As I walk into the vast, empty rehearsal space, a familiar bass line rolls out and a spooky electric guitar chord shimmers in the air. An 11-piece backing band are lined up at the far side of the room. In the middle stands a white bearded man, guitar in hands, an expression of intent focus on his face.
“Money, get away,” sings David Gilmour. “Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay…” I stand transfixed, a privileged audience of one, as the legendary guitar hero performs a scintillating version of Pink Floyd classic Money and follows with a spine-tingling take on Floyd’s Us & Them. Then it all rumbles to a halt in a strangely anti-climactic silence. “It’s getting there,” says Gilmour.
“It is hard, technical work, trying to get all the components to sit together, and get it so drummed in that you don’t have to think about it,” he explains, as musicians and crew take a lunch break. The band have been rehearsing five days a week for a month, in preparation for a tour that arrives in the UK next week for three sold-out dates at the Royal Albert Hall (23, 24, 25th). “The emotive stuff happens in front of an audience but there are moments, even in rehearsal, when you really get into it. Just now, singing Money and Us And Them, I became very, very aware of what the songs are talking about. I have an uncomfortable feeling that they’re just as true today as they were all those years ago.”