Set the Controls for UB: Pink Floyd cover band
Australian Pink Floyd Show brings the best of Pink Floyd to the CFA
The Australian Pink Floyd Show is not a cover band, but an experience.
The acclaimed group brought their Set the Controls Tour to a crowd of more than 1,300 Wednesday evening when they performed in the Center for the Arts. The Pink Floyd cover band complimented their playing with outrageous theatrics including two giant inflatables, a laser-light show and projection videos.
“My dad was a Pink Floyd fanatic for most of his life,” said Tom Erikson, 27, from Buffalo. “I never got to see them [live] but after seeing these guys, I get why my dad loved [Pink Floyd] so much.”
The show started with a pre-recorded medley of songs featuring Syd Barrett, the original front man of Pink Floyd, before the band emerged. As the medley faded out, the band began playing “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” Pink Floyd’s own tribute to Barrett.
The set list for the first half of their concert contained a variety of songs from the albums “A Momentary Lapse of Reason,” “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall.”
Though the group tours extensively, pieces of their home can be seen throughout the show. The triangle in the “Dark Side of the Moon” album cover is replaced by an image of Australia, and video footage during the show included clips from Australian television programs.
“The Great Gig in the Sky” featured extensive vocal solos from the three female background singers, differing from the original track that only highlighted a soloist.
“[Great Gig in the Sky] was so impressive,” said Kaitlin Brown, 51, from Ontario. She praised the singers and compared them to the original band that she has seen live, calling the cover band “just as good as the actual Pink Floyd.”
On the Pink Floyd classic “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,” the first blowup, a depiction of a sadistic teacher, was inflated on stage. The blowup represented the message of the song, bouncing and moving to the beat as the band concluded the first half of their show.
The blowup remained inflated on stage throughout the intermission, giving fans an opportunity to take pictures with the giant blowup.
After intermission, the show restarted with the hit song “Pigs (Three Different Ones).” It was accompanied by videos of Margaret Thatcher, Richard Nixon and other controversial political figures. The video footage is just another example of the show’s knack for syncing its technology with the music being played.
The second half of the show featured some fan favorites such as “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” “High Hopes” and “Wish You Were Here.”
Erikson was pleasantly surprised with the song choice.
“I really thought they would just play the hits,” Erikson said. “But it was nice to hear some of the rarities played.”
“One of These Days,” a space-sounding instrumental with extensive bass and percussion, featured Skippy the giant inflatable kangaroo. The audience caught growing shadows of the blowup being inflated in the darkness during a long ominous bass section of the song.
Once the lights came back on at the end of the section, Skippy began jumping along with the song. At the song’s close, Skippy bowed to the audience before being deflated.
Tim McCormick, a sophomore computer science major, “half-expected the kangaroo to fall” on the bassist during “One of These Days.” McCormick found that the kangaroo was an exciting element of the performance.
The band neared the end of their performance with “Comfortably Numb.” A disco ball descended during the final solo of the song as lasers shot out at the audience, lighting up the CFA in a distinctly Pink Floyd way.
An encore performance of “Run Like Hell” concluded the night. The Australian Pink Floyd Show received a standing ovation as Erikson received a special gift himself: the guitarist’s pick.
“It’s always nice to have a keepsake like this,” Erikson said with a smile.
The Australian Pink Floyd Show continues their tour of North America with shows in Albany, Boston and Montreal.
The band isn’t just another knock off of the original – Nick Mason, the drummer for the original Pink Floyd, called the group “probably better than us” in a BBC radio interview.