There are very few bands that could get away with just being quite simply, a cover band and make a career out of it. To pull this off for the long haul, the original band has to be kaput, with no chance for any kind of a reunion. The cover band has to know the songs top to bottom and be willing to play said songs night after night after night with the same enthusiasm as if they had created them from scratch. It might be a hard pill to swallow for a musician who may want to burst from the chrysalis. In other words, you have to love the band, the music, the fans, the pure power of a legend to be able to spend the better part of your life pretty much being someone else.
The Pink Floyd of yore is often spoken of in the hushed worshipful tones of martyrs. Roger Waters spilled his inner turmoiled guts out for The Wall while Syd Barrett laid bare his tortured psyche before the delusions of his mind took over and he ran for the land between four walls. How does one replicate the angst, the absolute surrealism, of Dark Side of the Moon? How do you capture the spirit of “Comfortably Numb” and the cynicism of “Money”? Do you become Waters or Barrett? Or can you simply turn them off once you have walked off a stage, like an actor in a Broadway play.
Walking into the ambiance of a Pink Floyd Experience show creates a lot of hope. The crowd is stirring about in anticipation of moody prozac moment illusions, of lights and lasers flashing in hypnotic rhythms, of a pink curly-tailed pig flying above their heads. All these factors may be enough to make them believe that this IS Pink Floyd and not someone pretending to BE Pink Floyd. You may kid yourself that these guys are the real deal but reality will come and you will eventually realize you’re just at a glorified light show like the ones you tripped at back in college.
However, that said, give these guys their due. It is not easy being Pink Floyd. David Gilmour is a guitarist of unequaled expertise and trying to duplicate intricate machinations with the fingers is not to be taken lightly. You have to feel the music to be the music. And the Pink Floyd Experience has done a spritely job of weaving you into its British hallucinogenic lair … for a few hours, at least.
This PFE tour is focusing on the 1977 album Animals. With only five songs, three of which swirl over ten minutes each, some in the crowd were getting a bit anxious for something they knew much better, like “Another Brick In The Wall” and “Money”, which would eventually come to roaring cheers. But if Pink Floyd was anything, they were cerebral. Ditties were not necessarily in their quadrant. Their music flowed with an inertia of almost biblical proportions. You sit and dream, not bang your head and scream.
This band, all talented musicians, created a head trip world by starting out with the aforementioned album: “Pigs On The Wing 1”, “Dogs”, “Pigs”, “Sheep” and “Pigs On The Wing 2”. Then started vividly springing to life with such classics as “Learning To Fly”, “Have A Cigar”, “Run Like Hell” and “Money”. Those in attendance loved it. And at the end when the proverbial piggie took flight high above their heads, you would have thought that a great Greek God was in their presence.
I will say this much: we have forgotten what its like to be intellectually stimulated by music. Bands in the vein of Pink Floyd have become virtually obsolete in this maddening world of Gaga pop. We want to be spoon fed fluff that causes our hips to sway and our minds to turn off. Thus going to see something like this show is almost like attending a class at Oxford where the professor spellbinds you with knowledge. We have to keep bands like Pink Floyd alive. They are our stem cells. And so while Pink Floyd is no more, the Pink Floyd Experience is here to fill that void … for the time being.