On Monday night I attended a performance of Brit Floyd — the self-described world’s best Pink Floyd tribute show. My dad and I matched the audience: many longtime Floyd fans, and some whom were raised by them. Space and science-fiction videos played on the circular screen as the Budweiser Gardens’ RBC Theatre filled to near its useful capacity.
The show began strong with Learning to Fly, setting the stage for the well-rehearsed performance ahead. The first half also included renditions of High Hopes, Us and Them, Pigs (complete with giant inflatable pig) and Shine on You Crazy Diamond, paying tribute to the late Syd Barrett.
The second half started with a compelling adaptation of the 1971 psychedelic epic Echos. The more “out there” parts of the song were held together by trippy lighting effects and colourful fractals, deepening the experience. Always a fan favourite, the ringing clock chimes of Time launched the band into a performance of Dark Side of the Moon through to the end of an extended version of Money. The melodic vocal solo from Great Gig in the Sky was handled by Ola Bienkowska with soul and grace.
The show properly ended with a visually-stimulating performance of Comfortably Numb. A mirror ball lit from all sides filled the room with thousands of points of shining light. After a standing ovation, the crowd sung along to an encore of Wish You Were Here, and grooved to an energetic close on Run Like Hell.
Pink Floyd shows are known for their visual spectacular, and Brit Floyd stays true to form. The technical team made great use of lasers, video projectors, strobes, and a huge array of moving lights to create a vivid, intensely colourful sensory experience.
The sound was mostly well balanced, but suffered from bass-heaviness throughout. While the “flapping pant-legs” effect was cool, it left the overall mix muddy and forced drum and guitar attacks to be too heavy to compensate.
In all, the Brit Floyd show is a well-orchestrated, well-rehearsed, and thoroughly entertaining presentation of Pink Floyd’s musical repertoire. The musicians are eminently skilled, and the entire stage show is an unforgettable experience.
While I’ll likely never get the opportunity to see Pink Floyd in concert — in many ways this was just as good.