|The Australian Pink Floyd Show|
(Photos: Michelle Wilson)
Frequent guest blogger
recently has attended
a slew of live concert events. Fortunately for
us, she's always
eager to share her experiences. And
for Pink Floyd
fans, this one sounds
like it was quite a treat.
THE AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD SHOW
Maxwell C. King Center / Melbourne, FL / October 9, 2012
There are many Pink Floyd tribute bands out there, but The Australian Pink Floyd Show (TAPFS) has long been touted as the cream of the crop. With the official Pink Floyd endorsement behind them, this talented troupe from down under has been wowing audiences throughout the world for over twenty years with their monstrous musicianship and magical laser light show. According to the official TAPFS website, David Gilmour himself held them in such high esteem that they performed at his fiftieth birthday gala, indeed proving the truest testament to their Floyd-esque finesse.
Fresh off the heels of their European dates, TAPFS recently has embarked on their 2012 “Exposed in the Light” U.S./Canadian tour. I purchased my October 9th front-row ticket and off I went to
Maxwell C. King Centerfor the Performing Arts. I wasn’t sure if I would regret my seat choice in
terms of the laser light show, but I’m all about the music anyway, so it was of
little consequence to me and it was a non-issue. The light show was awesome
from any angle and I snapped off some great shots to capture it. Melbourne, Florida
Opting for some deeper cuts from Pink Floyd’s vast catalog, the songs spanned an array of nine different records. The first set opened with “In the Flesh” from 1979’s The Wall and also included “Take It Back” and “High Hopes” from 1994’s The Division Bell, along with “Sorrow” off 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Pulling out an early gem, the band thrilled true Floyd fans with “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” from 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets. But it was the last two songs of the first set that really got the attention of the audience. As the iconic pink pig and political imagery floated across the screen behind the stage, the crowd cheered as the band belted and snorted out the dark and sarcastic “Pigs” from 1977’s Animals. Rounding out the first set was fan fave “Another Brick in the Wall,” also off The Wall, with a building-sized, pin-striped, tie-adorned inflatable teacher bopping and pointing behind the beautiful and talented female backup singers, Lorelei McBroom, Emily Lynn and Lara Smiles.
For the casual Pink Floyd fan, the second half of the show offered a more familiar set than the first. And after a brief intermission, TAPFS returned with Pink Floyd’s homage to Syd Barrett, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” as well as “Wish You Were Here” from 1975’s Wish You Were Here. Then came the incredibly performed iconic tracks from 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon: “Time,” “Great Gig in the Sky,” and “Us and Them.” All three of the female backup singers were featured individually on “Great Gig” which really stepped it up a notch. One of the (many) highlights for me was hearing the politically motivated “The Fletcher Memorial Home” from 1983’s The Final Cut as bassist Colin Wilson nails Roger Waters’ voice on everything he sings.
Other tracks in the second half included “What Do You Want From Me?” from Division Bell and the mainly instrumental but catchy “One of These Days” off 1971’s Meddle, with the pink, building-sized, inflatable Skippy the Kangaroo bouncing behind Wilson. All
could do was laugh. The band closed out the show with two classics off The
Wall, “Comfortable Numb” (or “Comfy” as the set list affectionately referred to
it) and a rousing rendition of “Run Like Hell,” during which the band
encouraged the audience to get up on its feet and dance. Wilson
While I greatly enjoyed this show, I felt a somewhat stiff stage presence from relative newcomer, vocalist Alex McNamara. His are quality vocals, but it is Colin Wilson and guitarist/vocalist Steve Mac who really give you the sound of the original singer. When I read that you could close your eyes and feel like you were at an actual Pink Floyd show, it was Wilson and Mac who were being described. Amazing guitar work and vocals also were offered by Dave Fowler, and drummer Paul Bonney was as good as it gets. Original member and band spokesman Jason Sawford looked like he could play the keyboards in his sleep, he was so good.
While the band tours with a saxophone player, the multi-talented Mike Kidson, they use pre-recorded strings during at least one song (“The Fletcher Memorial Home”). For a performing troupe of this caliber, I was a bit disappointed in this aspect of the show. I have attended several Classic Albums Live shows, where albums are performed note for note, including Pink Floyd, and if strings are part of the record, strings are brought on stage. For me, it’s about the music, first and foremost, and when you strip out the laser light show, I would put Classic Albums Live up against TAPFS any day. But don't get me wrong, The Australian Pink Floyd Show is a tremendous production and it delivers more than ample bang for the buck.
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