I’ve seen Pink Floyd several times in the past, and they’ve been in my top-5 all-time bands for pretty much all my time. Comfortably Numb is my #1 song of all time, and I’d count both The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon among my top-ten albums. So it was with much excitement that I discovered that Brit Floyd would be coming to Grand Rapids in March – so when tickets went on sale I bought great seats dead in the center of the first row in the balcony of DeVos Place performance hall. I questioned my sanity a bit at paying $50 for a cover band, but the more I read about the band, the better I felt.
I won’t bore you with tales of my Pink Floyd concert experiences, but here are two that I attended in my younger days:
November 1987 at Pontiac Silverdome
July 1994 at Pontiac Silverdome
We knew going in that the show would consist of them playing five complete album sides, and we arrived with just a short wait until the show would begin. The crowd was surprisingly old and well-dressed, and I was struck by how odd it was to be at a Floyd show with no smoke of any variety among the crowd. Times have changed, boy.
The crowd started to get a bit rowdy as the band filed onto the stage, and the obligatory idiot screamed “Freebird” and the whole crowd laughed; small venues are great for intimate stuff like that. Once they started playing the opening notes of “Breathe in the Air” I was completely hooked, because these guys didn’t just have the Floyd sound perfectly nailed, they were Pink Floyd. The guy who sang the David Gilmour parts sounded exactly like Gilmour. They didn’t take many liberties with the Floyd tunes, playing them straight and true, but with tons of energy like any good live show should have.
These guys are supremely talented musicians too. The first song has the lead guitarist playing lap slide, then the other guitarist plays slide a few songs later. The show starts with two drummers, then later the second drummer plays acoustic guitar, then alto and tenor sax, then bass when the lead bass guy plays the doctor during Comfortably Numb. These guys were really on top of it and the crowd was nuts for the whole show, with of course seemingly half the crowd holding up iPhones to record the show. I took a shot of the set before they took the stage, but otherwise behaved and kept my phone in my pocket, except for a quick game of Candy Crush during the intermission.
We got a full three hours of concert from Brit Floyd, and I’d go again in a heartbeat. The laser show was excellent, among the best we’ve seen (behind TransSiberian Orchestra and Floyd themselves), and their encores blew everybody away. They had some excellent videos as well that were awfully close to ones I’ve seen at Floyd shows before. I had Brit Floyd afterglow for a couple weeks and I’m still riding high on Floyd a month later. The setlist was fantastic and featured many of the songs I was hoping to hear.
On the Run
The Great Gig in the Sky
Pigs on the Wing Part 1
Goodbye Blue Sky
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Welcome to the Machine
Take It Back
One of These Days
Wish You Were Here
Another Brick in the Wall pt II
Encore:Run Like Hell