Twelve years after a glorious farewell tour, and finally there is a memento to do such an occasion justice. One of the biggest visual spectacles ever held, from a band whose legacy remains unmatched, is here presented in brand spanking 5:1 surround sound, giving this 145-minute concert a unique enormity. A typically forward-thinking venture from a group who started their career at the periphery of what was conventional in popular music, and worked outwards.
Recorded at London's gigantic Earls Court Venue just nine days before the end of Pink Floyd's touring career, it is hard to imagine the band improving on this performance in any way. During opening anthem Shine On You Crazy Diamond, saxophonist Dick Parry switches from bass saxophone to alto mid-solo, just to get the sound sufficiently accurate. Such attention to detail permeates the entire stage, with extra percussionists, guitarists and singers weighing in to create a sound that leaves the 150,000 capacity venue in rapture. The kid's voices simply boom out during Another Brick In The Wall, and of course, David Gilmour's guitar work is faultless.
All this you may well expect, but it is the sheer duration of each song's knockout effect that truly makes this a seminal experience. Most songs run over 10 minutes, but never does it seem over-stretched or laborious. This effect is helped by the most extensive and thrilling light show that pretty much anybody could ask for. Cryptic projections onto a giant circular screen above the stage, multicoloured laser beams, ghostly smoke effects, and an exploding plane crash during On The Run, are enough to leave you open-mouthed, never mind the music.
The set-list is, naturally, made up of the finest Pink Floyd numbers from their 28-year recording career. One Of These Days, the opening from 1971's Meddle, is simply breathtaking, along with more contemporary tracks such as Keep Talking from 1994's Division Bell, during which Gilmour actually sings his own guitar solo through a vocoder. Oh, and this is just the first half.
The evening's second chapter, before a spectacular encore, is an entire performance of Floyd's defining album Dark Side Of The Moon. With no breaks and no release in mood or tension, this plays like the 45-minute super-track that many take the album to be. The way that lighting and musicianship links On The Run, to Time, to The Great Gig In The Sky and so on, is a joy to behold. It takes all three backing vocalists to match Clare Torry's vocal performance of this last track, but by God can these ladies sing. As the heartbeats thud out at the end of Eclipse the band takes a few minutes of well-earned respite. Having played this same arduous set list for months prior to tonight, and finding themselves in the middle of an amazing 14-day stint at this same venue, it seems incredible that the band never once appear to lose focus.
Returning to the stage with the achingly beautiful Wish You Were Here, the evening's epiphany falls into place. During Comfortably Numb, a giant crystal ball is illuminated above the crowd, before splitting into a segmented prism reflecting a million colours every which way. Then to conclude, a pyrotechnic masterpiece in Run Like Hell, complete with strobes, lasers and fireworks. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better...
Aside from the concert itself, Pulse provides excellent value for money through its wealth of DVD Extras. The best of these are Bootlegging The Bootleggers, which features 4 previously unseen live tracks including On The Turning Away from 1987 album A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, and the extremely funny tour footage Say Goodbye To Life As We Know It.
No Roger Waters, and no mention of the late Syd Barrett, yet this is about as near to perfect Pink Floyd as is humanly possible. Pulse is simply a must-have for even the most casual of fans, the final instalment of a legend that will last for generations.