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What The Floyd - City Hall, Pontefract (UK) - 01 August 2019

This was my first visit to Pontefract City Hall, however my wife was returning after forty-one years, the last time being to witness her sister getting married. The concert hall was on the first floor with a small wrap-around balcony. The chairs on the lower level were set out like a school assembly and when we arrived there was dry ice being pumped into the auditorium, so much in fact it actually set off the fire alarm! Fortunately, we were reassured that it was not a real fire.

The solid carbon dioxide (aka "dry ice") produced an ethereal setting as the band took to the stage and opened with 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' (insert "the classic Pink Floyd song" before every title). I think it was a given that these would be talented musicians, considering the material that they were playing; the latter proved to be the case. Guitarist Keir Moore demonstrated his worth on the opening number; this was the track that first got me into Pink Floyd, taken from the 'Wish You Were Here' opus that I used to do most of my exam revision listening to, back in the early eighties. Often the vocals can be the weakest link with tribute bands, not so with WTF, as guitarist Pete Morton (taking the Dave Gilmour parts) and bassist Pete Clark (taking on the Roger Waters numbers) were both outstanding.


What The Floyd Live 1

I had no preconception of the set-list, but thought that they might just concentrate on the "golden" era between 1973 and 1979. That was not the case, as all eras of Floyd were covered. Next up was 'Arnold Layne', a song released two months before I was born!

'Learning To Fly' is one of the "newer' Floyd songs, yet it's still over thirty years old. 'Hey You' preceded a simply stunning extended version of 'Money', with the traditional video playing on the circular backdrop video screen. The song featured brief solos from each of the five musicians; the aforementioned Moore and Morton on guitars, Clark on bass, Richard Smith on keyboards, and Felipe Amorim on drums.

'Another Brick In The Wall' had the crowd, largely made up of a middle-aged to older demographic, joining in on the chorus. 'Young Lust' allowed for some Hard Rock, whilst, I was surprised to find out post-gig, that this was the first time they had played 'On The Turning Away', as it was executed to perfection. This brought set one to a conclusion and gave the opportunity for the audience to stretch their legs and go and get another drink; unfortunately there were still a few who did this throughout the performance, but not as many as I've seen at other shows.

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Set two began with a couple of tracks from 'The Wall'; 'In The Flesh' and 'Mother', which I initially thought had piped vocals, until I spotted one of the three backing singers Adele Harley, behind Morton, singing lead vocals. The three ladies, Emma Kelsey, Adele and Carolyn Harley provided excellent backing vocals, whilst adding a bit of glamour to the evening. Following the line, "Mother, should I trust the government?" keyboard player Smith spontaneously shouted, "Fuck off!" The latter received a big cheer from the partisan West Yorkshire crowd.

Throughout the evening, WTF used the lights to produce silhouettes of themselves on stage, which was very effective, particularly on atmospheric songs such as 'High Hopes' and the wondrous 'Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun'. The latter was another song being played for the first time, and they must have been pleased with the crowd reaction.

Morton only occasionally interacted with the audience, preferring the music to do the talking. However, when he did, he was very affable. "Here's a new number we wrote... only joking!"


What The Floyd Live 2

I wasn't surprised to hear a song featured from 'Animals'; however, I did not expect it to be 'Pigs (Three Little Ones)', with video footage of clown Boris Johnson (with a reminder that he is the UK Prime Minister after winning the votes of only 0.14% of the country), and Theresa May (amusingly they had looped her dancing on stage at the Tory Party Conference). I think Roger Waters would have been impressed.

A run of three songs from one of the greatest albums of all-time 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' followed. 'Breathe' and 'Time' were flawless, whilst 'The Great Gig In The Sky' (aka "The Wailing Woman Song") saw Adele Harley in ear-shattering form (I now know why they were serving the drinks in plastic cups). My only disappointment of the whole evening was the omission of 'Us And Them', my all-time favourite Pink Floyd song.

The main set was concluded with a couple of heavier numbers, 'One Of These Days' (from 1971's 'Meddle') and 'Run Like Hell' (from 1979's 'The Wall').
The band left the stage for a couple of minutes, to return for a one-song encore. Amusingly, I did hear one fan shout out a request for the twenty-three and half minute 'Echoes'; however, there was only going to be one number, the phenomenal 'Comfortably Numb'. Morton delivered the legendary Gilmour solos to near perfection.


What The Floyd Live 3

The eight members of WTF came to the front of the stage to take a deserved standing ovation. As you're unlikely to ever see Pink Floyd live again, and the fact that you have to take out a second mortgage to see either Roger Waters or Dave Gilmour, I can highly recommend you check out What The Floyd.

Review and photos by Mark Donnelly

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