It could be agreed that Pink Floyd are one of the biggest names in rock history. Formed in 1965 by singer and guitarist Syd Barrett and named after two of his favourite blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, they led the field in psychedelic rock, with their stints at the UFO Club in London in 1967. Sadly due to Syd’s mental fragility and dependency on drugs, he was callously thrown out of the band in 1968, and replaced by Dave Gilmour, who with bassist Roger Waters, created one of the most famous and enduring albums of all time; namely Dark Side of the Moon. Which since its release in 1973, has sold a staggering 45 million copies, and remained in the album charts for years.
Saturday night saw Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason bring his Saucer Full of Secrets tour to the Royal Concert Hall. Named after Floyd’s second album from 1968, the gig concentrated on music from those pre superstardom days, with songs like their debut single ‘Arnold Layne’; a tale about a man that steals women’s clothing from washing lines, and strangely enough not the A6211 from Gedling, ‘Bike’ and the preposterous ‘Vegetable Man’.
Barrett’s whimsical ditties were interspersed with the longer, prog sound that fans seem to prefer. Tunes such as ‘Intersteller Overdrive’, ‘Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun’ and ‘One of These Days’. Although not technically a Pink Floyd gig, the band, which included Guy Pratt on bass and vocals, guitarist Lee Harris, keyboard player Dom Bekon and Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp on guitar and vocals, did an impressive job of standing in for Waters, Gilmour and the late Richard Wright and of course Syd Barrett.
The Concert Hall was a sell out. What Pink Floyd fan could miss the opportunity of seeing and hearing the talents of the very unassuming Nick Mason? Who even at the age of 74 can still beat a good rhythm with the sticks. It may be the only time too, as the remaining members are unlikely to reform, due to the personal differences between Gilmour and Waters. Nick chatted with the audience about life with the Floyd, and when he first came to Nottingham with the band, and was on the bill with a guitarist called Jimi Hendrix. And how controlling Roger was, in that he wouldn’t let him play the gong, which of course he could now do. And did with relish. The set was a simple one, but with a fab groovy light show. Obviously not as wild as the Floyd’s stadium tours. No flying pigs tonight, but it was certainly colourful and very reminiscent of the times from the summer of love, when people turned on, tuned in and dropped out.