Tuesday, October 23, 2007

David Gilmour and Steve Vai

Rainy weather meant no satellite to watch late this evening, so I put a few DVDs in while on the treadmill. First up was Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival and a simply astounding performance by Steve Vai. I don't think the man is human. His technique makes me want to throw away my guitar, burn my amp, and bury everything else. He is light years ahead of where 99.9% of musicians could ever hope to be. If Vai were a scientist he would be Einstein.

Next was Pink Floyd's Pulse DVD. While Vai is burning speed and astounding technique, David Gilmour is pure soul and taste. Though he never plays fast, every note is beautifully played. Vai would be Einstein, but Gilmour would be Michelangelo, creating art that will last far beyond his years in this life. It's not hard to understand why Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (released in 1973) is the longest charting album in history. David Gilmour could play the phone book and it would be a classic.

I would love to play like Steve Vai. To possess that level of speed and technique must be amazing. But if I had a choice, I would choose the talent of David Gilmour. Not to slight Vai, but Gilmour is just such a fabulous player. I never tire of so many of the Floyd's songs and even have Wish You Were Here as the ring tone on my cell phone. And then there's that solo on Time. A master class in soloing, Gilmour creates a song within a song with his beautiful phrasing and expressive bends. Like thousands of other guitar players, I have learned the solo, but while I play the right notes it just doesn't sound the same. That's why he's on a DVD and I'm just watching.

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