Classic Dark Side of the Moon prism tee shirts were abundant in Syracuse as Brit Floyd performed its Immersion World Tour 2017 at the OnCenter’s Crouse-Hinds Theater April 18 to a near capacity crowd of both young and the bit more seasoned.
Brit Floyd speaks fluent Floydian. The tribute act has toured the world since 2011 and has mastered the art of Pink Floyd’s catalog while still managing to put its own stamp on the music.
A highlight of this particular show was the homecoming of Brit Floyd bassist and Chapman stick player, Ian Cattell. Cattell grew up in the Syracuse area and performed in many Syracuse area bands prior to joining the Australian Pink Floyd Show in 2005. He is equally adept at channeling Roger Waters and David Gilmour. One unique instrument he employed during the later era Floyd songs is the Chapman stick. It is a long 10 or 12 stringed guitar used to play bass and melody lines. Cattell’s gig with the Australian Pink Floyd Show led to his current one in 2011. You can read more about Catell in the NYS Music preview interview here.
Brit Floyd dipped its toes into every era of Pink Floyd’s history, from the psychedelic era “Astronomy Domine” off the band’s 1967 debut album to the opening numbers, the instrumental “Cluster One” and “What Do You Want From Me” from 1994’s The Division Bell.
What you get with Brit Floyd is attention to detail. The band is respectful of the source material, yet still manages to put a Brit Floyd twist on it. The lighting and visual effects (the circular video screen used is the same one Pink Floyd used on the Division Bell tour) are top notch. The sound circled the theater, creating the intended immersion effect. It was a full on immersion into Floyd.
The graphics used introduced the year of each song played and mixed public domain videos and images along with original animation synchronized to the music and lights.
Cattell and musical director/guitarist Damian Darlington took on the vocal roles of Roger Waters and David Gilmour with daft precision. Cattell’s inner Waters proved a highlight throughout the night. Cattell also took turns on Gilmour-sung songs such as on the A Momentary Lapse of Reason track, “One Slip.” Cattell claims his natural voice is more similar to that of Gilmour’s. This was proven on the latter era Floyd songs he captained.
Lead guitarist Edo Scordo manages what few who cover Floyd can. He has the Gilmour feel. While Gilmour may not be the most technical guitarist in rock, what he brings to the table is an emotion that translates through his fingers to the fretboard. Scordo has that knack. Throughout the night, he nailed the solos, smiling at the adoring audience as he did so.
The band is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Animals album on this tour. Following the second set opener “Astronomy,” the band broke into the familiar keyboard intro and pig noises that open “Pigs on the Wing, Part 1” from that album. The crowd immediately responded in favor. Not stopping there, Brit Floyd seamlessly worked its way through the remainder of the “first side” of the criminally overlooked album.
They jumped forward to 1987 for the following two songs, “A New Machine (Part 1)” and “Terminal Frost” before the alarms and bells broke out for a trip to the Dark Side, of the Moon, that is. “Time” and “Breathe (Reprise)” are what this audience came to hear. Darlington broke into the lead lines of “Time” sounding every bit like Richard Wright.
The true highlight of the night, however, was still to come. Vocalist Angela Cervantes wowed the crowd with her hair-raising performance of “The Great Gig in the Sky.” Those in the know, realize this song, originally performed by Clare Torry on Dark Side, utilizes lyric-less female vocals as another instrument over Wright’s piano. On this night, Cervantes, accompanied by Ryan Saranich on keys, nailed it, lifting the audience out of its seats for the first standing ovation of the night.
Following the Dark Side tracks, the spirit of Syd Barrett paid a visit to Crouse-Hinds in the form of “Wish You Were Here” and “Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-VII).” The video screen flashed video of early Floyd performances and glimpses of Barrett to the applause of the crowd. During “Wish You Were Here” Scordo and Darlington traded acoustic riffs as Darlington sang accompanied by those in attendance.
The second set ended with Cattell showing off his acting chops. A chair, television and lamp, props mimicking those used in the film version of The Wall, were carted on stage as Cattell emerged dressed in a lab coat and carrying a clipboard. Cattell’s played the role of the menacing doctor to a tee and Darlington’s solo was spot-on.
The band returned after “Numb” for a two-song encore. The first was a surprising pull. Darlington broke into the angst-ridden Waters-penned track “Not Now John” from Pink Floyd’s final album with Waters, The Final Cut. The song is one of Floyd’s heavier numbers and this brought raised fists and head bobbing from the audience.
Brit Floyd closed their near-perfect Syracuse evening with a pulsing “Run Like Hell” from The Wall accompanied by a tremendous light and laser show. If there were anybody left disappointed by this show, they were simply not Pink Floyd fans. Brit Floyd is likely the closest we’ll come to a true Pink Floyd experience these days. Fans of the music would be wise to catch this band on tour.
Set One: Cluster One, What Do You Want from Me, Welcome to the Machine, Coming Back to Life, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, One Slip, One of These Days, Us and Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse
Set Two: Astronomy Domine, Pigs on the Wing, Part 1, Dogs, A New Machine (Part 1), Terminal Frost, Time, Breathe (Reprise), The Great Gig in the Sky (featuring Angela Cervantes), Money, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-VII), Comfortably Numb
Encore: Not Now John, Run Like Hell