The Enmore Theatre, 14th April 2015
Having seen Pink Floyd perform live in concert three times in my lifetime, it was with some reservation that I ventured out to see The Pink Floyd Experience perform at the Enmore Theatre in 2013 when they performed Dark side of the Moon in its entirety. Further to this show, they have recreated The Wall as a stunning show and now in 2015 present Wish you were here, 40 years later, in its entirety.
The sold out sign before tonight’s performance is as much a testament to this tribute band as Pink Floyd themselves. With the death of Richard Wright and Sid Barrett and the likelihood of Roger Waters, David Gilmour & Nick Mason not ever again touring together, The Pink Floyd Experience allows us devotees to the Floyd to relive, recreate and enjoy it all again and for us to share this moment with our wives, girlfriends or partners that may have never seen Pink Floyd live in concert.
I am happy to say that on each occasion, I have been blown away, spellbound and in awe of the effort and attention to detail that has gone into each one of these 3 productions and a production it most definitely is. The ledger has been squared now at 3-3 as I have now seen 3 different incarnations of The Pink Floyd Experience performances.
Tonight’s show is all about the celebration of the 1975 album “Wish you were here”. Released 40 years ago and one of the most popular Pink Floyd albums, any show that offers to play this record in its entirety is going to be well patronized. The Pink Floyd Experience are a NZ based band and are one of a number of Pink Floyd tribute bands that play the live circuit. What sets this band apart from the others is the sheer quality of their performance and a reproduction of lighting and sound that pleases Pink Floyd purists. You have got to be brave to tackle the likes of Pink Floyd and audiences are not going to turn up if the quality is not there. Sacrilege is a word that comes to mind if this is not done well.
For me, the litmus test is when I close my eyes and listen to Darren Whittaker play his guitar. David Gilmour is one of my all-time favorite musicians and his signature sound and style would be hard to emulate but Darren just nails it. Darren is supremely confident and talented and must have taken years to get to the level at which he now commands attention. The bending of the notes, his timing and touch is sublime and I comment to my wife that Darren is spot on in every department. Accompanying Darren on guitar is Martin Mitchell who is also a terrific musician. Some of the lead breaks throughout the night are played by Martin with Darren playing a supporting role. They are both tremendous
For many of us that have lived our whole lives listening to Pink Floyd, this gift presented by The Pink Floyd Experience is heaven sent and the show has been split into Act 1 and Act 2 providing a show of nearly 2 and a half hours of Pink Floyd music. Just the chance to hear this music performed live again is a real thrill.
Act 1 commences with 'Echoes from Meddle' and it is explained that Act 2 will be Wish you were here in its entirety so we get to hear plenty of other songs from The Wall and Dark side of the Moon in Act 1. Tracks from Momentary Lapse of Reason also make an appearance and a great rendition of “Sorrow” is the highlight for me from Act 1
The lighting show is first class with laser lights, mirror balls and a busy stage with drum kits, keyboards, guitars, masks and microphones aplenty. Pink Floyd was all about the visual spectacular and this band don’t disappoint in this department either. The images on the backing video screens together with the lights and lasers & shining mirror balls make a tremendous visual and the sound that is accompanying this spectacle is right on the money.
After the break, Wish you were here gets played from start to finish which is reason enough to come and see this show, but some great choices “Dogs" from the 1977 album Animals, “Empty Spaces” from The Wall, and “Learning to fly” from Momentary Lapse of Reason also make an appearance. No Pink Floyd show would be complete without “Money” from Dark side of the Moon or “Comfortably Numb” from The Wall so these tunes are played to perfection in this set.
Roger Rangitaawa is tremendous on the saxophone and steals the show a couple of times when he makes an appearance. All the musicians and the 2 lead vocalists are superb and as I look around the Enmore Theatre, there are smiles aplenty and an appreciative crowd gives a raucous cheer and applause as the show concludes with 'Comfortably Numb' two and a half hours later.
My personal favorite Pink Floyd album is the 1977 classic Animals so if the Pink Floyd Experience would like to celebrate 40 years of this awesome album in 2017, I will be the 1st person to buy a ticket. A big thank you must go to the Pink Floyd Experience for having a go. An even bigger thank you for doing it well !
see more photos here