Royal Albert Hall, London
added: 27 Oct 2013
// gig date: 22 Oct 2013
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
It may be unfair to say so but many bands that choose to cover (or tribute) one particular band, could ply their trade quite happily on the pub and small venue circuit. Yes, the likes of Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac were, and are, bone fide stadium bands, but crucially their music is pretty adaptable, and can be played anywhere.
Pink Floyd’s music can’t be performed in a pub or even a town hall. Music as vast and expansive as theirs only really sits well in very large venues and with a stage show to match. That’s expensive and at the moment there are two Floyd tribute acts touring the world with the sort of lighting and effects that brings joy to the hearts of electricity company’s CEOs.
Brit Floyd has been riding on the coattails of the Aussie lot for a couple of years now but is emerging from this formidable shadow. Frankly there’s a Rizla between them when it comes to the reproduction of the music but visually the Aussie’s, at the moment, have the upper-hand. Nevertheless at the Royal Albert Hall Brit Floyd put on a very impressive audio and visual display.
Lights down and the round screen flickered on with a person rummaging through their record collection, pulling out and placing on the turntable, the one that corresponded to the side about to be performed. Opening with a crushing version of In the Flesh and blinding lights they step forward with the first side of The Wall. A brave move as it’s almost certain that 99% of this audience had seen Roger Waters’ tour and set up for comparison. They compare well, and while accurate to a T, there’s a ruggedness about these versions that sets them apart, a little.
That’s buffed away as the band then go for side one of Wish You Were Here. Shine on You Crazy Diamond’s accompanied by images of Syd on the circular screen. That was none to subtle and a feature of the animations over the evening in that they attempted a literal accompaniment of the music, with varying degrees of success.
Side two of Dark Side of The Moon was magnificent with the band really beginning to click and with Us and Them to Brain Damage being particularly effective. As one would expect from a Floyd tribute band, there’s not a lot going on the stage so the visuals and sound have to be top notch. By and large they were, apart from the aforementioned images (During Wish You Were Here they had plenty of images of Pink Floyd themselves and a slightly odd desire as they’d be out of a job if they were around.) including a pig and lasers.
A break, back to the collection and out came Animals, maybe the most underrated of Floyd’s albums. Hopefully this performance of Dogs – this writer would love to have heard Sheep - will have people going to back to reassess this album because despite its themes, contains some of their most interesting work. As this set is drawn from the 1994 Division Bell tour we are treated to side two of the album and a band now comfortable with their post Water’s status, maybe even a jolly Pink Floyd, as my companion noted.
What followed was a run through of what was described as Pink Floyd’s hits. That’s pushing it but they are certainly the better known songs. The Great Gig in the Sky was especially moving, a snatch of the Dr Who theme during One of These Days was slightly mischievous, and of course Comfortably Numb was as you’d expect. No one can hope to reproduce the spine-tingle that one gets when Gilmour starts the closing solo on the song, but they did a fair version, along with the glitter ball and effects going into overdrive. They closed as they started in bruising form with Run Like Hell.
A virtually sold out venue is proof that there’s still a real appetite for Pink Floyd’s music, and while the 3 hours concentrated on the biggies there’s still plenty of goodies pre Dark Side. Also, at the moment they probably don’t feel they can - or want - to do anything other than note for note reproduction of the music. But it would be interesting, not to mention courageous, if in the future they maybe threw some caution to the wind, and played about with this unique body of work.
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