LIVE: The Pink Floyd Experience @ The Egg, 3/7/16
Review by Steven Stock
Cover bands typically aren’t given much respect – they have to march onstage and earn it. The six-piece Pink Floyd Experience did just that Monday night at The Egg’s Hart Theatre. Opening with “In the Flesh” (first line “So you thought you might like to go the show”) was perhaps a bit cute, but the group quickly moved on to meatier fare with side two of Animals: “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” “Sheep” and “Pigs On The Wing 2.”
If the musicians and stage crew (very effective lighting and sporadically entertaining projections were an integral part of the overall package) seemed tight and well-rehearsed, it’s no surprise. The same ensemble spent seven weeks on the road last year presenting “Four Sides of Floyd” to over 34,000 ticket holders, earning a cool million in the process. While most of the arrangements hewed closely to the original versions (making for almost an entire evening of turgid tempos), the players demonstrated their individuality and impressive technique during solos.
PFX did take considerable liberties with “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” brightening this smoldering number with a glorious saxophone solo. It was the only song in the set not gleaned from Floyd’s ’70s heyday, and led me to wonder how this sextet would transform other golden oldies such as “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” and “Interstellar Overdrive” – a question, alas, that was not to be answered within the “Four Sides of Floyd” concept.
Instead, we were treated to the second side of one of the loveliest slabs of melancholia ever recorded, Wish You Were Here: “Have A Cigar,” the title track and “Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9).” A challenging suite to be sure, and the band came through with elan. After a rather long intermission, PFX returned with an epic version of the side-long “Echoes,” again adding a saxophone solo that contrasted nicely with the frenzied slide guitar of the song’s turbulent middle section. “Hey You” from The Wall provided an effective segue into the second side of The Dark Side of the Moon. Most of the audience loved the latter, especially “Money,” but for some reason I found the similar-but-not-identical sound effects jarring in a way the similar-but-not-identical playing wasn’t.
All four sides having been dispensed with, PFX cantered into the homestretch with a radical reworking of “One of These Days” that allowed the bass player to step up front and command center stage. Closer to Funk Floyd than Pink Floyd, but it was riveting nonetheless. The band finished with a well-selected salvo from The Wall: “Comfortably Numb,” “Run Like Hell” and finally the obligatory audience sing-along “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2.” It was pretty fucking good overall, and judging by how many of the crowd stood and offered a standing ovation, I wasn’t the only one who savored the spectacle. Continue to sneer at tribute bands if you want, but on this particular evening you missed a damn good show.
It was a very good show, and on the whole, I agree. Fantastic musicianship, good stage show, real presence, and an obvious love for the material.
What struck me most, however, was that the most enthusiastic and genuine applause seemed to come during those parts that were not present in the original recording: the sax solos in “Set the Controls” and “Echoes” that you yourself point in your piece, for example. I find myself agreeing that it might be more interesting to hear reworkings of PF material along those lines, but that’s not the point of a tribute band.
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