Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988)
"It's a sin that somehow, light is changing to shadow ..."
With "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" in the can, Pink Floyd, officially consisting of guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, with keyboardist Rick Wright added as a salaried musician, hit the road. Coincidentally, their tour was traveling the world at the same time that former band member Roger Waters was touring his second solo album since leaving the group, "Radio K.A.O.S." This gave both sides opportunities to air their opinion of the other at press conferences and interviews, which only escalated the rivalry.
Pink Floyd's show was in the grand tradition: It took more than five months of planning and cost more than $3 million to launch, which Gilmour and Mason anted up. The songlist would consist of plenty of "Momentary Lapse," as well as material from "The Wall," "Wish You Were Here," "Dark Side of the Moon," and a few other earlier albums. "Animals" and "The Final Cut" were not represented.
The band considered performing "Dark Side," in its entirety, but scrapped the notion. They would eventually incorporate an uninterrupted performance of that 1973 classic in the 1994/95 tour of "The Division Bell," which would be documented in the 1995 live "Pulse" album.
One had to search the stage hard to find the three Floyds among a collection of musicians including bassist Guy Pratt, keyboardist Jon Carin, Gary Wallis on percussion, saxophonist Scott Page, and long-time Floyd friend Tim Renwick on guitar. But, then again, watching the musicians hadn't been the purpose of a Pink Floyd concert in years. True to form, the group — and team of production people and designers — wowed the audiences with spectacular light shows, huge inflatable figures, and what would become to be known as "Mr. Screen," a huge, circular projection screen that played host to the group's trademark animations and film shorts.
On a personal note, this was the one Floyd tour I had the pleasure to attend: June 1, 1988, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. It was one of the most exciting Floyd experiences I've had. (The other was the time in February 1991 when I happened upon the Battersea Power Station while riding the train into London. At the time, I was much less educated in the Floyd, and wasn't even certain the facility pictured on the group's 1977 "Animals" album actually existed. Imagine my surprise when I happened to look out the window, and saw its four immense smoke stacks looming in the distance.)
In 1988, "Delicate Sound of Thunder," a two-disc document of the tour was released. It would reach number nine on the U.S. charts. The band would also release a concert companion video that included a few numbers that didn't appear on the album.
Storm Thorgerson, again, would be involved with the cover jacket design of both. The photo on the album cover is a reference to the sound (a flock of birds flapping about a man) and light (a man wallpapered with light bulbs) of a Floyd show. (Twos are a common theme in Thorgerson's work: Witness "Wish You Were Here," "The Division Bell," Catherine Wheel's "Like Cats and Dogs," as well as a host of others.)