The first time I heard music from Pink Floyd was in high school when my brother played me “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” the opening song off their classic 1975 album Wish You Were Here. From then on I was hooked, and spent all my money collecting the Floyd’s albums and live concert bootlegs. At the time, my weekends were spent basking in the beauty of laser Floyd at my local planetarium, but deep down I always knew that for me to absorb the full impact of this music required a live stage with instruments, singers, and visual effects; so when the opportunity to see The Australian Pink Floyd Show (TAPFS) in New York City came to fruition I just had to be there. Backed by the traditional Floydian circular screen, guitarist Steve Mac, bassist Colin Wilson, keyboardist Jason Sawford, drummer Paul Bonney, guitarist David Domminney Fowler, vocalist Alex McNamara, Saxophonist Mike Kidson, vocalist Emily Lynn, vocalist Lara Smiles, and former Pink Floyd stage vocalist Lorelei McBroom recreated the Pink Floyd live experience for a packed crowd of enthusiastic fans at Times Square’s Best Buy Theater.
Preserving the essence of a Floyd concert, Aussie Floyd split the show into two parts with a 20 minute intermission. The first half of the show was filled with lesser known sonic gems from Floyd’s illustrious catalog, while the second half comprised of their more popular hits. Opening the show with 1975’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)” the group smoothly transitioned into “Welcome To The Machine,” off the same album before shifting gears with “Coming Back To Life,” a David Gilmour led Floyd song off 1994’s The Division Bell. Splitting David Gilmour’s vocals between Steve Mac and Alex McNamara really made a huge difference on songs like “Sorrow” and “Learning To Fly,” both from 1987’s Momentary Lapse of Reason. While Mac played the calm and more subdued Gilmour, McNamara channeled his angry side. After showering fans with later Floyd the band hunkered down, fired up the lasers, and went into a magnificent rendition of “Dogs” off 1977’s masterpiece, Animals. Aussie Floyd’s “Dogs” was flawless, and there were many moments throughout the song when it felt like the real Pink Floyd was performing on stage.
Roger Waters’ departure from the band in 1985 not only changed the soundscape of Pink Floyd’s studio albums, but also how some songs were performed on the road. David Gilmour began singing songs originally sung by Waters and vice versa, but Aussie Floyd had an answer for that situation, and it was Colin Wilson. Wielding the almighty bass guitar, Wilson not only captured Waters’ instrumental identity, but also his vocal prowess on songs such as “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,” “Comfortably Numb,” and “Run Like Hell;” all from 1979’s The Wall album. Other highlights from the show included a series of mesmerizing 3D visuals that brought the second half of the concert to life, the quadraphonic sound that swirled around fans during side one of 1973’s record shattering classic, Dark Side of the Moon, Lorelei McBroom’s brilliant delivery of “The Great Gig in the Sky,” Mike Kidson’s energetic saxophone solo during “Money,” a heart-pounding version of the band’s 1968 B-side, “Careful with That Axe, Eugene,” and Aussie Floyd atmospheric interpretation of “One Of These Days,” the gut-wrenching instrumental blitzkrieg that opens 1970’s Meddle.
Seeing The Australian Pink Floyd Show really filled a gap for me as a music fan and journalist. The feeling I receive from every album or concert I review is compared to how Pink Floyd’s music originally made me feel back in high school. Music written by Pink Floyd is my benchmark for what effect music should have on people. If a concert can invigorate me like the Pink Floyd music I heard on the way to the show, then I’m going to give it a rave review, and the visceral energy I received from witnessing Aussie Floyd in concert confirmed the validity of my rating scale. Billed as a “Pink Floyd Greatest Hits” show, Aussie Floyd not only gives fans the best songs from Floyd’s influential catalog, but also demonstrates the best parts of seeing them live; the amazing sound quality accentuated by mind-bending visuals.
On the song “Have A Cigar,” a record executive asks the question, “Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?” With the loss of Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, and Roger Waters performing The Wall in stadiums around the globe it seems that Pink Floyd, as a single unit, no longer exists. But as long as The Australian Pink Floyd Show is around the music Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright created will never die, and fans like me will always have a place to go and continue riding the gravy train.
- Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
- Welcome to the Machine
- Coming Back to Life
- Arnold Layne
- Learning to Fly
- Speak to Me
- On the Run
- Breathe (Reprise)
- The Great Gig in the Sky
- What Do You Want from Me
- Careful with That Axe, Eugene
- The Happiest Days of Our Lives
- Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
- Wish You Were Here
- One of These Days
- Comfortably Numb