Nick Mason

LIVE: Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets – SEC Armadillo, Glasgow, 21/06/2024

I should probably declare an interest before we start (and yes, I probably am too honest to be a politician): I’ve been a Pink Floyd fan for many years, but never actually saw them live. So I have no reference point to what it was actually like to be at a Floyd gig. But this evening was fantastic, keeping the spirit of the band’s early years (pre- the juggernaut that was 1973’s Dark Side Of The Moon; chances are you have heard of it) alive.

Considering that there were only ever a handful of people in Pink Floyd, the soap opera that was the band’s story over very nearly sixty years rivals that of Fleetwood Mac, another band who made their debut in 1967. Drummer Nick Mason was the only member to play on all the band’s albums, and given the, um, difficult relationship between guitarist David Gilmour and bassist Roger Waters (to put it mildly), they have both given Mason their blessing on this project. Syd Barrett and Rick Wright are, alas, no longer with us, but they are acknowledged several times over the course of a two hour-plus evening. Bassist Guy Pratt first began playing with Pink Floyd around the mid ‘80s, and if the thought of Spandau Ballet‘s Gary Kemp seemed at odds with the project, worry not. Together with guitarist Lee Harris and Dom Beken on keys, the result is not a tribute act but an overwhelmingly successful attempt to recapture the spirit of Pink Floyd circa 1967-72.

So save your cynicism. Right from the get-go, when they open with ‘Astronomy Domine‘ it’s clear we are in very capable hands (safe would suggest the band play it too carefully). The visuals are just as you might hope for a Floyd gig (psychedelic and trippy, obviously), and over 19 songs we get an insight into just how great those early years were. Floyd were never really a singles band -a lot of ‘prog’ acts weren’t, but it’s wonderful to hear ‘Arnold Layne‘ and ‘See Emily Play‘ back to back. The band could do epic very well, and the first set includes ‘Atom Heart Mother ‘and ‘Set the Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.’ Music that went to the farthest reaches then and now. I’m reminded that one of John Peel’s appearances in Pseud’s Corner was when he compared the sound of Floyd to galaxies dying; clearly the person who submitted that quote had never heard the band properly. In the second half we get a staggeringly brilliant ‘Echoes‘ which is just as phenomenal as the album version. No, really.

And while perhaps the only disappointment is ‘One Of These Days‘ not quite catching fire properly, the final song is ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets‘ which sends us all out into the night very happy indeed. It’s the summer solstice and the sky outside all just aligns perfectly with the music of the last couple of hours.

Of course, there are songs it would have been great to hear (‘Julia Dream‘, ‘Careful With That Axe Eugene‘ and ‘Grantchester Meadows‘ if there’s a return visit), but it’s hard to feel cheated with a night like this. It’s not a cash-in, this show really keeps the spirit alive.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.