When you hear the term ‘tribute act’, you would be forgiven for thinking of a low-rent facsimile of your favourite band, performing sub-par versions of some of your favourite songs in smaller venues for a small fee or perhaps even for free. So it was with some trepidation that I attended Plymouth Pavillions on Saturday to see the Plymouth leg of Brit Floyd’s ‘Space and Time’ world tour celebrating 50 years of Pink Floyd.
Upon entering the all-seated arena I was immediately surprised by the sheer size of the stage and the enormous arched projection back-drop with its laser projection system and impressive light show. The arena slowly filled until the band, consisting six talented multi instrumentalists assisted by three pitch perfect backing singers hit the stage at precisely 8PM. Damian Darlington, previously a member of the perhaps better-known Australian Pink Floyd’ is the arranger and often front man of this talented bunch of musicians.
Many familiar songs were played in no particular order and ranged from 1967’s ‘See Emily Play’ to last year’s ‘Louder Than Words’. The random running-order kept the gig varied and the crowd interested for the entire length of the performance. Each song was complemented by an impressive laser light show and atmospheric projected visuals which ranged from colourful psychedelia, images of the band, animation and more modern space scenes.
The show opened brilliantly with a perfect rendition of ‘Breathe’ from 1973’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon which was immediately followed by ‘Time’ with the more esoteric and atmospheric sounds-effects re-created brilliantly via backing track. For this reviewer the highlight of the entire show was a staggering rendition of ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ with a perfect female vocal performance. A fellow gig-goer described the song as making the hairs stand up on the back of her neck and suggested she was close to tears it was such a moving a performance.
Trawling the very earliest part of Pink Floyd’s back catalogue provided a counterpoint of the show with the two songs from the late sixties; ‘See Emily Play’ and ‘Heart of the Sun’ both felt slightly incongruous given the more familiar psychedelic, rocky or lengthy epics of their later years.
After a twenty minute interval more songs from The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall kept the crowd increasingly enraptured with ‘Money’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and finally ‘Comfortably Numb’ being a particular highlight of the second half of the show.
A half-dozen song encore was demanded by the frenzied crowd, leaving the show on a high some three hours after its start. If you’re a Pink Floyd fan I cannot recommend this show highly enough. The sheer spectacle of lasers, expert lighting and atmospheric projected visuals coupled with excellent musicianship and perfect backing vocals makes the show an absolute treat. As a fan you may never get the chance to see Pink Floyd play live ever again. This is undoubtedly the next best thing and comes highly recommended.