On Monday night, Brit Floyd played at Clowes Memorial Hall as part of their P-U-L-S-E 2013 World Tour, performing a three hour show featuring five full sides from albums throughout the Pink Floyd discography.
The best way I can describe the show? If instead of being a band Pink Floyd was a popular stage play, Brit Floyd is the most recent Broadway incarnation.
Performing note-by-note renditions of the songs against a visually stunning backdrop, they make it their goal to recreate the Pink Floyd live experience while at the same time providing something unique. It's an ambitious and probably very expensive production for a tribute band, utilizing among other set pieces, a 45+ foot wide semicircle projector screen (which, the stage manager explained, was one of many made to fit stages of different sizes.)
And in the spirit of Pink Floyd, they had lights. A whole bunch of lights.
The real spectacle, however, was the animated sequences projected above the performers. My personal favorite? Two flowers gyrating and engaging in some sort of bizarre act of foreplay, and eventually, copulating to the rhythm of "Empty Spaces" (it's a reproduction of a sequence in the film, and it's totally weird, and yes, it's amazing).
At one point, live actors even came out to perform scenes from the film version of The Wall: for example, during "Comfortably Numb" a likeness of the film's protagonist, Pink, sits catatonic in an easy chair at center stage as a doctor readies a syringe.
I do admit that as a sober reviewer, there were times when I felt a little restless; then again, viewing my sobriety from another perspective, I was probably just a few psychotropic substances away from having an out of body religious experience to Side 1 of The Dark Side Of The Moon.
My biggest criticism is that at times the band seemed overly mechanical or robotic, which is oddly appropriate considering the context. And if I had to play a three hour show perfectly in sync with an accompanying animation, I too would probably be guilty of a lack of visible enthusiasm.
The audience was made up mostly of middle-aged men and women (along with a few outnumbered college students) and as far as I could tell, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. That or just staring at the stage in a mix of awe and confusion. In this case, I took that as a positive sign.
The lesson of the night was twofold: 1. If you put a whole lot of money and thousands of hours of careful study and preparation into a show, the result is bound to be good; and 2. The Baby Boomers may be turning into old people, but they're going out kicking and screaming.
Who will be named this week's Best Pink Floyd Tribute Band? Stay tuned for Round 2 of the showdown, set to go down when Indiana-based Pink Droyd plays The Vogue on Friday night.