I’m generally not one for tribute bands, but I would class this in the much superior category of a show based on the works of Pink Floyd, rather than mere tributing.
And, having seen the Antipodean lot a couple of times, as well as the BSO/Symphony Chorus’s effort, in this venue, it was only fair to give our homegrown team a chance to shine.
So here we were, celebrating a half-century since the release of the iconic album The Dark Side of The Moon, which spent an incredible 560 weeks in the album charts, a feat beaten only by Oasis, Fleetwood Mac and hits packages.
This was the Floyd of David Gilmour, successor of the tragic Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright whose 1973 album set the gold standard for progressive rock.
But we had the full gamut of the Floyd career, from the 1960s to the ‘90s – or as much as you could fit in during a two-hour show.
UK Pink Floyd Experience, now 17 years into their own career, recreate the sights and sounds of the legendary band in concert, something we are unlikely to witness again unless hells freezes over, or something like that.
To say we have to make do with UKPFE underplays their superlative efforts in recreating the atmosphere of the Floyd live – top professional musicians who happen to base their show on a superlative band. It is a testimony to the quality of the original music that Floyd recreations remain plentiful and the best of the bunch.
UKPFE certainly have a passion for it and their highly authentic show gives us more than two hours of music, along with a thought-provoking films – from politics and conflict to Floyd images and psychedelia – on the traditional circular screen and a stunning light show.
The players are led on stage by show musical director Rick Benbow, on piano, Hammond, keyboards and vocals, alongside Dave Power, on bass, acoustic guitar and vocals, Paul Andrews on electric guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals, Mike Bollard, on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards and vocals, plus the excellent Francesco Borrelli, on drums and percussion, Emma Street on vocals and percussion and Jo Paterson-Neild on vocals, saxophones, flute and percussion.
However, it is very much Dave Power’s band, he founded it back in the day and plays the father to his brood of musicians – allowing them the limelight regularly, but often reminding us of his bass artistry.
Paul Andrews is the real star, covering the majority of the vocals (in that idiosyncratic shouty Gilmour/Waters style) and guitar solos, but it really is a band effort, including the incredible voice of Emma Street, emulating Clare Torry on Great Gig In The Sky and the double sax dexterity of Jo Paterson-Neild.
The first half included In The Flesh, Dogs Of War, Sorrow, See Emily Play and a hefty chunk, but not the whole 26 minutes, of Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
Every track was an event – witness Power’s bass solo on the instrumental One Of These Days – and my highlight, Wish You Were Here. The half closed with Brain Damage/Eclipse from DSoTM.
Part two showcased a little of the music the Floyd sometimes felt unable to cast off, such as the epic, but rambling 16 minutes of Echoes. We also had the likes of Pigs On The Wing, Hey You, Young Lust, Money, Keep Talking and Mother.
Another Brick In The Wall closed proceedings with the encore, although they didn’t bother to leave the stage first, being a spot-on version of Comfortably Numb.
My only quibble was the slightly fuzzy vocals, although the sound was generally tremendously good. And it was loud!
All good stuff – and they’re back next year.