"Silhouettes and shadows..." Surely it can't be him?!
Well I can ease your pain, Get you on your feet again...
"David Bowie's on the phone, dad..." my daughter Holly casually announced late yesterday afternoon, "though it's probably somebody messing around," she reasonably suspected.
"Blam, what are you up to this evening?" Well, it certainly sounded like HIM. "Erm...nothing," I spluttered. "Well, I'm doing a bit of an impromptu at the Royal Albert, grab your camera and get over here as soon as you can!" And he wasn't messing around.
I got there in lunatic time and sat through two accomplished sets by David Gilmour and his collection of even more accomplished musicians, who boasted Roxy man Phil Manzanera among their number.
"Moonshine washing line, They suit him fine." DB does Arnold.
The first set kicked off with the Pink Floyd favourite, Breathe/Time/Breathe (Reprise), and continued with the whole of David Gilmour's latest solo offering On An Island from start to finish.
The unsuspecting audience seemed most appreciative of the vocal contributions from guests David Crosby and Graham Nash and who could fail to be impressed by Robert Wyatt and his distinctive cornet?
Little did they know what was to come.
A second set of six Pink Floyd favourites followed, from the sublime ode to Syd Barrett, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, through to the mind-expanding space jam of Echoes...and then they were gone.
David Bowie with David Gilmour "Uncomfortably Numb" at the RAH last night.
So, two whole sets, and no sign of DB. Was he winding me up? There were certainly no whispers of his name from where I sat.
But in no time at all, the band was back on stage for an encore which kicked off with a quite beautiful Wish You Were Here, followed by a very short interlude of Crosby and Nash's own Find The Cost Of Freedom.
"Stardust you say. I remember now...Alvin wasn't it?" Bowie looks on as Crosby ponders.
Normally the audience would have expected an end to proceedings round about now, and I'm not sure many of them actually believed Gilmour when he said something along the lines of: "We're not done yet, please welcome our very special guest...David Bowie!"
David bounded on to an immediate standing ovation and was straight into a cracking version of Syd's Arnold Layne...his grey suit and black scarf with crimson top even seemed to echo the mod clobber of the time...though I'm probably way off the mark with that observation. (I'll get back to you on that)
The song is well-suited to David's voice, and his love of all things Syd was more than apparent in the brilliant delivery.
David Gilmour takes flight during the Comfortably Numb solo.
The crowd was more animated than at any other point in the evening, but the temperature rose even further in the well sold out hall as the audience recognised the intro to Comfortably Numb, and David took the microphone once again..."Hello. Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home?"
Another superb delivery which saw David vanish from the shadows as Gilmour went in to that epic solo that completes the last few minutes of the song.
From left to right: David, David, David, Mike and Graham take their bows.
Inevitably the news filtered out via mobile phones and message boards...but still people seemed disbelieving until Sailor himself confirmed his appearance shortly afterwards via the
"Great stuff! Gig rumour is true. I had a ball tonight singing with David Gilmour and the band. He invited me up to do Arnold Layne and Uncomfortably Numb. Sailor." He returned shortly after to say that the deliberate mistake of "Uncomfortably Numb" was "jus my little joke."
It was great to finally see David sing in this fine old venue...how cool would it be to have a Bowie show there? And no, I'm not hinting at anything...just thinking aloud.
Well, while we're on the subject, I can tell you that DB doesn't plan to join the proceedings again over the next two RAH Gilmour gigs.
For those of you that like to keep a record of such things, here's the full set list:
David Gimour - Royal Albert Hall, London. May 29 2006
On An Island (with Crosby and Nash)
The Blue (with Crosby and Nash)
Red Sky At Night
Then I Close My Eyes (with Robert Wyatt on cornet)
Take A Breath
A Pocketful Of Stones
Where We Start
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (with Crosby and Nash)
Wot's... Uh The Deal
Wearing The Inside Out
Coming Back To Life
EncoresWish You Were Here
Find The Cost Of Freedom (with Crosby and Nash)
Arnold Layne (with David Bowie)
Comfortably Numb (with David Bowie)
(PS - A very happy birthday to Duncan Jones and Holly Adams)