Goals don’t get much loftier or more ambitious than the goals of a band that calls itself the Australian Pink Floyd Show, especially if it promises an evening filled with visual thrills and stimuli.
Wednesday night, the longest lasting (24 years) international Pink Floyd tribute band drew a sell-out crowd to the Uptown Theater, and it gave the 1,200 or so in attendance everything it promised: an array of lasers; a 3-D show (get your glasses at the door); a flashy light show; a pristine sound system; and a set list stocked with hits and favorites from one of the music world’s most revered psychedelic/art-rock bands. The only thing missing? Any sense of spontaneity or spark of personality.
For nearly three hours (including a 20-minute intermission), the band that acronyms itself TAPFS filled the theater with all flavors of Pink Floyd. It opened with the two opening tracks from the “Wish You Were Here” album: the epic “Shine On, You Crazy Diamond,” then “Welcome to the Machine.” Like what would follow, both were cast in renditions faithful to the album’s versions. If this band is earnest about anything, it is to re-creating the Floyd sound as faithfully as it can live, as a 10-piece ensemble (including three background singers).
The first half of the setlist bounced around from one album to the next: from “Coming Back to Life” off “The Division Bell” to the single “Arnold Layne” to “Sorrow” and “Learning to Fly” from “A Momentary Lapse of Reason.” During that first half, the performances felt as perfunctory as they sounded polished. The vocalists sounded a bit weary and by-the-book. None had much to say to their audience; nor did anyone else in the band. In fact, there wasn’t much movement in general coming off the stage. The only visible energy was from the occasional spray of lime-green lasers. Otherwise, the vibe in the room was a bit staid and neutral -– more like Khaki Floyd than something Pink.
The vibe improved in the second half, when the 3-D feature kicked in and the set list featured more well-known numbers, like “Time,” “Money" (which included a stellar sax solo), “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II” “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb.” The 3-D was a novel attraction. Its best moment was when the pink pig appeared and spun around, seemingly in front of the viewer’s face. It was nothing like the lavish spectacle Roger Waters brought to the Sprint Center last year when he re-created "The Wall," but for a place the size of the Uptown, the visuals were at least entertaining.
But the novelties ultimately took a back seat to the music and classic songs, especially the mournful songs like “Wish” and “Numb,” which cast an ethereal spell throughout the room. The crowd for most of the evening seemed content to remain seated, even during the more raucous numbers like “Money” and “Wall.” When the 3-D affects were in full force and the room was filled with people wearing the goofy glasses, they looked like a ‘50s crowd sitting in a theater, watching a movie. A few spasms of dancing and restrained rowdiness broke out during the encore, “Run Like Hell.” That one, too, was re-created with an unwavering faithfulness, which seemed to be both the means and the ends to this elaborate homage to a great band.
| Timothy Finn, The Star