Last night I went with Oliver to see The Australian Pink Floyd perform here in Hannover. To document that experience, I’ll just post the e-mail I sent my fellow Floyd fanatic Corey about the show:
They most definitely put on a top-knotch Pink Floyd show that leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. It was almost PULSE-quality in terms of music and visuals, the only difference being different band members. They had a Mr. Screen showing Floyd-esque productions (not the exact same videos as PULSE but reminiscent of them, like two kids running through a cornfield during the opening to Shine On), three fantastic backgrounds singers, smoke and lasers and all the works. The music was nice and LOUD and sounded utterly fantastic.
The only problem I had were the seats. We were in the second row of the back area, not the very front, and the people right in front of us were the biggest, tallest motherfuckers in the whole theater. And because ours was just the second row, the seats weren’t raised at all, nor were they staggered so you were sitting between them. This guy’s giant balding head was towering over me throughout the entire show, directly in view of the screen, and the only way I could see it was to lean right into Oliver and crick my neck a bit. Most of the time I just had to resign myself to only seeing the left and right side of the stage while the center was blocked by a giant head. It didn’t ruin the show but it definitely sucked a great deal of potential enjoyment out of it, with my mind frequently wandering away from the music and just thinking about how I wanted to chop this guy’s motherfucking head off because he insisted on sitting as straight and upright as possible throughout almost the whole show.
The crowd in general wasn’t too great. Most people weren’t that into it, although there was a woman sitting a few rows ahead of us who must have been drunk or high or something because she was dancing in her seat like crazy the whole time, even throwing her hands up in the air and pointing at the stage and all kinds of gestures that indicated she was on a whole trip of her own. Definitely appreciated her presence. The fucking guy in front of me didn’t seem to get into any of it except for "Learning to Fly".
So here’s the set-list:
- Shine on You Crazy Diamond
- Welcome to the Machine
- Coming Back to Life
- Arnold Layne
- Learning to Fly
- On the Run
- Great Gig in the Sky
- What Do You Want From Me?
- Careful With That Axe, Eugene
- Another Brick in the Wall
- Wish You Were Here
- One of These Days
- Comfortably Numb
- Run Like Hell
A few songs I could have done without, but a lot of really pleasant surprises, especially "Sorrow" which was just utterly fan-fucking-fricking-fracking unbelievable to see live, especially with the exact same laser projection you see in PULSE at the very beginning and end of the song. I was also really happy to hear Dogs, although I wish I’d appreciated it more while it was happening.
The highlight for me was Great Gig in the Sky, which I really hadn’t been expecting but was overjoyed when I heard those opening chords. Luckily I had a clear enough view of the singer so I could focus on her the whole time and she was AMAZING. That was one of only two points in the show that I felt like I was on the verge of tears, the other being Comfortably Numb.
They did an incredibly kick-ass version of Careful With That Axe, Eugene which was probably the best version I’ve ever heard because of the sound quality. That and One of These Days were very pleasant surprises.
There were a few disappointments like their selections from The Division Bell. It was cool to hear Coming Back to Life but the lead vocals weren’t too wonderful so it wasn’t the same without Dave’s voice. And I could have easily done without What Do You Want From Me? and would have much rather heard High Hopes, but what can you do? Also I don’t really give a crap about Learning to Fly and would have much rather heard On the Turning Away, but again what can you do? Also I think Arnold Layne is overrated and would have liked to have heard any of the other early singles like Apples and Oranges or Point Me at the Sky or even See Emily Play, but what can you do?
But I mentioned vocals, which they divided up among the band members. They had one guy just to sing, and he wasn’t all that great, but the guitarists would sing on some numbers and the guy who sang on Sorrow and Dogs sounded almost exactly like David Gilmour so that was a really nice touch. If you closed your eyes you could really believe it was him.
For Another Brick in the Wall, they had what felt like an extremely extended jam with every instrument getting its part, so that was really enjoyable. They also had a pretty good animation on Mr. Screen which was like a computer-animated version of what you see in the film, with the teacher getting flogged by his wife and the kids all being sent down the assembly-line to be crushed into worms. They gave you glasses in the beginning and most of the second-half animations were 3-D so that was pretty cool as well, except that I had to lean so far into Oliver just to get a clear view (which even then wasn’t always perfectly clear).
I really wished it was open-air and that we didn’t have assigned seats so we could have found a better spot and been breathing somewhat fresh air the whole time. It was pretty stuffy in there which sucked a lot of the enjoyment out as well. I kept thinking about how you described seeing The Wall, and that’s how I felt about this. The music sounded incredible, but I was in this stuffy room with a thousand Germans who mostly weren’t all that into it and while I did allow myself to dance subtly in my seat I just couldn’t get as into it as I would be able to at home alone in the dark. Add to that the fact that my soul isn’t really on fire at this point in my life, I’ve got nothing of any real emotional significance to latch onto during the more emotional moments, and the whole thing was just a lot more underwhelming than I’d imagined.
But when Comfortably Numb came around I just kept my eyes closed for most of the solo and was able to get to that place where I’m everywhere I’ve ever heard the song before for a few moments, the solo nice and extended and the sound just absolutely mind-blowing. I was mostly cycling between Live 8 and the second Roger show with you. When it was over the entire crowd leapt to their feet, apparently having finally been moved. So that was nice, to know that song has that kind of power over not just me and you but that nobody who hears it live can possibly not be blown away by it.
Then everyone remained on their feet as they clapped for an encore, which was of course Run Like Hell. People remained standing for that, which was nice except that the guys in front of us kept standing as well. Run Like Hell isn’t my favorite anyway so it was more like just a little cooling-off number to accept that the show was over and I’d better enjoy what little was left while I could.
So that was the show. Definitely worthwhile, but sadly kind of a let-down in some respects, though those respects had almost nothing to do with the band or the music and everything to do with the crowd and venue situation, along with my own mind having drifted perhaps a little too far from how it was in high school back when the music really affected me. I turned to look, but it was gone. I cannot put my finger on it now. The child has grown, the dream is gone.