Go "Backstage" with Pink Floyd in new edition of book

Pink Floyd BackstageThe upcoming book ‘Backstage’ documents a journey behind the scenes on Pink Floyd’s remarkable “Another Lapse” 1989 and “The Division Bell” 1994 tours of Europe. Taken from super-fan Bobby Hassall’s unique perspective – first as a fan jumping a fence to get in to his first show to becoming the adopted fan by the band’s crew – and then as a fully paid up crew member himself, Bobby’s entertaining story is coupled with extensive behind the scenes coverage and previously unpublished photographs of the huge stages being constructed in arenas and stadiums as well as the memorable Venice concert.

First published in 1991 and distributed through Brain Damage magazine, this edition of ‘Backstage’, which arrives on July 10th, 2011, is a completely redesigned, updated and expanded version. A must-read for all Pink Floyd fans, Backstage is an insightful look at life behind the scenes of a huge touring operation and is packed with many unique photos and reproductions of tour documents.

You can place your orders now for this book directly through the publishers, www.mindheadpublishing.co.uk.

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Roger Waters takes The Wall to New Zealand

Just announced this afternoon is another date on the Roger Waters 2012 The Wall Live tour…for our friends in New Zealand, you’ll need to head over to the Vector Arena in Auckland, for the show on February 20th, 2012.

Tickets for this show go on general sale on July 11th, 2011, through the normal ticketing agents. As we’ve done for previous years, you’ll find full details of all dates, as they get announced, on The Wall Live 2012 tour in our dedicated tour zone, with a page for each and every concert. Here you’ll find venue and ticketing information, pictures, concert reviews, and much more…

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Roger Waters announces four Australian concerts

Roger Waters The Wall LiveTonight, four dates in 2012 for the Roger Waters The Wall Live tour have been announced. Fans in Australia will be able to catch the show in the following places:

  • January 27th, 2012 – Burswood Dome, Perth, Australia
  • February 1st, 2012 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia
  • February 7th, 2012 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
  • February 14th, 2012 – Acer Arena, Sydney, Australia

Ticketing presales will be available through Ticketek.com.au.

We are expecting further dates in Australia, and other countries, to be announced shortly. Keep checking back for more details as we get them!

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Roger Waters announces four Australia concerts

Roger Waters The Wall LiveTonight, four dates in 2012 for the Roger Waters The Wall Live tour have been announced. Fans in Australia will be able to catch the show in the following places:

  • January 27th, 2012 – Burswood Dome, Perth, Australia
  • February 1st, 2012 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia
  • February 7th, 2012 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
  • February 14th, 2012 – Acer Arena, Sydney, Australia

Ticketing presales will be available through Ticketek.com.au.

We are expecting further dates in Australia, and other countries, to be announced shortly. Keep checking back for more details as we get them!

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Nick Mason interviewed on New York radio

Nick Mason on Q104.3, New York, 24 June 2011Respected New York-based radio station Q104.3FM had a special treat for listeners just after 7am yesterday morning (Friday, June 24th). Nick Mason popped in to be interviewed by Jim Kerr (who MC’d the Nick Mason book signing event at New York’s Barnes and Noble) about the upcoming extensive reissue programme, that falls under the Why Pink Floyd banner.

The interview, which lasted around 20 minutes (including music selections) was an interesting guide to some of the thoughts behind the releases, and hints were made at the future for the project.

You can listen to the interview itself, on demand, through this direct link.

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New French, Italian and German language Pink Floyd books

Two new books about Pink Floyd have recently appeared in Europe.

The first of these – Pink Floyd La Renaissance – is the same as the recent special magazine published by Vibrations (see our news last Saturday) but with a hardback cover. The book includes interviews with Roger Waters and David Gilmour, rare and unseen photos from French archives (in our experience, always a rich source of unusual shots seldom seen elsewhere), a look at Syd Barrett, a journey through the band’s history, a feature on the great work of Hipgnosis over the years, and more.

The second book is written by Michele Mari, has been published in German, French, AND Italian, and is known respectively as “Mr Pink Floyd”, “Pink Floyd en Rouge”, and “Rosso Floyd”. From what we hear, it is an entertaining “semi-fictional” novel about PF and Syd Barrett. It was highly praised in the Italian press, described as “the best novel about rock music ever written”…

At present, Pink Floyd La Renaissance can be ordered directly from the publishers, VibrationsMusic.com. No other retailer in France appears to have this book available but we will update this story if and when others start to sell this.

Mari’s book can be ordered from the following, in the respective local languages: Amazon Germany, Amazon Italy, Amazon France, or FNAC (France).

Our thanks to Frederic Barres and Thomas Gosler for their help and information regarding these publications.

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Nick Mason talks to Billboard about Pink Floyd reissue project

Nick MasonNick Mason has been talking to Billboard about the extensive catalogue reissue which is going under the banner of ‘Why Pink Floyd?’ Full details, and ordering information, can be found here.

Nick told them: “It is a sea change from our point of view. We’d never put much thought into the idea of releasing incomplete or earlier versions of things, but I think the world has changed. One now looks at these things and realises there really is interest and how things came about and what the early versions were and so on. We thought rather than just leave everything in the vaults, it might be worth bringing everything out and giving people a complete view of what we’ve done.”

Answering a question Brain Damage has had from countless fans, Nick confirmed that “We will do some more sort of in-depth versions of other albums, but I don’t know what we’ve got in the pipeline for that, yet.”

Read the full interview at Billboard.com.

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Japanese release special edition of Run Devil Run

Run Devil Run coverWhen Paul McCartney dug back into his rock ‘n’ roll roots for 1999′s ‘Run Devil Run’ album, David Gilmour was on hand with his Fender Esquire to play and sing on the whole album. David also played his Gibson lap steel guitar on the title track, and performed alongside the former Beatle at the historic accompanying gig at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

The album is being reissued as a special Japanese edition, available from August 17th, 2011. It’s a Super High Material CD (SHM-CD) which is said to give far better performance, and is compatible with standard CD players. It’s part of a five-album Paul Mccartney SHM-CD reissue series.

Unless resident in the country (and we have a few Japanese regulars!)
the best way to obtain the set is direct from a retailer in Japan such
as Amazon.co.jp or CDJapan who both have this available as a pre-order. Our thanks to Kees Nijpels for the information.

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David Gilmour

David Gilmour - Venice 2006 ticketFive years ago, David Gilmour was in the midst of his On An Island tour, and BD reader Mike Ford was one of those who decided to travel over to Venice, in Italy, for the concerts that were being held amidst the historical setting of St Mark’s Square. As many of you will recall, things didn’t go to plan, as you’ll see from Mike’s memories and pictures…

It was one of those gigs that you could only dream about. Seeing David Gilmour, playing live, in St. Mark’s Square, Venice. The city for lovers. Ok, it wasn’t Pink Floyd, but, as the publicity told us, it was the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd. Good enough. And it was at the Piazza San Marco, one of the best places to see a live band on this small planet. Apart from the Point in Cardiff. And, although the first set was to promote his latest album, the second set was wall to wall Floyd, except, due to contractual reasons and a bit of a falling out with Mr. Waters, not as much of The Wall as many would want to hear. We’d already seen him on this tour, in Amsterdam, which had been booked on the premise that, why see him in London and get ripped off for food and accommodation when we could see him in ‘Dam and have a perfectly legal, and good smoke, at the same time. Without getting ripped off.

Let me introduce myself and my travelling companion. Mike, from Chelsea,
London, and Delyth, from Rhiwfawr, in the South Wales Valleys. Both
lifelong Floyd fans, although Mike, being a bit older, has been the only
one of us to have seen the original line up perform, when stewarding
for Wasps rugby club at Wembley Arena in 1979.

First step, get tickets. A visit to Brain Damage, the PF fans website,
provided a link to the ticket agency dealing with this particular gig.
After half an hour or so trying to decipher what was on the page in
front of me, I noticed the cunningly concealed British flag in the
corner. One press, and voila, we’re off. Two tickets winging their way
towards us via the vastly inflated exchange rate charged for having the
temerity to offer payment in pounds instead of Euros.

Next, find out who flies there. Surprisingly enough, not many airlines
fly there cheaply, and resisting the urge to book a flight with KLM that
included a 2 day stopover in Amsterdam either side of the gig, we
finally settled on our inaugural flight with Sleasyjet, flying from
Bristol. Flight times were a bit iffy, the only one we could get was
going to land at six thirty, which by the time we had boarded the
vaporetto for the leisurely cruise over to the island would get us into
St. Marks Square at eight on the Friday evening, as the first of the two
concerts was about to start. Never mind though, we’d found a hotel
literally one minute off the square, so we were relishing the thought of
sitting in our room with a joint or two listening to Mr. Gilmour before
we went out for the evening. Heaven. Little did we know.

When people talk of Easyjet, no one seems to mention that to board the
aircraft, one needs to be in tip top physical condition and be in
possession of a pair of running shoes, if you require, a. a window seat,
and b. two seats together. This thought only crossed our minds as we
were being jostled at the boarding gate by a party of elderly women, who
had obviously been through this Grand National start procedure before.
Barely had the thought left my mind then the boarding agents flung open
the doors, standing well back in the process, and we were off! And it’s
Mike and Del in the lead, closely followed by little old lady and her
husband with the bloke in the wheelchair bringing up the rear. As they
approach the steps, it’s, oh, one’s fallen, little old lady’s husband
has fallen at the bottom of the steps, he’ll take no more part in this
race. It’s neck and neck, up the stairs, heading for the door and yes,
by a neck, it’s Del, followed by Mike, with little old lady in third,
husband retired and the bloke in the wheelchair using the powered lift
access. Don’t know what the stewards will make of that manoeuvre!

Bastards! In our haste the younger contestants had used the back door
and taken all the good legroom seats. Still, we did manage to get two
together and a window seat, although many weren’t that lucky and spent
most of the flight shouting in the direction of their significant other,
seated at the other end of the plane. Nice one, Stelios. Get your
boarding arrangements together and a lot more people might fly with you –
twice.

When we’d been searching the internet for flights and hotels, we came
across the fact that, as Venice was an island in a lagoon, the transfer
from the airport may involve getting on a boat. We found that, for a
price, you could get there pdq on a speedboat, or arrive at a more
leisurely pace on a water taxi, or vaporetto. Visions of a cliché ridden
ride with a local Venetian, taking us the long way round whilst asking
us over his shoulder how long we were in town, and telling us the best
places to go, in between swearing at other taxi drivers and assorted
boats getting in his way, were
dispelled as we left the airport and found ourselves on the quayside,
looking at an assortment of converted barges with rows of wooden bench
seats. At least we didn’t have the grand prix start to get our seats, as
we were the only ones there and were told by the captain that the boat
didn’t go for twenty minutes. We had a coffee from the local café, sat
down and had a joint, whilst watching rich Americans having tons of
luggage loaded onto speedboats, which then roared off in the direction
that we were soon to chug in. As we watched the sun set over the lagoon,
we reminisced about our
previous trip to Amsterdam to see Mr. Gilmour perform at the Heineken
Music Hall, at that time, after the gig, we had a two hour wait for a
taxi in the freezing cold night, buoyed only by the ready rolled joints
of Jamaican Haze purchased from a coffee shop earlier that day. The
coffee shops in Venice only sold coffee, unfortunately, so we’d bought
along some squidgy for this trip, a nice alternative to weed that
wouldn’t have the dogs howling at the airport.

A few more people strolled up, and we all took our seats as the captain
sounded his fog horn, even though the sky was clear, and we pulled away
from the quayside. We did indeed take the long way round, as this was
more of a local bus than a taxi, seeming to call at every stop along the
way, pulling into and out of every inlet along the way, eventually
reaching the drop off point for St. Marks Square. We retrieved our
suitcases, thanked the captain and proceeded to trundle our way along
the waterfront to eventually turn left and into the square itself.

Mike Ford - Venice, 2006

Everything was surprisingly quiet, although there were thousands of
people milling about, and as we turned the corner past the tower, our
hearts sank. The concert seating was deserted, the stage was bare. For
whatever reason, the concert had been cancelled.

As we wandered, shell-shocked, around the square, we came across the
following note in English, ti-wrapped to a crash barrier. Technical
problems? We made our way off the square, and literally through an
archway and over one canal bridge, we were looking at our hotel. It was
within a stones throw of the concert stage, and what had been previously
thought to be a blessing was now a damning, as every time we stepped
out of the hotel we would have to walk past the deserted stage. As we
checked in, we asked the lady at the desk whether she knew the reason
for the cancellation. Something to do with the scaffolding on the stage
was the reply, although she didn’t know if it was going to be fixed in
time for the next night’s concert. There was still hope.

Mike Ford - Venice, 2006

The hotel reception was truly opulent, full of marble flooring and
columns, and original artwork on the walls. As we followed the porter
into the lift, we thought at least we’re in a decent hotel, not one of
those pokey little numbers with rooms not big enough to swing a cat. How
wrong could we be? Exiting the lift, we entered a maze of corridors
with sickly looking carpets, and long undecorated walls, to be shown to
our pre booked smoking room on the second floor. We were ushered into
what can only be described as a broom cupboard, with a view, ironically,
of the scaffolding in the courtyard of the hotel next door.

“Arglwydd mawr” murmered Del, as the porter left five euros richer and a
scowl on his face, bemoaning tight British tourists. The English
translation is Lord big, or good god, but I prefer “for f**ks sake”.
This was heard many times in the next few days, along with, “ma gen ti
wyneb all cracio concrete” – a face that would crack concrete! Poor Del
was stuck in the city for lovers with Mr. Grumpy. And to this day he has
not been forgiven. Time had marched on, all the better restaurants were
shut, but we found a Chinese restaurant around the corner for a couple
of beers and some finger food, populated by a few similarly stunned
Brits in Pink Floyd t-shirts and, bizarrely,
two lesbians who couldn’t care if the world came to an end, so far were
their tongues down each others throats.

The next day we woke, had coffee in the restaurant accompanied by
croissants and ham, and took off around town for a bit of a wander. Past
the deserted concert stage. Past the queue for the Basilica, it was hot
and Del was in a summer dress, they had big signs up saying that no one
could enter without their shoulders covered. Past the ethnic bag
sellers on the waterfront, hassling tourists. It seemed that if you even
touched one of their fake Gucci handbags, you had as good as bought it.
We watched as one woman was chased 100 yards down the street by a guy
who had managed to get her to hold one of his bags.

Stopping off in a pizzeria, we ordered a couple of beers and some
pizzas, and sat down to watch the world go by. I phoned my mate, Ed, in
Cardiff, to see if he had heard anything about the cancelled concert.
“Bad news, butt, they’ve both been cancelled. Seems like part of the
scaffolding gave way during the sound check last night. Sorry to be the
bearer of bad news, but enjoy your trip”. Del could tell by my face what
had been said. We finished our delicious pizzas and carried on walking,
down around the waterfront and back towards the square. We stopped at
the bridge that crosses over to the university to watch some of the
street entertainers. One of them was a guy who had a massive trestle
table set up, full of various sizes of wine glasses, filled with water,
playing classical compositions. It was fascinating to watch. We carried
on meandering until we came to the Rialto bridge. We found a spot where
we could do some more people watching and sat down with an ice cream.

“Why can’t they get any scaffolders to work on Saturday, then?” asked
Del. “I dunno, they probably want too much dosh to work the weekend”.
Conversation was in short supply at the moment. “Well it can’t get any
worse, can it?” What I didn’t realise is that as I’d been getting cash
out of my pocket for the ice creams, I’d dropped my house keys into the
canal. I knew I had them before we approached the bridge, they were not
there when we got back to the hotel. We walked back to the hotel, taking
some pictures along the way of the Venetian scaffolding display team
that someone had managed to get working on a Saturday, but who also
seemed to be taking scaffolding down, and stopping to talk to the
promoters agents who were handing out free gig posters and apologies to
anyone that wanted them. We were told that the gigs were definitely
going to be rescheduled, but at the moment they didn’t know when. If we
wanted a refund we’d have to do it when we got home, through the agents
we’d booked them with. Sitting down on the steps behind the stage, we
watched as Chinese
and Korean tourists inexplicably covered themselves in breadcrumbs and
were immediately besieged by almost every pigeon in the square. Apart
from the dead ones lying about the place. Strange how some get their
kicks.

Mike Ford - Venice, 2006

We retired to the sanctity of our exorbitantly overpriced broom cupboard
to ready ourselves for an evening out. As Del was drying her hair, the
fire alarms went off. Great. We read the instructions on the back of the
door, and almost immediately joined the other guests on the street
outside. The lady from the front desk ushered us in after informing us
that it was a false alarm. I noticed our room number displayed on the
fire alarm panel as we went back in. Oops. Just after we re-entered our
room, there was a knock on the door. “Have you been smoking in your
room?” asked the lady from reception. “Yes, it’s a smoking room”, I
answered. “Well don’t smoke under the detector”. She turned on her heels
with a tut, and walked off down the corridor. The detector was actually
a heat detector, and because the room was so pokey, Del’s hairdryer had
activated it! For the first time, we had a good laugh. The evening was
spent at a beautiful restaurant around the corner. After the meal, we
finished the rest of our wine off with a cigarette. We noticed people
looking at us. “Is someone smoking a spliff, cos there’s a strong smell
around here”, said Del, quietly. “Oh fuck, it’s me!” I’d rolled some one
skinners and put them in with the ordinary ones in my tin. “Time to go,
I think”. We left, feeling the eyes of the waiters drilling into us as
we walked down the street.

We left early the next day, taking pictures of the larger American water
taxis, Venice’s latest addition to increasing its tourist revenue. Our
flight wasn’t until the afternoon but we didn’t want to tempt providence
anymore, and spent a good few hours at the airport, reading, smoking
and drinking coffee. The flight home was reasonable, we didn’t even join
in the scrum to get on the plane, Del had her house keys so we got in
ok, although the patio door key was on my key ring, so I spent the next
day drilling out the old lock and putting in a new one.

In the evening we sat down and discussed options. We still had the
tickets, the gigs had now been rescheduled for the following weekend,
and if we could get a 2 day flight, in and out, we’d only have to pay
for a night’s accommodation. After spending a good few hours on the net
looking for flights, which at such short notice were pretty highly
priced, we found one with KLM, via Amsterdam! The flight was duly
booked, and we went to bed happy. We awoke early to the news that all
airports had placed a ban on carrying liquids and there were huge delays
at everywhere. Did we want to be on a plane that might be blown up? We
decided to cancel, and luckily managed, with a phone call to KLM in
Amsterdam, to get a refund, as the payment had not actually reached
their office yet. Half an hour later, and we would have been
spectacularly out of pocket.

The week after, I was looking for clips of the concert on youtube, and I
found one taken from around about where we would have been sitting. It
was ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’, but with a subtle difference. It turns
out that Mr. Gilmour had been wandering around Venice and had come
across a guy playing music on wine glasses, and decided that he would
ask him to play the introduction to this song on stage with him!

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Guy Pratt guests with the Aussie Floyd

Guy Pratt - Hampton Court Palace, June 2011

As some of you will be aware, the Aussie Floyd have been touring to much acclaim recently, and on Monday appeared at a very special location – Hampton Court Palace in London. What made the evening even more special was the addition of a special, unannounced guest during the encore: Guy Pratt.

Guy said of the appearance: “The last time I played that song with David Gilmour was five years ago in 2006. I’m so pleased the Aussie Pink Floyd approached me to play with them tonight at Hampton Court. [It] brings back good memories”. The band’s regular bassist, Colin Wilson, told us: “It was a great experience and ourselves, the audience and Guy really enjoyed it. He came on and stamped his mark all over ‘Run like hell’ and even used the same Spector bass for the song that he used on ‘Pulse’ and ‘The Division Bell’ tour back in 1994″. Here’s an extract of the performance:

Guy, who is performing his stand-up comedy show this month at the Latitude Festival, and the Port Eliot Festival, can also be seen in an extended run at the Edinburgh Festival (more details at GuyPratt.com) at the end of the month.

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