Flashback: David Gilmour Plays a Soaring ‘Comfortably Numb’ in 2006
Earlier this week, David Gilmour announced plans to auction off 120 of his most famous guitars to benefit his charitable foundation. He’s holding back virtually nothing, including the Stratocaster he used to write “Wish You Were Here” and the Ovation six-string he’s played on for almost every live performance of “Comfortably Numb.” “These guitars have been very good to me,” he told Rolling Stone‘s Kory Grow. “They’re my friends. They have given me lots of music. I just think it’s time that they went off and served someone else. I have had my time with them.”
Gilmour kept a very low profile after quietly disbanding Pink Floyd at the end of the 1994 Division Bell tour, but in 2006 he finally released his first post-Floyd solo album and hit the road to promote it. It was an incredible tour featuring several alumni of Pink Floyd’s touring band and even founding Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright. He could have brought it to arenas all over the world, but he opted to merely play 33 shows between March and August of 2006, rarely hitting a venue larger than a theater.
The show featured a complete performance of his new album On an Island, along with a full set of Floyd classics, like “Echoes,” “Shine On Your Crazy Diamond,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Fat Old Sun.” Every single night wrapped up with “Comfortably Numb.” David Bowie came out one night at the Royal Albert Hall to sing the original Roger Waters part of the song, and two days later Nick Mason played drums on it and essentially created a 10-minute Pink Floyd reunion. Here’s video of Gilmour and his band playing the song in Gdańsk, Poland on the final night of the tour.
Gilmour returned to the road in 2015 after releasing the solo LP Rattle That Lock. This was a longer tour that actually hit arenas such as Madison Square Garden, but he’s been almost completely inactive since it wrapped and has no real plans to begin work on a new album anytime soon. Selling his guitars may seem like he’s moving toward retirement, but he told Rolling Stone that wasn’t the case. “I’m not retiring nor particularly planning things at the moment,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll get around to something one of these days, but it’s a big commitment.”