LIVE: Brit Floyd @ Proctors, 4/19/17

Review by Steven Stock

I used to be like you. I used to scoff at cover bands. Sometimes I even sneered contemptuously. What a waste of a precious musical gift, replicating someone else’s creativity rather than trying to express your own.

But something happened. Last year, belatedly realizing that Pink Floyd isn’t likely to visit Albany anytime soon, I set my prejudices aside and ventured to see the Pink Floyd Experience at The Egg. They were good – they even brought something new to some of the songs by adding sax. Now I’m pleased to report that Brit Floyd’s visit to Proctors in Schenectady last month was even better.

Much of their edge came down to staging: their graphic projections were less cheesy, sometimes a bit literal (as during “Money”) but usually engaging. The lighting was exceptionally well-deployed, complementing the mood of each song. The lasers were cool, as lasers tend to be. Brit Floyd even had a fair-sized inflatable pig gyrating front-to-back during the Animals segment, as all bands should.

More importantly perhaps, Brit Floyd used their three female backing singers extremely well – Angela Cervantes’ stunning vocal tour de force on “The Great Gig in the Sky” was perhaps the evening’s highlight, garnering a standing ovation from audience and band alike. The band even took some liberties with the sacred texts at hand rather than slavishly copying them note-for-note, adding an extended coda to “Money” that by virtue of being unexpected succeeded in really grabbing the crowd’s attention.

To the extent the show had a template, it resembled Pink Floyd’s 1994 Division Bell outing, resulting in a set list that skewed towards DB and Momentary Lapse of Songwriting Ability at the expense of pre-Dark Side of the Moon material. So I had to be content with superb versions of “Astronomy Domine” and “One of These Days” compensating for relative snoozers such as “Coming Back to Life” and “Terminal Frost.”

“Dogs” was another highlight, featuring a series of coruscating guitar solos, while “Wish You Were Here” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” were both lovely, marred only by the hapless chap behind me in row EE who sings even more off-key than I (though perhaps I should be grateful to have finally discovered someone who sings worse).

“Comfortably Numb” was exquisite, majestic, spellbinding, while the closing double-whammy of “Not Now, John” and “Run like Hell” brought the crowd to its feet once again. So, if you can overcome your animus towards cover bands, perhaps we’ll meet at the Australian Pink Floyd Show at SPAC on July 29. I’ll be happy to see you, but I really don’t need to hear you!

Cluster One
What Do You Want From Me?
Welcome to the Machine
Coming Back to Life
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
One Slip
One of These Days
Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Brain Damage
Astronomy Domine
Pigs on the Wing, Part 1
A New Machine (Part 1)
Terminal Frost
Breathe (Reprise)
The Great Gig in the Sky
Wish You Were Here
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-VII)
Comfortably Numb
Not Now John
Run Like Hell

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