The Australian Pink Floyd Show brought their amazing live performance “Everything Under the Sun” to The Hard Rock Live at The Seminoles Hard Rock Casino last night, and as huge life-long fans of Floyd my wife and I decided to take the opportunity to go and witness again the dazzling spectacle these exceptionally talented guys can offer. We had seen their show around 4 years ago at The Fillmore Miami at The Jackie Gleason Theater, and it was an illusory night, therefore were expecting nothing less.
Generally music fans – proper music fans as we consider ourselves to be – do not like covers bands. However this opinion doesn’t get along well with the fact The Australian Pink Floyd have enjoyed continued and unparalleled success around the world, being the most truthful, authentic and popular act to keep the torch of Pink Floyd’s music for years, to the point 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 employed.
The Australian Pink Floyd Show has been called the “world’s greatest tribute band” and the crowd of Pink Floyd-crazed fans in attendance last night behaved as if they agreed with that sentiment all the way through the band’s lengthy set. Pink Floyd only had four members in the band but they routinely toured with a much larger ensemble and overall 10 players and singers, including an animated sax player, contributed to the night’s entertainment.
The show began on time, as the band took their places on stage, with the playing of a recorded montage of snippets of Syd Barrett-era songs including “See Emily Play”, “The Scarecrow”, “Lucifer Sam” and others. The never-ending intro for “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” was the perfect beginning, 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 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.
The performance was divided in two halves, 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”, “On the Turning Away”, the perennial favorite “Money” where sax man Mike Kidson played a hot and manic solo, “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, “Learning to Fly,” “What Do You Want From Me,” the anthemic ‘Wish You Were Here”, “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” where guitarist Steve Mac, looking a lot like David Gilmour, also utilized a “talk box” for special effect, and “One of These Days” where a giant jumping kangaroo dominated the center stage, were some of the highlights. The audience was in awe, standing and profusely applauding after each song. The beautiful and timeless “Comfortably Numb” closed the show with a staggering solo courtesy of David Fowler, with the band coming back after five minutes of constant crowd’s cheering and clapping for an encore of “Run like Hell.”
I didn’t have the luxury of seeing Pink Floyd during their long existence, 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 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 real thing. They are a true gold star group of musicians and I thank them for keeping the flame of Floyd’s music alive.
Photos and review by Joel Barrios