DAVID GILMOUR ****
AMUSINGLY enough, for any member of Pink Floyd used to playing venues of coliseum-like proportions, this must have felt like something of an up-close affair. Yet, this lone Scottish date of David Gilmour's comeback solo tour satisfied in terms of grandeur, running-time and deference to the fans. During a two-and-a-half-hour epic performance, Gilmour built up slowly with tracks from his new album On an Island.
With a backing band that included his long-time Floyd bandmate Richard Wright, latterday Floyd guitarist Guy Pratt and a guest vocal part from the Byrds' David Crosby, he teased the crowd with Shine On You Crazy Diamond's extended guitar-picking opening and played the epic Echoes amid an evocative display of lasers, strobes and shrouding smoke.
The encore featured a surprise version of late-sixties psych-rock classic Arnold Layne, sandwiched between legendary Floyd anthems Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb. That Pink Floyd reunion can't come soon enough.
PAUL BUCHANAN ***
ROYAL CONCERT HALL, GLASGOW
"NO PRESSURE then," remarked Paul Buchanan, facing his first expectant hometown crowd in a decade in what was essentially a Blue Nile gig in spirit and content, where exquisite, careworn soundtracks and good-natured banter met comfortably.
Buchanan's plaintive tone and the band's understated playing inhabited each lyrical vignette so snugly that, at times, what was bewitching and hypnotic on record sounded a little soporific in concert.
However, there were plenty of gems in the two-hour set. Because Of Toledo and Easter Parade were uncluttered and affecting, while Days Of Our Lives was a beautiful sliver of urban melancholy to compliment their classic Glasgow paean Tinseltown In The Rain.
Two new songs were premiered and welcomed warmly by the audience. Inevitably summoned back for an encore, Buchanan and band chose to sign off, rather strangely, with a sleepy cover of Strangers In The Night, having already done enough to secure their fans' unswerving loyalty.
ENGLISH TOURING OPERA: TOSCA **
WHAT is it with opera non-sets these days? Scottish Opera's recent two productions took place in bare black oblivion, and this Tosca from English Touring Opera at the Perth Festival did the same.
Visual stimulation would certainly have helped. It was unfortunate that the scheduled Cavaradossi (Sean Ruane) had lost his voice and was confined to lip-syncing Richard Roberts, who stood awkwardly side stage, performing his eleventh-hour rescue mission valiantly. Could he not have stood in the orchestral pit, thus avoiding any further clutter on an already cramped performing space?
Apart from Julie Unwin's full-blooded Tosca, this was a generally undistinguished cast.
Tosca does not lend itself to small-scale modification. The brave pit musicians tried their best to project Puccini's expansive and opulent score, but a minor riot of a chorus completely missed the mark in the ecstatic first act climax.