LIVE: The Australian Pink Floyd Show @ the Palace Theatre, 10/5/18
Review by Steven Stock
The Australian Pink Floyd Show opened their recent performance at Albany’s Palace Theatre with an interesting gambit, playing “Obscured by Clouds” under fairly stark lighting with no special effects whatsoever. The obscure song choice and the minimalist presentation suggested that this might be a different kind of tribute band, willing to dive deep into Pink Floyd’s catalog and cast the spotlight on sheer musical prowess rather than wowing the rowdy and receptive audience with staging and presentation.
For better or worse “Obscured by Clouds” proved to be a red herring, as the 10-piece Aussie Floyd proceeded to play a set that leaned heavily on Pink Floyd’s most familiar catalog, encompassing 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon, 1975’s Wish You Were Here, 1977’s Animals and 1979’s The Wall. Aussie Floyd has been doing this for 30 years, so it was no surprise that their stagecraft was very impressive, with lighting effects that effectively complemented the music and graphics that were far more involving than Brit Floyd (a similar competing tribute band) projected at Proctors in Schenectady a year-and-a-half ago.
The ensemble more or less breaks down into six musicians (drummer Paul Bonney, bassist Ricky Howard, keyboard player Jason Sawford, guitarists Steve Mac and David Domminney Fowler and saxophonist Mike Kidson) and four singers (Chris Barnes on lead with Lorelei McBroom, Lara Smiles and Emily Lynn backing). In truth Fowler, Howard and Mac contribute vocals as well, with Howard in particular shining on some of the more winsome segments.
Their lovely version of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” shows how effectively Aussie Floyd used their ensemble. The piece opened with just guitar and keyboards, before the rhythm section and a second guitarist joined in. After a beautiful guitar solo from Fowler, the four singers came out, joined finally by Kidson (who by the way bears an uncanny resemblance to Truman Capote) on alto and tenor. The band swelled from two pieces to ten, always in service to the song.
The show was consistently good, but a few highlights stood out. Each of the three ladies took a lead vocal turn on “The Great Gig in the Sky,” and their scat singing was incredible. “Fat Old Sun,” another unexpected selection, boasted some lovely slide guitar from Mac and a beguiling keyboard solo from Sawford. “Wish You Were Here” was absolutely gorgeous, and to the audience’s delight the closing “Comfortably Numb” was suitably majestic.
AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD SHOW SETLIST
Obscured by Clouds
In the Flesh
Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)
The Great Gig in the Sky
Us and Them
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Fat Old Sun
Wish You Were Here
One of These Days
Run Like Hell