The Great Gig in the Sky: Pink Floyd’s Lighting Show


The Great Gig in the Sky: Pink Floyd’s Lighting Show

Lighting technology has come a long way in the last forty years or so. So has rock n roll. These days most bands and artists who can fill up arenas put on a lighting show. Back in the 60s and 70s lighting at a gig served to create ambience and mood. It was largely a simplistic affair. Many Doors fans will be familiar with their legendary show at the Hollywood Bowl in ’68. As the opening chords to The End are being played, Jim Morrison tries, unsuccessfully, to get the lights turned down. For such a theatrical band it is interesting to ponder how their stage show would have evolved, especially the lighting, if Morrison had lived and the band continued.

Spectacular Lighting

But our concern here is with another band who started in the 60s. They were also psychedelic but they continued through the decades and became known for their elaborate stage shows. The lighting show for Pink Floyd’s Pulse tour in 1994 was truly spectacular. There is no other word for it. Far from being a way to create ambience and mood, the lighting is very much part of the show. In fact, visibly, it is the show as David Gilmour and the rest of the musicians don’t display any showmanship. By the end of their gig at Earl’s Court in 1994, Gilmour hasn’t even broken sweat. Surely the same can’t be said of the lighting engineer! Being in charge of the ‘show’, the pressure to get everything right must have been intense. In fact, the lighting is so important that the audio visual engineer could be seen as another member of the band, in the same way that producers are often considered unofficial members of the bands they work with.


An Unrivalled Live Experience

The lighting show is so spectacular and complex that it is hard to describe. Throughout the concert it never rests and never repeats itself. It was a huge engineering achievement that left other bands of the same stature way behind as far as putting on a show goes. Of course, the lighting suited the band’s music very well. Often trippy and ambient, it strives to put the listener into another state of consciousness. Combined with the lighting, the Pulse show must have been memorable indeed. Over the years, the band, to a certain extent, stayed true to their psychedelic roots while embracing a prog rock sound and sensibility. Adding such an elaborate and technically complex lighting show to the mix led to something special: an unrivalled live experience.


People who have been lucky enough to witness ground breaking acts in concert, such as Jimi Hendrix, The Sex Pistols and Nirvana, have something to tell their grandchildren about. The same is true of Pink Floyd’s Pulse show. It took lighting technology to a whole new level. Again, it was a great engineering achievement, especially considering that it was over twenty years ago. No doubt, it’s like will never be seen again.

Lighting Hire Available

If you are planning on putting on a show and want to make it extra special with lighting then give us a call on +353 1 4133 892 or contact us online to find out about our range of lighting hire that will allow you to take the stage and the show to the next level.

Images © Copyright Pink Floyd Tech & Pink Floyd Live

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