I’ve always envied those who saw some of “the greats” in concert when they were at large decades ago — you know who I’m talking about: The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. In a way, some of my longing to see these bands has recently been satiated when I saw the Australian Pink Floyd Show Aug. 5 at the Tower Theatre.
I’ve seen many cover bands in my life, but the Australian Pink Floyd Show, or “Aussie Floyd,” takes the cake as the greatest cover band I have ever seen. I’m a pretty huge Pink Floyd fan so I was on board the second I heard about the show, but I had no idea how much of a treat I was in for. Aussie Floyd prides themselves not only in their flawless recreation of Pink Floyd’s sound, but of their whole concert experience. Their on-stage setup mirrors Pink Floyd’s during many of their popular world tours. It was truly a spectacle.
To be fair, these guys are not exactly new to the game. Aussie Floyd has been putting on their show since they formed in 1988 in Adelaide, Australia. Even so, I couldn’t help being impressed and even amazed at their ability to play the songs note for note, exactly how they sound on the original albums. I think Pink Floyd is a band that is best experienced live, so it was a treat to hear most of my favorite Floyd songs live and done up properly.
I understand that it can be difficult to condense the works of such a prolific band down to the length of one concert, so naturally there were lots of stellar songs that had to be left on the cutting room floor (like the 23-minute “Echoes” off their 1971 album “Meddle”). Nevertheless, it’s hard to complain about the setlist they came up with. They took one or two of Pink Floyd’s best songs from each of their albums, showing how their music changed and matured throughout the years.
The songs I enjoyed hearing the most were those from the classic “The Dark Side of the Moon,” which is one of my favorite albums of all time (as cliche as it is). It was a real delight to hear them play the whole bottom side of the record, from “Us and Them” all the way through “Eclipse.” They also did an incredible rendition of “The Great Gig in the Sky,” featuring each of their four female vocalists.
The weakest parts of the set were the songs they played from the later, weaker Floyd albums, such as “The Final Cut,” “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell.” There are some who swear by their later cuts but in my mind, Pink Floyd’s last great album was “The Wall” in 1979.
It has to be said that the Australian Pink Floyd Show featured some of the most astounding visuals I’ve ever seen at a rock show. There were colored lights, synchronized lasers, animated projections on a screen and even a gigantic inflatable kangaroo during the epic “One of These Days” — their own Australian twist on Pink Floyd’s giant inflatable pigs that they used to have at shows during the “Animals” tour.
Aussie Floyd closed with an extended version of “Comfortably Numb,” which has two of the greatest guitar solos of all time. They came back on for an encore: another song from “The Wall,” “Run Like Hell.” Its disco beat and catchy guitar riff got everyone on their feet and dancing. It was a perfect way to close out the night. All in all, it was a wonderful experience and my only gripe was that they couldn’t play longer. The show could’ve easily gone on for several more hours before I would have gotten bored. If they ever come back to Philadelphia, come check it out and say hi, because I’ll definitely be back for more.