NICK MA­SON’S A SAUCER­FUL OF SE­CRETS

Prog - - Take A Bow - CHRIS ROBERTS

VENUE THE ROUNDHOUSE, LON­DON

DATE 24/09/2018

Nick Ma­son sets us straight early on. “We’re not the Aus­tralian Roger Wa­ters. Or the Dan­ish David Gil­mour.” He’s given up wait­ing for a phone call from his fel­low Floyd sur­vivors, he adds. As tonight af­firms, he’s mak­ing hay while the heart of the sun shines, fully in con­trol. Halfway through an exhilarating show, he jokes that Roger was “not good at shar­ing”, so the drum­mer never got to bang the gong at the start of Set The

Con­trols…. “But tonight,” he de­clares wryly, “is my night…”

It cer­tainly is, and not just be­cause he gets to bang that gong. The 74-year-old has quipped that it’s akin to play­ing in his own trib­ute band, but this unit com­bines de­voted dis­ci­pline with the con­fi­dence to get stuck in. There must be many Floyd-heads here who once de­cried Span­dau Bal­let as the root of all evil, but the packed house is whoop­ing as Gary Kemp and Lee Har­ris (Block­heads) trade twin gui­tars (care­free axes) on In­ter­stel­lar

Over­drive. Guy Pratt (bass) has plen­ti­ful Floyd ex­pe­ri­ence, and key­boardist Dom Beken sub­tly fills planes of au­ral space. The front three share vo­cals, Kemp’s tem­pered Cock­ney traces a fit­ting fill-in for Syd Bar­rett, whose im­age on­screen draws cheers. Ma­son pays re­spects to him and to Rick Wright, while Kemp eu­lo­gises Ma­son (“the heart­beat of Pink Floyd”) and Pratt ob­serves, “For many of us, Relics was our in­tro­duc­tion to Floyd at school, be­cause it was half-price.”

It was also price­less: the gate­way drug. Tonight’s thrilling ride through the early psy­che­delic ma­te­rial and Bar­rett’s barbed anti-pop may be, by na­ture, nos­tal­gia, but it’s also a life-af­firm­ing re­minder that mu­sic can side-wind and sur­prise.

Whether it’s the mes­meric mur­murs of Ob­scured By Clouds or A Saucer­ful Of Se­crets it­self, or the spiky rush of Arnold Layne, See Emily Play or Bike, the ensem­ble stride that coveted line be­tween replica and sparky ex­u­ber­ance. The sonic epipha­nies make you won­der if Floyd in­vented both Mog­wai and Moroder. Wor­ries that they shouldn’t med­dle with ide­alised mem­o­ries are dis­si­pated when Fear­less floats into a tran­scen­dent hazy pathos, and

One Of These Days closes with a thump­ing, dra­matic fu­sion of elec­tro and head­bang­ing rock.

Over half a cen­tury since Pink Floyd de­buted here at an all-night, acid-ad­dled, “pop-op cos­tume-masque-ball”, much has changed. The venue is cleaner, tech­nol­ogy is god and the au­di­ence are more likely to have in­gested a cheeky half than LSD. Yet your ears don’t lie: there’s more oxy­gen and fire in these sounds than any num­ber of V&A em­balm­ings. “I hope you’ve en­joyed this as much as I have,” says Ma­son. He and his co­horts have bent time, bring­ing Floyd’s fer­tile, avant-garde spirit back to life. The se­cret’s out.

“TONIGHT IS A LIFE-AF­FIRM­ING RE­MINDER THAT

MU­SIC CAN SIDE-WIND AND

SUR­PRISE.”

NICK MA­SON: “THE HEART­BEAT OF PINK FLOYD.”

GUY PRATT (LEFT) AND GARY KEMP TUNE IN AND TRIP OUT.

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