Review: Floyd Effect: You will have wished you were there

Entertainment / Tue 20th Nov 2018 pm30 07:26pm

The Floyd Effect – Harlow Playhouse 17/11/18

By Martin Elven

THERE are few more iconic and revered bands in British music history than Pink Floyd, and their music still has the pull to sell out The Playhouse on Saturday night. With an eclectic audience ranging from early teens through to original hippies desperately hanging on to the last vestiges of youth, and all points in between, solo music from the surviving members is clearly not sufficient for the Floyd faithful, and there is a palpable hum of expectant excitement in the auditorium as they await the arrival of the band.

The CV for the group of musicians playing tonight makes impressive reading on their website, and the attendant array of instruments and technical gadgetry gathered onstage is almost its equal. If nothing else, it serves as notice that no stone will be left unturned in the effort to reproduce that signature ‘Floyd’ sound.

Entering in near darkness, and clad entirely in black, there is near silence as they launch into Cluster One from The Division Bell. Accompanied by projections, lasers and samples, the opening segment draws heavily from The Division Bell. The stage is predominantly backlit, and the emphasis is very much on the musical experience – unlike some other tribute acts, there is little attempt by the band to resemble the original artists, and the lack of spotlights does nothing to detract from this. Whilst the physical resemblance is minimal, however, musically it’s a different story.

In addition to the standard guitars, bass and drums found in the vast majority of bands, Pink Floyd embraced keyboards, lap steel guitars, acoustic guitars (6 and 12 string), saxophone and synthesisers, and were one of the early pioneers in using sampled effects. All of these appear tonight too, and are utilised with consumate musicianship. Add in a trio of highly accomplished female backing vocalists, and the ‘Floyd Effect’ has undoubtedly been achieved.

Following a short break, the band return to play Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety, including the backing trio sharing Clare Torry’s iconic non-lexical vocals from Great Gig In The Sky with great aplomb. Judging by the applause as Eclipse fades to a close, a large proportion of tonight’s audience would have been happy to have witnessed nothing other than this segment of the show, and treated the rest as a very welcome bonus.

The opening sample of Wish You Were Here is greeted with similar appreciation, and the constant procession to the bar ensured that a little audience participation was in order, before the show drew to a close with Comfortably Numb. The inevitable encore ensued – Run Like Hell – and highlighted the one, minor flaw in a show such as this.

The complexities of synchronising the music to the projections and lasers leave the band very little room to manoeuvre in regard to meandering down whatever musical path they may spontaneously choose, and as a result the show very, very ocassionally feels a little robotic. Come the encore, and they finally shook off the shackles and appeared human. To be honest, if that’s the only criticism that can be levelled, its been a successful show.

And judging by the amount of people humming and singing to themselves as the audience dispersed into the night, I suspect pretty much everyone else agreed.

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