sat 17/03/2018

Brit Floyd, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - the old ones are the best | reviews, news & interviews

Brit Floyd, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - the old ones are the best

Brit Floyd, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - the old ones are the best

The lighting rig’s the real star in this high-end tribute act

Brit Floyd: reclaiming the Floyd for the UK

It’s now 24 years since Pink Floyd pretty much stopped being a going concern and 33 since the departure of artistic powerhouse Roger Waters. So, apart from a brief band reunion at 2005’s Live8 concert, Floyd-heads have had little to keep them happy apart from periodic album reissues for the best part of a generation. It is a truism, however, that nature abhors a vacuum, and into this vacuum has strode a substantial tribute-act industry. Once upon a time it was the Australian Pink Floyd Show that dominated this stage. These days, however, Brit Floyd have taken up the challenge to reclaim the Floyd for the UK.

Presently, on tour with their Eclipse 2018 show, Brit Floyd have taken to the boards to mark the 45th anniversary of the Dark Side of the Moon album, which seems an odd celebration, when they could be marking 50 years since the release of the less revered but just as interesting A Saucerful of Secrets and banging out the likes of the mighty “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”. Unfortunately, this was not to be as the modern arm of the Pink Floyd musical franchise has chosen to concentrate on the Roger Waters Prog Rock Dictatorship episode of the band’s career from Dark Side of the Moon onwards, with a few tunes thrown in from the post-Waters years. This is a shame, as two of the show’s highlights at Birmingham’s majestic Symphony Hall were provided by the only tunes that the band played from the pre-Dark Side of the Moon era: a plucky, new wave-tinged version of “Arnold Layne” which unexpectedly appeared after a disappointingly truncated “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, and a magnificent take on “One of These Days”, which actually got the crowd of somewhat deferential baby-boomers clapping along and joining in.

However, it was songs from the likes of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall that the fans had really come to hear, and they got them in spades. As expected, Dark Side of the Moon tunes were very much in evidence, even if the band didn’t play the whole album they were celebrating. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, “Have a Cigar” and the beautiful title track from Wish You Were Here were also given an airing, as were the obvious crowd-pleasers from Waters’s opus The Wall. However, while the musicians in Brit Floyd proved their excellence with their instruments over and over again, they did come across rather more as technicians than performers in this show – with the exception of Emily Jollands’s vocals on “The Great Gig in the Sky”, with were quite breath-taking. In fact, the star of the Brit Floyd show was not so much the musicians, as the Hipgnosis-inspired set design, lighting and animations. From the Syd Barrett projections during “Arnold Layne” and the Wish You Were Here tunes, to film of political warmongers and the horrors of the trenches during “Brain Damage” and the tracer-fire lasers of final tune “Run Like Hell”, it was the technology that provided the real thrills of this performance.

Brit Floyd have taken to the boards to mark the 45th anniversary of the Dark Side of the Moon album


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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