When it comes to the Floyd I’m definitely in the “I liked their earlier stuff” camp. So when tickets for this gig went on sale way back in March I was in there immediately, nabbing a seat 7 rows from the front.
It was a great night. As usual with “heritage” acts they played some songs I absolutely had to hear (“Bike”, saved for the encore), some I didn’t expect to hear (“Atom Heart Mother”) and left out some I would have loved to hear (“Julia Dream”). But really – yer mustn’t grumble…
Nick Mason is just wonderful. We’re getting used to sixties era musicians still performing in their eighties, and ol’ Nick is only a few months shy of his 80th. He looks fit and healthy, and for someone whose musicianship has been questioned, even by himself, he plays the drums rather well. He has several spots where he talks to the audience and is friendly and witty. (“Oh sorry that’s my phone – is that you Roger? How are you? Your gong – no sorry I don’t have your gong. Maybe give Dave a call”)
Gary Kemp, a relatively spring chicken at 63, who looks like the eternal ageless rock star, does most of the lead vocals and plays excellent guitar. While most of the chat to the audience was scripted, he threw in a lovely comment that he noticed his bags at the airport were labelled SYD. Guy Pratt on bass seemed to be the MD, signalling endings etc with Nick. The other guitar player is excellent and the keyboard player does his best to channel Rick but doesn’t quite get his essence IMHO.
The whole show is immaculately produced – of course it is, Nick M has been involved in immaculately produced live music shows for decades. I felt like I was part of some 14 hour Technicolour Dream.
Oh and one final thing – they know their audience. I’ve never encountered this before but after about an hour they announced there’d be a “short break”. Just when all the sixty-something chaps in the audience needed to do a wee. How brilliant is that?