The Australian Pink Floyd Show, Sheffield 2021

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Forget that they are just a tribute band and celebrate the fact that the Australian Pink Floyd are keeping the legacy of one of the greatest bands of all-time going.

Sheffield: City Hall – 01 December 2021

What do you need to become the biggest tribute band in the world? Firstly, you have to pick a band that people love; secondly, it helps if that band rarely tours; thirdly, you need the ability to put on a performance that is befitting of the said band. The Australian Pink Floyd Show tick all those boxes, and then some; also, it doesn't harm that they have the endorsement of the original band members.

On a freezing December night, it was great to see the 2,271-capacity City Hall almost packed to the rafters (I viewed very few empty seats). As the lights went down, the main musicians took to the stage for an atmospheric opening of the title track and 'When You're In' from the 1972 album 'Obscured By Clouds'. Lead singer Chris Barnes took front and centre stage for 'In The Flesh?' before a run of five songs from one of the seminal albums of all-time, 'The Dark Side Of The Moon'. The large circular video screen (looking like a Stargate) came to the fore with 'Time', whilst backing singers Lorelei McBroom, Lara Smiles and Emily Lynn got the opportunity to show off their powerful, yet controlled, non-lexical vocals during 'The Great Gig In The Sky'.

Most of the band members of The Aussie Pink Floyd like to just let the music do the talking and shy away from the spotlight; however, not saxophonist Mike Kidson, who wants to be noticed. With his pink saxophone, matching hat and sparkly shoes he certainly is that, but this does not detract from his superb playing. Personally, I think a bit a saxophone always augments a Rock song and that is definitely the case with Pink Floyd's music.

The dialogue with the audience was kept to the bare minimum with keyboard player Jason Sawford (original founding member of the Aussie Pink Floyd) thanking the crowd for turning out once again.

The video to 'Money' was similar to the original, before the emotional 'Us And Them', still as relevant today as it was when first released back in 1973. This is my all-time favourite Pink Floyd track and gives me goosebumps every time I hear it played. The next two numbers jumped forward a couple of decades; 'What Do You Want From Me' and 'Keep Talking' from 1994's 'The Division Bell'. The first half of the show was ended with Pink Floyd's only number one single, 'Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)', complete with the large inflatable headmaster.

Following a twenty-minute break, Act Two commenced in Psychedelic style with a kaleidoscope of lights for 'Astronomy Domine', a song from the debut Pink Floyd album 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' released the year I was born!

The atmospheric 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' was flawless and the Aussie iconography (Crocodile Dundee, Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, Men At Work, Kylie and AC/DC) preceded 'Wish You Were Here', featuring Steve Mac and David Domminney Fowler on acoustic guitars which finished with the poignant image of Syd Barret. An amusing video accompanied 'Sheep'. My only very minor disappointment of the evening was that this was the only track taken from the phenomenal 'Animals', which has been my most played Pink Floyd album over the last several years. 'Mother', featuring the line "Should I trust the government?" met with a residing "No!" from the (Northern) audience.

The rhythm section of Paul Bonney (drums) and Ricky Howard (bass/vocals) got to shine with the final two songs of the main set, 'One Of These Days' and 'Run Like Hell'. The twenty-foot inflatable Pink Kangaroo made his appearance at this stage and always makes me smile, particularly as it skips in time with the music.

The sound and mix were superb as usual; the light show was spectacular, but never eclipsed the timeless music.

The band returned for a one-song encore of 'Comfortably Numb', where guitarists Mac and Fowler excelled, especially the latter with the second solo; bathed in white light, this was worth the ticket price alone, simply breath-taking.

A standing ovation was the least that these ten musicians deserved. Forget that they are just a tribute band and celebrate the fact that the Australian Pink Floyd are keeping the legacy of one of the greatest bands of all-time going.

Mark Donnelly


Act One: Obscured by Clouds / When You're In / In the Flesh? / Time / Breathe (Reprise) / The Great Gig in the Sky / Money / Us and Them / What Do You Want From Me / Keep Talking / The Happiest Days of Our Lives /Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2

Act Two: Astronomy Domine / Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) / Wish You Were Here / Sheep / Mother / Sorrow / One of These Days / Run Like Hell

Encore: Comfortably Numb

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