Hi. I thought people might like to hear about the Australian leg of the Saucerful tour.
I attended the only date in Brisbane. 4th row, dead centre. This area was VIP ticketed; a little over 400AUD. We received a cloth bag with plastic lanyard, a pair of laser etched drum sticks, ear plugs and a stubby holder. Seating (yes there were seats!) was wonderful. Each seat was directly bolted to the floor individually, but still the audio system managed to create deep seismic vibrations approaching the infrasound range the shook us as we sat.
The set opened, the darkened stage devoid of musicians, when that ever distinctive single B tone erupting from the speakers. The crowd immediately responded, and as the silhouetted figures appeared one by one the cheering grew to a crescendo as Nick took has place at the kit. As the song was in the concluding highly energised phase I was feeling overwhelmed by actually being at the gig. Then I spotted something I had not seen for so many years, and a couple of tears fell: Guy was smashing out the triplets on the bass and Nick was frenetic, when each looked at the other and there was the smile of acknowledgement of their delight in their work, the Dave, Rick and Nick moment, one watched for at the gigs from the halcyon days of past.
A good amount of respect was giving to the Syd era and Nick made a brief tribute to his former co-member. The interaction with the audience was rather less sparse than the usual "Good evening" you get from Dave; there was verbal interactions between the members and chatting with the crowd at times. Coincidentally it was Dom Beken's birthday and the crowd sang an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday. Guy spoke about the previous time he and Nick had been in Australia and asked if one remembered way back to the 1987 tour. A few cheered loudly (me included). Nick had a tongue in cheek dig at Roger at one stage and the whole show had a light uplifting breezy feel in terms of the disposition of the musicians. During the band introductions Nick apparently 'forgot' Guy's name and everyone was laughing. "And finally on bass its... what's your name again?"
Musically and technically the set was very tight. I think I picked one mistake but it was such a fleeting incident I cannot even remember where it occurred. The songs were treated well with some new breaks inserted here and there and some different interpretations in some cases. "If" was used to bookend a lovely rendition of Atom Heart, and I was delighted with the amount of material from Obscured that was performed, although I would love to have heard Whats... Uh the Deal, which is my fave, but hey it was still super. The band played without earpieces which I found interesting, but also it then produced a more spontaneous performance in which the members where using visual cues for ending songs etc, watching for Nick's final strike to all crash out a last note in sync.
It took me a while to get used to Gary and Guy on vocals. Gary was really good on the Syd material but I think I was so preconditioned to hearing the later songs sung in a different style I found it hard to really get into it on the night. Guy and Gary together are not as well blending as where the original band members, but it was still satisfying to hear the songs. I think "If" is a good example to hear how as each shares the verses, it feels a bit discordant. Maybe I am being too critical?
The second half included A Saucerful of Secrets and Gary had a go at Roger's vocals from Pompeii, but he did not attempt the final high B. Each musician had a lead break during this song, and it was well treated. The absolute highlight however was the most incredible rendition of Echoes I have heard, running out over 20 mins and complete with all 'movements' being included. This gave Lee Harris the opportunity to do the experimental squealing strings section which he performed with the guitar held high above his head. As the keyboard repeated that last melancholy high note the audience jumped to their collective feet it a rousing applause that just kept going, and going. Everyone was wild with respect, delight and appreciation of the group of men who had dragged us all back to 1971 (for us oldies).
At this point, what else is there to say?
Cheers from Australia
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