On their brand new Discovery tour, Brit Floyd once again proves they are indeed the world’s greatest Pink Floyd tribute band. Friday night Brit Floyd played the LC Pavillion indoors, the same venue they played last spring about this time. However the crowd was far larger this time as word has been catching on about exactly how good this band is. I’ve gone on about this band at length in two other articles here. Brit Floyd is the only cover band I’ve heard and seen that cares enough to try to get every little detail right. Their stage show dazzles and electrifies. It is basically a condensed version of the setup that the real Pink Floyd used on their 1994 Division Bell tour (as seen in the DVD P*U*L*S*E).
One thing about this band that will always have me wanting to see them on each tour is that they change the theme and setlist from tour to tour. While last year their tour centered on playing 5 album sides and a greatest hits set, this year’s Discovery tour dug deeper. Named after Pink Floyd’s box set containing all of the studio albums, with Discovery the band vowed to play a setlist made up of material from *all* of the albums. Could it be done?
The doors opened at 7:00. Last year I got there about maybe 6:30 and was at the front of the line. This year I got there about 6:45 and I was blocks away in line and didn’t get first dibs on a place to stand. Be warned if you go to the LC indoors, it is standing room only, unless you got your tickets as part of the PBS donation drive and have seats in the balcony. Three plus hours of standing is worth it though even if it is an endurance test.
The show started off with a montage of Pink Floyd’s history containing a lot of the best sound effects and intro bits to get the crowd hyped up. This led to the first entire half of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. Beautifully and articulately played by guitarist Bobby Harrison. “Learning To Fly” followed, much like on P*U*L*S*E. An excellent rendition of Floyd’s live 1994 version complete with extra percussion. And that was followed by a beautiful version of “High Hopes” that ended with a gentle guitar coda like David Gilmour’s live after-Floyd version. So far I’m thinking “are they just going to play the P*U*L*S*E setlist? Then came a drone almost unfamiliar to me and some blurry dots on the screen. Wait..no?..”Childhood’s End”!! A song I love from Obscured by Clouds, yet one of the few that I don’t know the lyrics by heart. Excellent version! Everything was just right.. vocals, guitar, drums, the tick-tick bass sound this song shares with “Time”. The real Floyd only played this song a handful of times in 1972 before abandoning it.
Another droning sound afterwards, searchlights and.. yep.. “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” and “Another Brick In The Wall Pt 2”. Singalong time! This is when all the people that left for beer during “Childhood’s End” came back to go “wooohoooo!”. It never fails. Great performance though – started like the album version, and ended like the P*U*L*S*E version. Then obscure song #2 of the night, one of my absolute favorites by Pink Floyd, “Fat Old Sun”. Again, many people running off for more beer, leaving me with a much better view of the stage. Very cool graphics to backdrop this one. Sadly the mellow part of the song lost a few people that all of a sudden became interested as soon as the big “guitars up to 10” solo ending kicked in. Blazing guitar work on this one – definitely a highlight of the show for me! As the song ended to cheers, another familiar drone of a different kind came in (there sure are a lot of Floyd songs with droning intros aren’t there?). This time it was the dark brooding “Sorrow”. This year the band brought lasers galore after having very minimal lasers last year. Because of this, they had the perfect laser lighting to re-enact what I consider the penultimate version of the song from P*U*L*S*E complete with drawn out murky grinding guitar solos both at the beginning and the end. To think I didn’t care for this song as a kid when I first heard A Momentary Lapse of Reason. This version makes me love it so much more. More cheers, and then lighting up the screen were a set of two evil red eyes and snorts surrounding us.. YES!!!! The band broke into a vicious spot on rendition of “Pigs (3 Different Ones)” from Animals. They win me over with Animals material every time, as a highlight of last year’s show was “Dogs”. The band gets all those musical details and the spitefulness juuust right. The only thing that would have put it over the edge would have been to do the Roger pig squeals that are more apparent on the live versions, Since Ian Cattell can totally hit the similar scream in “Run Like Hell”. Everything else was flawless and goosebumps all around. Ian’s vocals had the right snarl to really do this song justice. And then… intermission.
Intermission was awkward because I was not leaving my spot. I have some back issues and had a spot where I could lean against a railing if I needed. So I stayed put. But I seem to be a magnet to drunken idiots who always plant themselves right in front of me, trip over me, spill their four beers they are trying to hold as they teeter-totter over people’s feet. But the lights went out again and a familiar rumble got louder and louder.. “Astronomy Domine”! Their film bits before the songs had a time machine graphic that dialed to the year, then gave the album and cover. That’s cheating! Luckily it was tad bit in that it said which song after I got to play name that tune first. “Astronomy Domine” was great! It was a shorter version more like the album version on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn or the 1994 live version. Very spirited on the wooo—oooo-ooooh parts. It could be so easy to half-ass this song and ruin it but they did not.
The next two songs were ruined because a drunken mess wobbled his way right in front of me along with another drunken mess of a friend. It went something like this for 10 minutes through “Money” and “Young Lust”…
“WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! THAT’S WHAT I’M FUKKINTALKINBOUT…YEAY WOOOOO THAT’S DARKSIDE..HEY!….HEY!! HEY MAN! THAT’S DARK SIDE *MONEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!* HEY MAN… THAT WAS MY…(INDECIPHERABLE) 1970-UMM UMM..WOOOOOO!!!!!!! FUKKINROCKINROLLLLL! YEAH!… and then WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO THAT’S WHAT I NEED…FUKKIN… HELL YEAH TITTIES! WOOOOOOOO!!!!”
while wobbling back and forth to his friend so badly that I heard a guy next to me dare his friend to tip him over. So the bits I could focus on around that mess was that the sax player did a great job on the solo, and that on “Young Lust” they played the long version like the real Floyd played on The Wall 1980-1981 tour. Extra solos, extra piano bits, all those little details. Shame those details were lost on the guy in front of me. Because titties and beer.
Thank God the next song was “Take It Back”… a great song from The Division Bell that sent those guys for more beer never to be seen again. The lighting was very similar to the 1994 tour again, which is something to pull off. Vocals were excellent on this particularly. The song ending fades into another droning keyboard. I couldn’t name it before seeing it was “Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun”. This version was the Roger Waters live version (see his In The Flesh live dvd). While it’s good, and was played to the tee, I can’t bend my brain around the soulful sax arrangement he did with it after hearing the raw psychedelia of the original. But in all fairness, they did a “Gilmour version” earlier in the show. But then…
Some war memorabilia on the screen and wind sounds and “HEY! GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY DESERT!!” The Brits started with this and then continued on, doing “The Fletcher Memorial Home”, also from The Final Cut. Again, those that know only three Floyd albums got weary, but I sang along with the biggest smile. Great job on the vocals as that’s not an easy one to sing! Then to bring it home was crowd pleasing bunch of favorites. First was “Time”, complete with amazingly redone graphic that could almost pass for the originals, and a really great job on the drum intro. Then the showstopper, “The Great Gig In The Sky”. It’s rare that I will ever say this about a cover band, but singer Angela Servantes dug deep down and let her emotions rip and roar through this one, possibly outwailing Claire Torry on the original (and I love the original!). After a thundering ovation, it was crowd singalong time with the beautifully moving “Wish You Were Here”. “One Of These Days” followed and was a big highlight for me. The band takes the 1994 version, expands on it just slightly to make it a bit more fun in the solo part. This is where the light show just melts brains with how beautiful it looks and how it dances to the notes. Like last year, unfortunately their inflatable pig, a replica of the real Floyd’s 1994 pig won’t fit on the LC’s smallish stage. It Wasn’t needed. They blew enough minds without it.
The wind sounds kept on at the end of the song and the screen lit up in a faded orange. Would they? They did! The ended this part of the set with parts 6 and 7 of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. This was one of the best parts of the show. They even had video that looked very similar to the very cool 1977 tour film the real Floyd used. After another roaring applause, the band announced they had time for one more, and launched into the “knock knock knock” of the intro of “Comfortably Numb”. Again, the band did not disappoint. This is the only cover band I’ve ever heard that didn’t somehow make a wrong turn at the solo. The ending solo was so much longer, as it should be, On this tour Guitarist/vocalist Damian Darlington added a bit more of his own flair into the freestyling at the end that was fresh and yet totally sounded like something David Gilmour would actually play. After the band left the stage, the crowd roared for more, and they came back out with the tease intro from “Run Like Hell”, much like in the 1994 show and worked the crowd up for a big over the top light and sound finale. 3 hours later, my feet were uncomfortably numb but I had a huge smile on my face!
If you wish you could have seen the real Pink Floyd when they still toured but missed out, you owe it to yourself to see Brit Floyd at least once. When I hear bands cover my favorite band, I have a tendency to nitpick. And the first time I heard these guys I couldn’t do that! I was lost for words truly. The devotion and detail and talent this band puts into every detail really shines and has made me want to see them any time I can. In a way it’s like pretending Pink Floyd still is touring, that 1994 never ended, and the band changed their setlist up. Very “what if”. My only criticisms of the show would be that next time it should be a somehat bigger venue. Maybe the outdoor part of The LC. And that while they said they played music from every Floyd album, they skipped More and Ummagumma (well a bit of “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict” was used in the intro film). Though what I would have loved to have seen was maybe a medley of “Green Is The Colour” and “Careful With That Axe, Eugene”, as the band played together frequently around 1970. Or “Cymbaline”. But maybe they play a varied setlist on this tour from night to night. I’m not sure. And with already over two and a half hours of songs, it’s simply hard to cover that much material in a show.
Once again, thank you so much Brit Floyd for a night full of some of my favorite music ever written and for caring so much about the details. To fans like me, your passion for what you do matters so much to us.
Pick up their Live at Red Rocks DVD while you’re there or check to see when they are coming to a theater near you!