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The Pink Floyd Experience (Australia 2008)

Australian Stage Online

Peter Bleby, Monday, 22 September 2008

Rock is not actually my genre. From the relative safety and self sufficiency ­ if not self satisfaction ­ of my Classical training, I have been heard to assert that “good rock music” is an oxymoron. Nevertheless this curmudgeon has had a Damascus Road experience. In spite of all prejudices, it is clear that this music has intrinsic value and these musicians are people of rare talent. And anyway it is hard to ignore one of the most influential bands of all time ­ especially when one is a firm product of the baby boom!

Any memories I had of the actual Pink Floyd were reawakened in the grand old Thebarton Theatre. The Pink Floyd Experience is a New Zealand group that got together to honour this remarkable band, and their work has been so successful they are now internationally known and followed. This was their third visit to Adelaide, and the Floydies of Adelaide were not disappointed, and turned out in droves, in spite of the fairly high seat price.

More than simply trying to recreate the music, lights and effects of the original, this group actually does a homage to them with great respect, enthusiasm and dedication, not to mention remarkable ability. It was more than a homage ­ it was almost a resurrection. Favourites like Money, Us and Them, Brain Damage and Welcome to the Machine were pounded out with appositely juxtaposed and innovative visuals and lighting, dramatically enhanced by the smoke (stage smoke – not funny stuff), through an enormous battery of speakers. The sound was viscerally loud at times ­ surely this level is unnecessary when the words and nuances of the music are actually more discernible through earplugs!

The music of Pink Floyd has a very particular style, showing definite influence of The Beatles, and while parts can be a bit samey at times, it has a definite appeal to many age groups, and has undoubtedly been very influential, and the 20th century would have been much the poorer without it. It is certainly worth repeating and preserving, and in the hands of a group of this ability, its preservation is assured and its future safe.

Throughout the concert the spirit of the recently departed Richard Wright hovered above us, and he was suitably remembered with a poignant performance of Wish You Were Here which was dedicated to him.

This was a remarkable concert, and I am grateful to this band for reawakening and rekindling my dormant appreciation of the genre, with what was genuinely a “Pink Floyd Experience”.

And my ears will recover.

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