The Australian Pink Floyd Show has been called the “world’s greatest tribute band” and the crowd of Pink Floyd-crazed fans in attendance at The Hard Rock Live Event Center last Wednesday behaved as if they agreed with that sentiment all the way through the band’s two lengthy sets. A huge life-long fan of Floyd myself, I decided to take the opportunity to go and witness again the dazzling spectacle these exceptionally talented guys can offer. I had seen their show some years ago at The Fillmore Miami at The Jackie Gleason Theater, and it was an unreal night, therefore I was expecting nothing less.
Music fans generally do not like covers bands. Nonetheless, somewhat established fact doesn’t apply in its full extend to the Aussies, who have enjoyed continued and unparalleled worldwide success. Been quoted as the most truthful, authentic and popular act to keep the torch of Pink Floyd’s music for years, they were personally asked by David Gilmour, singer of Pink Floyd, to play at his private 50th birthday party and Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason once told BBC Radio in an interview that The Australian Pink Floyd were “probably better than us.” Their live shows recreate the look, feel, and sound of Floyd‘s later world tours, including a round screen with intelligent lights arranged around its perimeter. During their concerts, movies and animations are displayed on-screen, complementing the band’s light show. Inflatables (such as the pig used by Pink Floyd during the Division Bell Tour, and Skippy – the band’s own giant pink kangaroo and named after the Australian TV series “Skippy – The Bush Kangaroo”) are frequently utilized. Pink Floyd only had four members in the band but they routinely toured with a much larger ensemble of overall 10 players and singers, and the Aussies do exactly the same, fact which contributes to the immersive nature of their shows.
The show began on time, and started with what many would call an obscured track: “Obscured by Clouds” from that very same album set the night in motion, with blue lights flooding the stage. “In the Flesh”, a cut from the band’s landmark album The Wall followed, and the whole band slowly appeared on stage, including the backing singers. The never-ending intro for “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” made presence followed by a unanimous cheering, a song Pink Floyd wrote about Barrett, who infamously had to be booted out of the band after literally losing his mind from taking too much LSD. During this long Floyd’s fan favorite tune – played in its entirety, including a beautiful sax solo, courtesy of Mike Kidson – several films clips, still photos and swirling psychedelic visuals paying homage to Floyd’s early days were projected onto the circular screen, ending with a picture of the late Barrett. As usual the sound at The Hard Rock Live Event Center is as good as you can get, elevating the whole audio/visual experience to illusory levels.
The performance was divided in two sets, but one thing remained constant: They take painstaking care to ensure that every detail from Floyd’s recordings is revived and relived. Their attention to detail and reproduction of each track was meticulous and clinically precise in every detail, accompanied with jaw-dropping and eye-popping effects. It is difficult to pick key tracks, as everyone has personal favorites in Floyd’s catalogue and each song felt special on its own right. Poignant classics like “Time”, “Us and Them”, the perennial favorite “Another Brick in the Wall – Part 2”, during which one giant inflatable creature resembling a terrifying teacher appeared to the right of the stage, a stunning take on Dark Side of the Moon cut “The Great Gig in the Sky” where back-up singers Lorelei McBroom and Emily Lynn each took a turn with the song’s wordless vocal parts sending shivers down my spine, “One of These Days” where a giant jumping kangaroo dominated the center stage, and the anthemic “Wish You Were Here” were some of the night’s highlights. The audience was in awe, standing and profusely applauding after each song. The beautiful and timeless “Comfortably Numb” closed the show as the encore, including a staggering solo courtesy of David Fowler, with minutes of constant crowd’s cheering and clapping after the last note faded away.
I didn’t have the luxury of seeing Pink Floyd during their long career, but I can categorically say The Australian Pink Floyd is as close as you can get to enjoy a true Floyd’s experience. This is likely what Pink Floyd would be doing if they were still around. From the first note to the last, the performance was spot on and intense, and if you just closed your eyes, you would think you are listening to the original band. They are a true gold star group of musicians and I thank them for keeping the flame of Floyd’s music alive.
Obscured by Clouds / In the Flesh / Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) / Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX) / Young Lust / The Great Gig in the Sky / Us and Them / The Happiest Days of Our Lives / Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Time / Pigs (Three Different Ones) / Fat Old Sun / Sorrow / Wish You Were Here / One of These Days / Run Like Hell
Encore: Comfortably Numb