The Story of My Pulse With Pink Floyd
Well I don’t know where to begin with the babble on Pink Floyd. I absolutely love this band. Ever since I was a kid in the 80’s, I was exposed to them. My dad played the records and I was awakened from whatever slumber I was trapped inside when I listened to their music. I just want to thank my father for opening up my mind to great music. We didn’t always have a lot of common ground but it was the notes coming from David Gilmour’s Fender Stratocaster that could potentially bring us both to tears. Any time the two of us took a drive in his pickup truck, it was almost a certainty that the band Pink Floyd would be emitting from the car stereo. Ever since I was about 10 years old; I UNDERSTOOD this unique, abstract, bizarre, spacey and progressive rock band. I was hooked.
Then just before I went into college, the 2 of us went to Soldier Field in Chicago and saw Pink Floyd perform one of their last live concerts ever! It was quite an awesome experience. In the summer of 1994, my dad surprised me and bought 2 tickets for us to go see Pink Floyd live. It was my first concert ever. I was 18 years old. I was so pumped. The band takes the stage. I am among a crowd of 50,000 people with my dad screaming and shouting. I have never been to a rock show as awesome as that one in my entire life…been chasing that high for 24 years…my dad raised the bar right out of the gate. I still have my ticket stub and I bought a T Shirt.
For me, the band became an obsession of mine. I never could ONLY be a casual observer and listener. “Another Brick In The Wall,” was my first encounter with the Floyd. Mom would take me to the grocery store with her when I was a small boy. I was probably five years old when I kept hearing that song on the radio. My imagination was quite vivid at that age of my youth. Sometimes you like what you are hearing without quite being aware of the meaning or having a complete understanding of its lyrics, structure and relevance to your own life
In high school, my dad bought this awesome Pink Floyd Box Set. When I gazed upon the cover, with nude figures soaring above the water, I surrendered to the abstract art which definitely made an enormous impression on me. 8 compact discs inside the box. A large book with stories, pictures, track listings and lyrics captivated my interest for several weeks. After school homework and on dull weekends as a teenager, I would gravitate towards the magic of Pink Floyd. The 8 cds consisted of 7 albums and a bonus cd from the early days when a man named Syd Barrett was their lead guitarist and singer. The others were chosen as highlights that represented the “FLOYD SOUND.”
A Saucerful of Secrets, Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Animals were the chosen ones for this box set. My father loved this kind of stuff! He was big into bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, CSNY and many others. But when it came to this artistic and experimental music from these four obscure British musicians, it was a whole new ball of wax. Moods were created. The atmosphere has that imagery of a street alley corner, an abandoned mountain peak, being lost in the desert and being inside a warm room looking outside at the cold neighborhood sort of feeling. Getting lost into that PINK noise.
Sometimes atmospheres and moods are hard to describe in detail. When I hear Roger Waters’ lyrics come to life in these Rock Operas, like THE WALL, I am left speechless because suddenly I have insane images in my head of worms, naked women in bathtubs, hammers marching, kids staring at airplanes up in the sky and getting thrown into a meat grinder by disgruntled teachers. The same holds true to all of their albums.
My dad and I would get into really long philosophical conversations about these guys, the meanings behind their politically charged and surreal lyrics and the imagination that they yielded. We would be working in the yard, painting the family room, or he would be helping me with my homework and have these awesome songs in the background.
While I was in college a couple of noteworthy things took place. One was that my dad met someone online that had a cassette tape of the Chicago performance we were at. It was a bootleg copy but still pretty cool. I swear there’s a part during the encore that I can hear my dad’s voice but one can only imagine. The second thing that happened was on Pay Per View, they were televising a live Pink Floyd concert during that “Pulse” tour. This guy paid for it and then charged everyone 5 bucks to hang out in his dorm room and watch the show. Some folks were tripping and others were stoned but everyone was having a good time.
Then came PULSE the CD in the summer of 1995. This live double disc set had a battery operated blinking light attached to the case to represent a pulse. The artwork on the packaging was stunning. Picture attached. Sound wise, it was a good representation of the music they played on the same tour as when we saw them. The only real difference was the second disc contained all of Dark Side of The Moon (they did not play all of the songs from this album at the show we were at). The encore was the same with “Comfortably Numb” and “Run Like Hell.”
PULSE is definitely on my list of favorite live albums. It takes me back to a memory of that experience where Mr Sight and Mr Sound hung out and played for two hours. They eventually released a DVD set for PULSE complete with special footage and awesome art. While I enjoy the live in Pompeii experience or the numerous other live recordings from the Wish You Were Here tour or even the mighty The Wall one, I still LOVE the PULSE double CD set most because it directly ties me to my experience going to see the band live.
Pink Floyd was always about the concept of Sight and Sound blending together. I think that folks who enjoy SOME of Pink Floyd’s music and not much of the more EXPERIMENTAL stuff should honestly hangout with my dad and I more often. It’s like unraveling a mystery. Solving a puzzle within an enigma. Exploring symbols, metaphors and digging deeper is part of the fun. There’s more to this music than what lies on the surface. Anyways, PULSE is so great because it’s extremely enjoyable and it isn’t really an acquired taste. Once you hear it then it becomes this emotional transposition from just appreciating their works to totally submerging yourself into the true genius behind David and the gang.
I owe it all to my dad! He solidified his coolness with me. Props to you papa! Shine On. I’m glad our special bond is timeless……