Photo: Jo Hale/Getty Images
In August 2006, when David Gilmour was touring behind his then-current album, On an Island, he and his party pulled into Venice, Italy, for an outdoor show in Piazza San Marco, aka St. Mark's Square.
The day before the show, he and his wife, novelist/journalist Polly Samson, were strolling through the busy city when they came upon a street musician playing wine glasses (also known as the glass harp). When the busker was done with his "set," an intrigued Gilmour struck up a conversation with him.
"Do you want to play it with us tomorrow night on the stage here in St. Mark's Square?" Gilmour asked. Although there seemed to be a slight language barrier at first, things took a positive turn as soon as Gilmour said the magic words, "I'll pay you." The performer—who truly didn't seem to know who Gilmour was—was in.
You can watch all (well, most) of the above in the brief clip below. At the 34-second mark, the action shifts to St. Mark's Square, where Gilmour warms up on acoustic guitar as locals watch from behind a barrier. At the 55-second mark, we see that it's pouring; it actually rained for hours before the gig and didn't stop till the show's intermission.
At 1:07, we briefly see Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright (who died two years later at age 65). Finally, at 1:17, Gilmour introduces his new (temporary) bandmate: "He plays in the streets of Venice for you every day. He's going to play...the wine glasses." What follows is about 20 seconds of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" featuring Strat, keyboards and glass harp.
In the clip below (which is from the same tour and also available on Gilmour's Remember That Night DVD), we see Gilmour recruiting a veritable three-man glass-harp orchestra (including Phil Manzanera) for a completely different European show, followed by another 25 seconds of actual performance. In the bottom clip, you can watch Gilmour give the gang a bit of instruction ("Gm, Dm, Cm, Dm ... For the beginning, you're just gonna stay on the Cm.")
As any good Pink Floyd fan knows, Gilmour, Wright and Roger Waters are credited with playing the glass harp on the band's original 1975 recording of the song, one of many Wish You Were Here highlights. Enjoy!