A rather rhetorical question, but are there any Pink Floyd fans out there? Yes? Well, seeing that the chances of ever seeing a reunion of this fabulous band are rather remote, the next best thing would be to take in the Australian version of Pink Floyd!
This phenomenal tribute band, aka “The Australian Pink Floyd Show” which has already sold 3 million tickets worldwide, touched down in the small Italian town of Pordenone. The production team is not only packed with Pink Floyd veterans, a new management team but also Floyd’s former agent, Neil Warnock.
The sold-out concert in Pordenone also included—a first for this correspondent—quadraphonic sound and 3D technology during the second part of the show (the band gave out 3D glasses to spectators. Quite the experience, I must say)! The “Daily Telegraph” has described them as being at “the top of the tribute band tree”. The journey itself has been a long one and began in 1988 in Adelaide, Australia. Lee Smith, a local guitarist who was obsessed with Pink Floyd, placed an ad in a music store. It read: “Vocalist and Keyboardist required for band. Professional attitude expected. We only play Pink Floyd”. Joined by other members, the group started to create the sounds necessary to perform Pink Floyd correctly, and this became, and still is, one of the most important aspects of the band.
The audience for the band was beginning to soon grow - not just in the UK but also in Europe - but in September 94 came a show that would change everything. A fellow by the name of David Gilmour, who knew a little something about the real McCoys, visited the band backstage after a show in Croydon - pointing out that he’d never had the chance to see Pink Floyd perform (!!). He was very complimentary, posed for pictures and even asked the band to perform at Pink Floyd’s party to mark the end of their ‘Division Bell’ tour. The band found themselves asked to perform a handpicked set at an event marking Gilmour’s 50th birthday. Not a bad “baptism by fire” for the Aussies!
In 1997, the band performed a show at Battersea Power Station - the iconic building known to all Pink Floyd fans as the 'Animals' album cover, and the scene of the famous floating pig. The Australian Pink Floyd Show’s similar image of a floating kangaroo had been used to promote the band since the early days and was also used during the Pordenone show, including a floating pig too!
The current group includes ten members and also sound engineer Colin Norfield who has four decades of experience. Colin also happened to be the sound engineer on Pink Floyd’s final world tour, the “Division Bell”. He also worked on Gilmour’s “On an Island” tour which also featured appearances from other original Pink Floyd members. Visual effects expert John Attard who has also worked on such films as “Gladiator” and “Harry Potter” has been called on to take care of the 3D part of the show, including also a spectacular laser show.
The two-and-a-half hour show in Pordenone, which was brought to us thanks to the folks at Azalea Promotion, included a set-list of 19 songs. The band opened up with a tribute to the late, great Syd Barrett who died in 2006 (your correspondent was sitting in Milan’s San Siro stadium waiting for the Rolling Stones to perform when news came through of his death). A touching moment happened when at the end of the song a picture of Syd flashed across the screen. Other Floyd “golden oldies” also included “Welcome To The Machine”, “Learning To Fly”, “Money”, “Eugene”, “Wish You Were Here”, “Comfortably Numb and the grand finale, “Run Like Hell”. Watching this extraordinary concert one couldn’t help but also think of two other great Floyd musicians: keyboard player Richard Wright who passed away just a few years ago due to cancer and Roger Waters who at the time of writing is touring the world with his "Brick In The Wall” tour.
Once you do see this great Australian tribute band, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is to run home and pop into your DVD player a good Pink Floyd show, the real ones that is You’d then close your eyes and no doubt try to imagine seeing once again up on stage Mason, Gilmour, Wright, Waters and Barrett! Now THAT would be some concert, eh?