2005-04-17 : Tongue tied and twisted, just an Earth-bound misfit, I.
Wow, what a couple of weeks. It's almost like writing an apology note for not doing your homework, really. I haven't had time for posting things to my site, because I've been too caught up in the maelstrom of human emotion that has transpired – in the last week or so I've had your textbook happiness and sadness, some spine-tinglingness, some loss, some frustration, a little bit of heartbreak, a touch of nostalgia, a couple of genuinely nice moments, the odd surprise, and more than a few giggles.
Probably the most amazing and sheareable moment was last night when I went to see The Australian Pink Floyd Show.
It got off to a less than superlative start, because the map I had printed out to tell me how to get there didn't have any tube station names printed on it, so I sort of had to guess where I was going. Great exercise though. I suspect I am the only person in history to have ever had trouble finding the Royal Albert Hall. I finally found my way to my seat about 45 mins after the gig had commenced, and this turned out to be 5 mins before interval… so plenty of time to settle in. It wound up OK, because the first bit was more of a crowd warmup than anything – the rest of the gig was amazing.
I find that with a cover band there's always a sense of inferiority, because even if the band do the original material justice, it's still just a facsimile of something truly great, and I guess I still felt that in this case. However Pink Floyd are one of my all time favourite bands, and truly an arena spectacle, and these guys made a heroic effort at emulating that – rising above being “just” a cover band.
The building was completely rammed – it was amazing… the venue reportedly has a capacity of 8,000, and I didn't actually count, but I couldn't see an empty seat in the place.
I suppose the best bit – for me, anyway – was when the band played Time, from Dark Side of the Moon. It totally took me by surprise, but to have a band play one of my favourite tracks from one of my favourite albums, with not only an awesome and authentic sound but also a completely immersing and engaging stage visual – I found myself barely able to breathe, it was just that good. They followed Time with (as is only proper) The Great Gig in the Sky, and the place went absolutely batshit. What a rush.
What was sort of interesting was the way that the band tried to stamp themselves on the work, primarily through visual elements of the show. Being a tribute band, they strove to give the best and most authentic performance of the music possible (and a top job they did too), but on their projection screen they used lots of Floydian imagery, sometimes tweaked with “Aussie” touches, such as the inclusion of kangaroos. During “One of These Days” the centre stage was suddenly taken by a giant pink inflatable kangaroo (reminiscent of the pink inflatable pigs that Floyd used to employ), which boogied along with the music and I had trouble deciding whether it was a nice touch or cheesy Australian crap.
The night finished with Run Like Hell and Wish You Were Here, and possibly the biggest mirrorball I have ever seen. The entire crowd was on its feet, and the feeling in the room was just incredible. I genuinely think that if the band had played on based purely on audience response then the gig could possibly still be going.
About the only other things to mention about the night were that on the way back to the tube station there was a massive crowd of people walking back, so we were pretty much stuck in that arrangement all the way back. This would have been fine, except that some pillock kept whistling a passage from The War of the Worlds (“the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, they said”), and I haven't been able to get it out of my head ever since.
Finally, on the tube on the way home, the totally amazing happened and I actually randomly ran into someone I *knew* ! This is no big deal in Adelaide, but in London it's virtually unheardof. By some sheer fluke of coincidental stuff, I ran into Annie and Stu on the Northern Line. I don't know, it doesn't sound all that weird, but that just never happens.