The Australian Pink Floyd Concert Review – Albany, NY

Some people might ask what, exactly, is the point of seeing a tribute band. The point of going to a concert is to see the band, right?

The fact is, I don’t know. Is the point of going to a concert to see the band live, or to hear songs you love played live by people who really know what they’re doing.

I never got into Pink Floyd in high school, which means I missed the Division Bell tour. Of course, the closest they got to Albany was the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Now, it would be an afterthought for me to take the 3 hour drive to Jersey but at 16, it would have been hard to convince the parentals. When I finally hopped on the Floyd-wagon in college (of course) it was well too late for me to have any prayer of seeing them live and, since David Gilmour seems happily retired, there’s less a chance I’m going to see them.

In all honesty, I wasn’t going to go to this show, but my 15-year-old cousin called me and asked me if I would take him. Since he’s at that tender age where he could either go the route of liking garbage music or good music, I feel it’s my duty to guide him in a direction that will annoy me the least.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show is the second tribute band I’ve seen. The first was Itchy Fish, a Pearl Jam cover band. They did justice to the Pearl Jam catalog. So, when I read up on this band, and found they were actually endorsed by Pink Floyd, to the point that they played at David Gilmour’s 50th birthday, I figured it was at least worth $20.

The show was promoted as the 30th anniversary performance of Dark Side of the Moon. In other news, Dark Side of the Moon is 30 years old. To prepare for the show, I listened to Pulse. Released in 1995, Pulse is the live recording of Dark Side of the Moon, made on the aforementioned Division Bell tour.

I have been a Pink Floyd fan for about 8 years now and, I have to say, if I didn’t actually know better”¦ these guys could have been the real thing. I have seen Roger Watters live, and I listened to Pulse probably two hours before this show, and these guys sounded as good as Watters did, and better than the Pulse CD.

From the opening heartbeat to the closing heartbeat, the band hit every note, every pitch, and every nuance of the Dark Side album. Solos were performed perfectly and the songs went off without a hitch. Admittedly, I was going into the concert not expecting Pink Floyd, but I was more than pleasantly surprised at how exact they were in every aspect of the album.

Following the performance of the Dark Side album was an intermission and then a second set of various parts of the Floyd Catalog, starting with Shine on You Crazy Diamond and Welcome to the Machine off the Wish You Were Here disc. Again, performed to perfection. Following was some cuts off Division Bell, about 25 minutes of instrumentals that I didn’t recognize, and finishing up with Another Brick in the Wall 2 and Run Like Hell. The Encore was Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb.

For once, I have to give thumbs up to the sound crew at the Pepsi Arena. For the first time ever seeing a concert there, the sound was actually good. Everything was crisp, clear, and miked the way it should be. I could hear the singer above the bass-line, which is my problem at the Pepsi 99% of the time. Tonight it was perfect.

What I didn’t like. 25 minutes worth of instrumentals. Maybe Floyd would do this at a concert, or maybe they wouldn’t. Personally, I’d rather this have been filled in with High Hopes, Hey You, Young Lust, or any of the other great Floyd songs out there. I don’t want to hear instrumentals in concert unless I’m going to see an orchestra. I want to hear songs.

Second problem, false advertising. Pictures of the concert make it look as though there is going to be a Floyd-esque laser show. There isn’t”¦ not even close to one. If you think you’re going to get one, you’ll be disappointed.

This concert was fantastic. If you don’t care about who’s playing the songs, and just appreciate the live performance, drop the twenty bones to see them. It’s a fantastic show and a great way to kill a couple hours if you’re a Floyd fan. If it would bother you that you’re spending money to see a glorified bar band, then don’t bother. Personally, I got past they fact they weren’t the real thing when I heard them play Time. They won me over.

But then again, I’m not picky. I just ask the music sound good. I don’t care who’s playing it. Besides, when I went to see a Pearl Jam tribute band, Pearl Jam toured by here the next year.

Who says history can’t repeat itself?