It’s 50 years since Pink Floyd released their iconic Dark Side of the Moon album, and the UK Pink Floyd Experience are leading the festivities in style.
The current show covers Floyd’s music from across the decades, so there is something for everyone. The band play the most well-known tracks from the legendary Dark Side of the Moon album too. Whilst it would have been a fitting 50th anniversary celebration to hear UKPFE perform the album in its entirety, their less is more approach was stunning and no less engaging.
After a homage to Syd Barrett from Floyd’s early days as progs wunderkind, the band move onto material that helped cement them as genre behemoths: Shine on You Crazy Diamond and the cinematic Great Gig in the Sky. This instrumental track was given credence by Clare Torrey’s outstanding vocal performance on the record, but tonight Emma Street takes on the vocal acrobatics with equal heart-wrenching emotion while adding her own flavour to the track. Her terrific performance gets a well-deserved standing ovation for her performance. Fellow backing singer and saxophonist Joanne Paterson-Neild, is an equal asset to this multitalented band.
Other Floyd tribute acts may be performing at larger venues with a bigger band set up, but this perfectly formed team of seven super-talented musicians and their tech team make a formidable force. UKPFE not only capture the live experience of watching a Pink Floyd show, they create a communal listening experience too, that really adds to the evening. Being able to see a band in a smaller venue adds to the atmosphere of live music that just gets drowned out in a larger environment regardless of who’s on stage. This is where UKPFE hit things just right. If you do want to see them in a larger arena, they are doing stately home shows next year.
Lead singer and guitarist Dave Andrews bears a passing resemblance physically to a 70s era David Gilmore, but he also manages to capture his vocal too on many tracks. While vocally emulating Floyd is a difficult and perhaps unnecessary task, at times it helps with the full experience of the evening. But musically the whole band are superb throughout the night.
Some of the songs in the set are also not an obvious choice, Dogs of War, Young Lust, are highlights alongside classic tracks in a show that really aims to bring classic Pink Floyd tracks alongside deeper album cuts to avoid a simply ‘best of’ setlist. In the second half featured one of Floyd’s epic tracks, Echoes played in its entirety and needed with some of The Wall’s most defining tracks…can you guess which ones?
Covers bands sometimes get a bit of stick, but this show is all about creating an experience. Fifty years on from Pink Floyd’s seminal work, it’s evident from the ages ranges in the Playhouse that Floyd’s music and legacy are still far-reaching. Thanks to bands like UKPFE, long may that continue, It's a fantastic night out and the perfect way to experience Pink Floyd's music