Review: The Floyd Effect return after a “momentary lapse”

Entertainment / Tue 7th Sep 2021 at 08:45am

By Martin Elven

BACK in 1987, the by then legendary Pink Floyd released their thirteenth studio album, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Recorded amongst the maelstrom of departing and returning band members, acrimonious breakdowns in interpersonal relationships, and ongoing lawsuits, it was seen at the time as being the commencement of a new “normal” in Pink Floyd history.

The parallels with tonight’s show are all too apparent – 18 months of enforced ‘Floydnessness’ (quoting the band’s website), a debut for a new vocalist/guitarist – and keyboard maestro Gordon Reid touches on the irony of choosing to feature this particular album on a tour that had only one previous date before the effects of the pandemic wreaked havoc on the world.

My last foray into the world of The Floyd Effect had seen a sellout at The Playhouse, and whilst that is definitely not the case this evening, the theatre looked at least three quarters full. Whether people are still nervous about mixing with crowds, or possibly taking the opportunity to grab a holiday, only time will tell, but the mixture of age groups was much the same, including three generations of the same family – the reaction from the younger generation indicates that the legacy left is not quite ready to die just yet.

A few technical gremlins manifested themselves as the band opened with Learning To Fly, with new vocalist Paul Andrews seemingly having problems with possibly a wireless transmitter, and having to hardwire into his amp, but these were quickly resolved, and the show marched on apace. And make no mistake, this is a show as opposed to just a gig. The projections, stage sets, light and lasers, and audio samples are all in place, just as you’d have expected from a Floyd concert circa 1990. The band continued through most of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, and On The Turning Away was a particular personal highlight, before bringing out the big guns of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Wish You Were Here and Another Brick In The Wall.

One particular aspect of note was a marked increase in the interactions between band and audience since my last visit – for me, a welcome change, and one that enhanced the experience of a theatre show where the audience tends to be more subdued.

A few grumbles were noted during the interval regarding the lightshow, with a couple of unfortunate people catching the full glare for a little longer than may have been comfortable, but the bar was doing brisk business and the general mood was one of approval.

The second half opened with One Of These Days from Meddle, before the band once again played Dark Side Of The Moon in full, in order and exactly how it was meant to be heard – complete with a short break in order to turn the record over. The Great Gig In The Sky highlights the feature that elevates The Floyd Effect above many other tributes, as the the two female backing singers recreate Claire Torry’s now famous vocal performance, and you realise just how much they’ve contributed throughout the show – embellishing the music, without detracting in any way.

As the closing notes of Eclipse were overwhelmed by applause, I heard a voice behind me wonder how they could top that. Suffice to say, they gave it a good go with Comfortably Numb, which seemed to be extended beyond the six and a half minutes or so of the original. A standing ovation ensued as the band departed, and they duly returned for the obligatory encore of Run Like Hell, before the house lights came up to signify the end of the show.

Tribute acts have, to a certain extent, an already captive audience. Most are for bands that are no longer in existence, or who rarely tour and would never play smaller venues. However, the challenge is to keep the show fresh and the audience interested enough to keep returning year on year. With their modus operandi of focusing on two albums per tour, yet still managing to shoehorn in the crowd favourites, The Floyd Effect seem to have overcome that hurdle. And with a back catalogue so extensive to choose from, playing a different set every tour is made easy, for as long as audiences are still prepared to turn up. Judging by Saturday night, I suspect that might be a while yet.

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