A deeply psychedelic experience which did Pink Floyd justice and then some
Sunday 15th October at Liverpool Echo Arena
Celebrating Pink Floyd live since 1988 and selling over 4 million tickets across 35 countries, The Australian Pink Floyd have created a legacy in their own right. Tribute bands are often mocked as a poor attempt to recreate the real-life magic of the world’s greatest, but the Aussies remain a spectacle of their own. They so perfectly capture the essence, the politics, the colours, the immense instrumentals of such an influential band; it’s an honour to still be able to experience the awe.
An eclectic set list cohesively bound the show together, undulating between decades, styles, and albums, with the flow of an extremely well-oiled machine. They exquisitely encapsulated that imperative listening etiquette with Pink Floyd; their albums are a narrative, and the band successfully delivered, telling their own story, with a sentimental reference to Syd Barrett during ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’.
‘Breathe’ set the bar for an extravagant show, back up singers Lara Smiles, Emily Lynn, and Lorelei McBroom astonishing with their vocals on their solos, and front man Chris Barnes commanding attention with his hugely powerful presence as he stepped forward to the microphone and unleashed David Gilmour, with his own added flare. What was effective was there was no attempt to physically imitate the band, just a wholeness to the respect they paid Pink Floyd.
Visually stimulating moments came during the use of giant blow-up puppets, which hovered ominously above the crowd, the teacher, kangaroo and pig all creating spectacles at relevant moments in the tribute. Montages of bumbling political figures, provocative Banksy works, and Pink Floyd’s own visuals elevated the show to an overwhelming aesthetic level. If the music wasn’t spot on individually, the theatricality of Pink Floyd’s legacy was made to be felt.
A stand-out moment, besides every monumental track, was ironically a stripped back ‘Wish You Were Here’, which needed the assistance of just a solitary acoustic guitar, but which filled the arena with a tangible nostalgia.
Lasers imitating the movement of guitar strings was strikingly poignant as that familiar five note sequence signalled the start of the unmistakable Floyd track. With the spotlight centred on guitarist and vocalist David Domminney Fowler, it was one of those pin-drop moments which inevitably induce a tear — or two.
The competence and fluidity with which The Australian Pink Floyd capture the wizardry of the real thing is astounding. They are all incredible musicians in their own right, and remind us that recapturing such a niche art form is not an easy thing to do, but when done successfully, can evoke the same power that their predecessors held in decades gone by.