Brit Floyd review
Brit Floyd – Immersion World Tour 2017 – The Sage Gateshead
~a guest blog from John Gregson at www.bladeprinters.co.uk
It’s 1979 – I’m 13 years old and busy watching a grainy VHS recording of “Another Brick In The Wall”, taped off this weeks “Top of the Pops”. I’m supposed to be getting ready for School but so engrossed in “Pink Floyd’s” simple, stylish video and unusual lyrics, that I’ve totally lost track of time and am now going to be late, yet again. The video is spellbinding, nothing like this has ever appeared on TOTP before – I’m afraid to divert my eyes away from the flickering screen as I struggle with my tie, and what should be a sharp Windsor knot………
…….fast forward 38 years. I’m in the bar, at Sage Gateshead along with my other half, a bloggers note book and a pen for company. Tonight’s main event is the “Brit Floyd – Immersion World Tour” and I’ve settled, after sitting in several, for the Sage’s and maybe the worlds most un-comfiest bar stool. Large groups, couples and singles, are now arriving thick and fast, there’s quite a mix too. Scattered within the ever growing crowd are a few teenagers who’ve been dragged, literally kicking and screaming, to the Sage by their parents. The majority though are quite a lot older and judging by their faded “Dark Side Of The Moon” shirts, are original diehard Pink Floyd fans.
A “Five minute til show” warning, silences the racket, along with shouts from an old, academic, professor looking, type of guy who’s busy screaming obscenities at the youngsters in the crowd. I intervene…………… “Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone”, sorry, couldn’t resist. The chattering re-starts and noise levels rise again as queues form outside the many entrances for Sage One. It’s finally time to take our seats, press rewind and re-live part of my youth. It’s time to view tonight’s live spectacle – “Brit Floyd”.
The stage is cloaked in darkness, apart from an illuminated circle or disc in the centre of the backdrop, framed by an arc of spot lights. The circle changes every 10 – 20 seconds, starting with a bright moon and then morphing into the iconic album cover “Dark Side Of The Moon”. At exactly 8.00pm, the stage comes to life and is flooded with light, abruptly waking the audience up from their slumber. The room is then filled to the max with the cleanest, deepest bass I’ve ever heard, the roof, at this point was in serious danger of being blown right off – this was only the first number. The band took on the whole width of the stage – 7 male musicians, 3 female backing singers and various stage crew, its quite a production. With the intro finishing to loud, polite, clapping, the next song starts – almost immediately. At the back of the stage, the background patterns change in time with the music and with clever use of the disc, each track is introduced by either the album, year, or images pertaining to the lyrics or title. There didn’t seem to be any set order, with songs from “Dark Side Of The Moon” appearing after tracks from “Division Bell”. Not that anybody minded, the whole band were so polished you soon forgot it wasn’t Pink Floyd – there wasn’t a weak link to be found, anywhere. All the band members put a shift in and worked their socks off – the sax player also played percussion and when bored, took over on keyboards. The lead guitarist also played an acoustic guitar, sited permanently on a stand and the backing singers were immaculate – along with the shapes they were throwing on the stage. At one point the guitarist beckoned with the mic for the audience to sing along with him – the reaction wasn’t deafening. What made up for the poor crowd participation, was a laser light show even Freddie Mercury would’ve been proud of. Beams of different coloured lights strobed overhead and the whole room lit up in a riot of colour – you can tell a large amount of money had been thrown at the lighting and effects dept. After making a good dent in Pink Floyd’s back catalogue, it was time for a well deserved break.
A short bar trip later and we were back for the second half – which started just as fast as the first. With only enough time for a short round of applause between each song, it did seam a little rushed at times, which may have contributed to the slightly jaded atmosphere. I think the band were just trying to cover as many Pink Floyd tracks as possible – which they managed, note perfectly. My highlight of the whole evening was when they covered “Great Gig In The Sky”, originally sang by Clare Torry on “Dark Side Of The Moon”. Angela Cervantes, one of the talented backing vocalists, had a crack at it, if you haven’t heard it, search for it now! Her beautiful moans, groans and screams rose higher and higher and just when you thought she’d hit her limit – she went 2 or 3 octaves higher. It sent shivers down my spine, made my arm hairs stand up on end and gave me goose pimples – it was that good, in fact it was fantastic and brought the house down.
All too soon, at 11.00pm, and after a brief encore and standing ovation, the “Immersion Tour 2017” was over. I, along with the majority of the audience, thoroughly enjoyed watching this talented bunch of musicians. If you’ve seen Pink Floyd live, in the past, this will bring back some happy memories and remind you of the old times. If you haven’t seen Pink Floyd live, come see the next best thing, “Brit Floyd – Immersion World Tour“.
~a guest blog from John Gregson at www.bladeprinters.co.uk – BRIT FLOYD – courtesy of Nights Out In Newcastle.