Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets Review – Brisbane 19 September 2023.
As somebody who saw Syd Barrett out front of Pink Floyd many times it was with some degree of trepidation that I attended this show. Questions kept buzzing around in my head “will they be as good as the original Pink Floyd”, “am I going to hate this”, is this a tribute band”? and so on.
I brought my son along with me for his first real Pink Floyd experience, I mean after all his middle name is Floyd, so I have to honour that name right?
We took our seats. Not the best I have ever had but not too bad. We sat about 20 rows back, slightly off to the side on the floor. As show time approached I looked around and saw that most (I estimate over 90%) of the seats were taken.
There was a great expectation in the crowd and a buzz was going around as the band took to the stage. They kicked off with One Of These Days that went down very well and the crowd were getting into it. Nick then introduced the band who lurched into Arnold Layne, which was also very well received. I must admit it took me a few minutes to get used to the vocals as they seemed to be pitched at a higher level than the original band, however I soon got into the groove of it.
Next came Fearless. Somehow the atmosphere of the audience changed at this point as I could tell a number of people were just not getting it, even though ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ reverberated through the concert hall! The crowd mood seemed to darken somewhat as the band struck up Obscure By Clouds and followed on with When You’re In. However it picked up a bit for Candy & A Current bun, but then dropped again when they performed Vegetable Man. But then came another swing as a beautiful version of If was performed.
I have to say at this point that the band were on point. I was loving it all but I could see that some folks were wondering what was going on. I think some were expecting Dark Side Of The Moon would be played! But then came Atom Heart Mother and the crowd started to wake up a bit. They finished this off with If (reprise) and Remember A Day (which I thought was lovely.)
And then came something different. It was Dom Beken’s birthday and out came the birthday cake (A big bunch of sparklers) and the crowd and band sang happy birthday to him. (He actually looked a little embarrassed.) Stage banter was excellent!
Next was one of my favourites from that era. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun started and I was in raptures! It wasn’t like the
original, as with just about all songs, the Saucers put their own interpretation on it and it was good, very good!
Time for a break as set 1 was done. We went outside to catch up with a number of old friends. All were hard core Pink Floyd fans and all felt as I did. Brilliant but different.
We took our seats and settled in again as the band took to the stage. I’m not sure what it was but the crowd had lifted and seemed in a better mood. (Perhaps it was what they had been smoking, I dunno!) Astronomy Domine started up and I was in raptures. This was my music and I LOVED it. They followed on with The Nile Song, Burning Bridges, Childhoods End and Lucifer Sam. Some of these songs I hadn’t heard for over 50 years and it was a wonderful trip down memory lane.
BUT THEN………….Oh my goodness, oh what a treat, oh heaven is here. PING (Yep, Floyd fans know what I’m talking about.) YES, the most amazing version of Echoes I have ever heard. Easily on par with the original but different. If Echoes was a cake I would have eaten every morsel, and then licked the plate. It was SENSATIONAL. Did you hear me? It was SENSATIONAL. I would have paid just to hear that song alone, absolutely BRILLIANT! And didn’t that lift the audience! A standing ovation and very very well deserved.
The crowd were on their feet shouting for more and more they got! (Not the movie soundtrack!) The band came back on and treated us all to See Emily Play, A Saucerful Of Secrets and finished with Bike. All just so good.
In conclusion. If you are not a Floyd fan this show would probably not be your cup of tea. If you are a Floyd fan, what are you doing sitting
there reading this? Do some research and find out if they will be playing somewhere, anywhere and JUST GO. You won’t be sorry.
Just to add. Each member of the band played their socks off. They performed as a very tight unit and there were very few bum notes all
night. I enjoyed this show immensely and wish I had the chance to see it again.
At one point, Nick quipped about the BBC banning Arnold Layne because of the lyrics. He also said that they probably would have banned Candy & A Currant Bun if they had known the original lyrics were Let’s Roll Another One!
Guy also revealed that the first Pink Floyd song he heard was The Nile Song which gave him the impression that Pink Floyd were a heavy metal band!
Back Stage After Party
I have known Guy Pratt for getting on 20 years. I think he wouldn’t mind me saying he is a good friend. Most reading this will know that Guy first started playing with Pink Floyd in 1987, taking over the role of bass guitarist after Roger Waters left the band. For a person who has reached unbelievable heights in his music career, he is as down to earth as anybody can be. A true gentleman who has played with Floyd and NOT let it go to his head.
So, Guy invited me to the after show party and did I have a ball. I will let the pictures do most of the talking but I bet there are a few of you
who want to know what Nick & I discussed. It was about a 20 minute conversation. He knew me (Geeze my ego just blew right up) and he knew this site.
We started chatting about UFO (and Middle Earth, another 60’s venue). Nick told me the Floyd liked to play UFO because they couldn’t
get gigs anywhere else! (That was news to me). I told him about the time I helped carry his gear out of UFO one early morning-
I joked that he never paid me for it. He shot back “I wondered where that snare drum went to”. A lot of the conversation was of a general nature and it was like talking to somebody I had known all my life. (and I have vicariously.) One bit of news for our friends in the US. There are NO immediate plans to take the show back to the USA but it could happen at a later time as long as certain things fall into place.
And then I looked around the room. Here I was, just another Pink Floyd fan, in the room with members of bands like Pink Floyd, Spandau Ballet, The Blockheads and 10cc! What a trip!
Nick Mason – Thanks, you can still thump those skins.
Lee Harris – Plays a killer axe.
Guy Pratt – All rounder. Has a great voice which is underused.
Gary Kemp – ‘went from a new romantic to a prog rock god’ according to Nick!
Dom Beken – Man. this guy knows keyboards!
All good & nice people. Love you all.
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is a convention centre in Brisbane, Australia. It is located in South Brisbane and occupies most of the block formed by Grey Street, Melbourne Street, Merivale Street, and Glenelg Street. The centre is owned by South Bank Corporation and managed by ASM Global.
Review and photos by AFG Founder Col Turner
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