I’m not going to lie—I had my doubts about this band. It's no easy feat to take on the legendary lights, music, and theatrics of the band that made history with their intensely conceptual and psychedelic multimedia events.
Pioneers of the live music experience, Pink Floyd set the bar sky high for this group of six guys from all over the continent. I must say, the venue, Charleston Music Hall, was definitely a smart choice for the type of atmosphere the band would have created. Floyd shows were always intimate and dramatic, so the theatre setting stood out to me immediately on Monday, March 2. The Pink Floyd Experience played four complete album sides while incorporating some brand-new live material. Keeping the audience wide-eyed and glued to their seats, these guys channeled the true energy of the artists they have idolized since youth. With a killer solo by saxophone player Jesse Molloy, the jazz aspect was on par. We were spoiled with additional solos by bassist Gus Beaudoin and guitarist Randy McStine, keeping us on our toes. Not to mention the awesome keyboardist and the Canadian-born drummer Bob Sale. Bandleader Tom Quinn, a self-declared “relentless crusader for all things 'Pink Floyd,' ” definitely displayed his dedication to his deeply rooted musical influences.
With suspenseful buildups and a killer light show to accompany some throwback classics, fans couldn’t stop air drumming and head bobbing on Monday night at the Music Hall. Tickets read “no standing,” but I just had to get up and let the groove out at times. I mean, can you blame me? They played some of my favorite songs off the 1975 album Wish You Were Here, including “Have A Cigar” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” which was originally a nine-part composition written as a tribute for former band member Syd Barrett, who left the band in the late '60s due to deteriorating mental health. In fact, that entire album is dedicated to him, and knowing that will cause you to listen to it and interpret the lyrics in a much different way. They covered the 1979 concept album The Wall, playing recognizable hits like “Hey You,” “Comfortably Numb,” and “In The Flesh?” Concept albums, rock albums that feature a cycle of songs that deal with a particular theme or concept, were made popular by bands like the Beatles with their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and, yours truly, Pink Floyd. The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) is another one of Floyd's concept albums. The Pink Floyd Experience played songs from that album (my personal favorite to listen to the whole way through), including “Us and Them,” “Money,” and “Brain Damage.” I have to mention the fourth album they covered, the much-anticipated album Animals (1977). They played several songs like “Sheep” and “Pigs On The Wing.” Meanwhile, there were some crazy visuals up on the screen, which was definitely a statement to the show’s grandiose production value. Needless to say, the show was awesome, except for the lack of the 12-foot-long pig blimp that usually flies around the venue over the audience at the end of their shows in final homage to the band. Perhaps the Music Hall simply wasn't big enough, but that would've been so cool.
For their final song, the band did a sing-along with the audience to the song we had all been waiting for all night, the song we had all connected to as rebellious teenagers: “Another Brick In The Wall.” The song tells the story of Pink getting insulted by a teacher, and he dreams that the kids in his school begin to protest against their abusive and condescending teachers. It talks about how he had a personal wall around him to block him off from the rest of the world. Therefore, in the metaphor, the teachers were just another brick in the wall. The Pink Floyd Experience is definitely doing justice to the psychedelic English rock band that sold more than 250 million records worldwide and built a music empire. Original band members Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, and Roger Waters would be very proud. Go check it out. This is THE show for the ultimate Pink Floyd fan.
Do yourself a favor and listen to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" the entire way through (SoundCloud link above).
All photos are credited to Big Funk Photography