Floyd fleshed out
Pink Floyd tribute band In The Flesh played Beau Sejour last week and long-time Floyd fan Mark Ogier went along to see if they could capture the magic of the real thing...
TO QUOTE the band's biography, the aim of In The Flesh is to give fans 'an accurate rendition of the original Pink Floyd sound' and after being slightly nervous that they were setting their standards too high, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw and heard.
For the best part of three hours the large audience in the Sir John Loveridge Hall was treated to a generally well-executed tour of Pink Floyd's work, ranging from the band's first album to a track from the last one before they split up.
Floyd's live performances are famous for their light shows and although we didn't get giant inflatable pigs or crashing aircraft, we did get the trademark circular screen, lasers and some effective and often impressive lighting effects.
The screen was used for short film clips or stills during various songs, including some footage of animated clocks during the classic 'Time' which was very familiar.
The projections and lights for the original band allowed the musicians' personalities to remain largely in the background and let the music and the visuals do the talking.
That wasn't the case with In The Flesh, with amiable front man and keyboard player Chris Thomas introducing the odd track and the band members later on.
His voice had the range to cope with pretty much all of the songs, with lead guitarist Steve Loar and drummer Jeff Glover taking the mike occasionally.
Chris's finest moments were the quieter songs such as Fat Old Sun and Mother, which featured him on acoustic guitar at the front of the stage and which worked beautifully when sung back to back.
It was hard to tell how many diehard Floyd fans were in the audience and how many were just there on the strength of the more famous songs such as Money and Another Brick in the Wall.
However, In The Flesh weren't about to pander to any newcomers by sticking to 'safe' material and I was pleasantly surprised when they played the obscure but haunting Astronomy Dominee from the very first Floyd album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
Surprise turned to impressed astonishment when they went straight from this to one of the most challenging of Floyd tracks, the 23-minute long Echoes.
Would we be given a cut down version, I wondered?
Not at all – and even the bizarre and slightly spooky central section was present, as the screen showed slow motion scenes of waves and breakers.
For me this was one highlight of a show that at its best brilliantly captured the magic of Floyd's music.
There were a couple of moments where, as someone who's heard the songs many times, the odd note or musical transition within a song didn't sound quite right, but they were very rare.
The only song that didn't work for me was the almost-instrumental One of These Days, in which the keyboard just didn't sound right and from which the song's one-sentence lyric was mysteriously absent.
While drawing upon many of the Floyd's earlier albums, it was unsurprisingly The Dark Side of the Moon that got the most attention.
In the first part of the show we were treated to great versions of Time, Breathe (reprise) and Money and in the second half of the evening, In The Flesh delivered the rest of the songs from the classic LP.
So from The Great Gig in the Sky, which featured a fantastic vocal from Polly Anna Davies, through to concluding song Eclipse, we ended up getting pretty much all of this classic album.
Credit here, too, to sax player Ross Purves, whose occasional appearances during the evening were well received, but who rightly received a rapturous reception for his superb work during Us and Them.
The last official song of the night was Wish You Were Here, poignantly accompanied by stills of lost rock legends, including Pink Floyd's own original lead singer Syd Barrett and keyboard player Richard Wright.
The audience wasn't about to let the band go without more, though – particularly since we'd not even heard the Floyd's one and only number one hit – and it wasn't long before the unmistakable introduction to Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) took the enthusiasm in the hall and lifted it to another level.
Which made it seem strange that this was followed by Young Lust, a song from The Wall which I suspect a lot of people in the audience wouldn't have recognised.
And then we got the Floyd's last single before they split up, Not Now John. Another odd choice for this point in the show, I thought.
Both of these lesser-known songs were well received, though, so all was not lost.
But the evening's highlight was saved for the penultimate song, Comfortably Numb, which gave Steve Loar the chance to really show what he could do with a soaring climactic guitar solo that had pretty much every member of the audience on their feet.
One of the Floyd's rockiest tracks, Run Like Hell, ended the night, with lasers, lights and music combining to give us a rousing send-off.
In The Flesh may be a surrogate band, but from where this fan stands they are a worthy substitute.
- In The Flesh was brought to the island by Things To Do Guernsey
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