on-screen beyond the films themselves --- and this was a much welcome addition to the program.
These screen films include the following, and there is an option to PLAY ALL:
- DVD ONE:
- What Do You Want From Me?
- On The Turning Away
- Poles Apart
- Speak To Me (graphic)
- On The Run
- Time (1994)
- The Great Gig In The Sky (wave)
- Money (1987)
- Us And Them (1987)
- Brain Damage
- Speak To Me (1987)
- Time (Ian Eames)
- The Great Gig In The Sky (animation)
- Money (alien)
- Us And Them (1994)
Screen Films Alternate Versions:
There is a BOOTLEGGING THE BOOTLEGGERS section, which contains audience video shot during these same Earl's Court concerts, and this section includes four songs from the 1987 and 1994 Pink Floyd albums, which were not included in the main program. There are also two MTV-style music videos of two songs --- one each from these same two 1987 and 1994 albums --- and the very cool 60 second TV commercial for the 2-CD PULSE concert album that was released on October 10, 1995. This is an excellent concept piece, which was extremely well done, and shows the viewer HOW the band marketed the original PULSE compact discs, which was sold as a premium box-set, with hardcover book and a pulsing LED light on the spine of the box.
There is also a sixteen minute behind-the-scenes road crew video diary, and a photo gallery containing more than fifty concert photos. The pre-show surround ambient recording is also found in the photo gallery section, and this was what was playing upon entering the stadium for both the 1987-1988 and 1994 tours. There is also a surround sound set-up guide, and the audio tracks that can be accessed are a 2-channel stereo mix, a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel 448 kbps surround mix, and a high-definition Dolby Digital 5.1 channel 640 kbps surround mix.
Those of us who have high-end home theatre systems will be able to use the higher bitrate mix, which sounds much better and more clearly defined than either the stereo or the 448 kbps mix. I compared the differences between both audio bitrates, and if your DVD player can handle the 640 kbps stream, by all means, PLAY IT! The resultant eargasm will prove that your ears are having a good time.
It's almost like audio-sex!
In short, there is something for everyone here!
There is a section with a tour map, stage plans and diagrams, and even the 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has been included, where the band performed WISH YOU WERE HERE. There is the special Digipak slimcase, an eight page full color booklet, and a DAVID GILMOUR ON AN ISLAND promotional postcard. There is so much on these DVD's that in the booklet, there is a two-page map of the DVD features, and their location on either DVD, and how to navigate through the menus.
Thus far, I have located no Easter Eggs ...
The video is beautifully restored and remastered, and the sound is engulfing and extremely pleasing to the ears. I, for one, am happy that they took their time with this release, as it ended up being well worth a little of my patience. With a 5.1 surround palette to work with, the channel seperation literally fills the room with the wonderfully spine-tingling sounds of Pink Floyd. This is a MUST-HAVE for even the casual Floydian, who is likely to fall in love with the band and their spacey sonic textures. This is where the casual fan becomes rabid fanatic.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR PINK FLOYD?
Next up on the Pink Floyd release schedule are the remastered versions of David Gilmour's frst two solo albums; David Gilmour (1978) and About Face (1984), which are due to drop into your favorite music store on August 15, 2006. Sadly, there are no extras on either of these discs, save for their much needed sonic upgrade. Those who have heard the 1997 Pink Floyd remasters can rest assured that David's solo albums will be upgraded with all the care that went into these Floyd compact discs.
Also on the upcoming release schedule is the concert DVD of the David Gilmour 'On An Island' tour of 2006, which could hit stores in time for the Christmas holiday. Those of us who are long time fans of the band, still await the DVD release of the 1980-1981 concerts of their 1979 masterpiece THE WALL, which was released on CD on April 18, 2000 --- and was culled from shows held at Earl's Court, from August 4-9, 1980 and June 13-17, 1981. Since this really is the crown-jewel of all the Pink Floyd unreleased material, we may be left waiting for quite awhile for this one.
And then, there is the ongoing Pink Floyd 5.1 Surround Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) project, where the entire catalog from Dark Side of the Moon forward is due to get the full SACD treatment. Next up on the list for these releases are 1975's Wish You Were Here and 1977's Animals, which are currently finshed and awaiting release.
I give this PULSE DVD set my highest grade and my highest recommendation!
Kentroversy Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (out of five)
© 2006 Kentroversy Papers
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
The following sources were used in the creation of this Kentroversy Paper . . .
Syd Barrett Obituary 1946-2006 (July 11, 2006)
Pink Floyd PULSE DVD: Final Confirmed Date (June 1, 2006)
Pink Floyd's PULSE In Detail (July 7, 2006)
Pink Floyd's WISH YOU WERE HERE and ANIMALS SACD Project Ongoing (September 8, 2004)
Pink Floyd's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, presented by Billy Corgan (January 16, 1996)
Pink Floyd PULSE DVD Order Page (Amazon.com)
David Gilmour On An Island
Pink Floyd PULSE