Australian Pink Floyd - NIA - Wednesday 30th April 2008

Fourth time I've seen them in three years... same old, same old or wow!?

A night of anniversaries; this is TAPF's 20th Anniversary tour, and it's a year to the day since my review of their last NIA appearance started the ball rolling for Chopmusic. The tour was advertised as TAPF playing highlights off "The Wall" plus greatest hits, so how would the band mix things up?

Thanks to the sound engineer for the setlist - cheers fella. As usual the evening was split into 2 sets. Opening intro was a surreal remix of "Waltzing Matilda" before the band launched into "In The Flesh", followed by "The Thin Ice", "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1", "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives" and "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2" all off "The Wall" album. Sound quality in general was, as ever, superb, although the guitarist centre stage was plagued with technical problems from the off which dogged him all evening. Staging was again staggeringly good. "Learning To Fly" was up next, running straight into "Money", "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", "Mother" and the ever reliable "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" complete with giant inflatable pig, wrapped up the first set in around the hour mark. All songs were note perfect and the overall performance, with the exception of the unfortunate guitar problems, was flawless.

"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" started off the second half which was effectively a greatest hits set. "Time" ran straight into "Great Gig In The Sky" the latter containing a staggering vocal performance from two of the backing singers who got to perform the famous vocal lead. Familiar songs kept coming in the shape of "Goodbye Blue Sky", "Empty Spaces", "Young Lust", "Keep Talking", "Hey You" and "Nobody Home", all delivered immaculately, before the next inflatable (this time a large pink bouncing kangaroo!) accompanied "One Of These Days". A segue of popular Australian exports containing "Neighbours", "Sons And Daughters" and Sir Les Patterson amongst others preceded "Wish You Were Here" before the keyboard player (Rolf) introduced the "Bruce"s and "Sheila"s making up the touring band. "Comfortably Numb" was the set closer with the ever reliable "Run Like Hell" as the encore, during which the staging was incredible. Another hour and a half plus of quality entertainment.

Negatives? Only two. Technical problems are always going to happen and the one guitarist had more than his fair share tonight.. at least his roadie/technician was kept busy! The ever subdued NIA audience detracted from the magic that was being weaved onstage; why did everyone sit down as soon as the encore started? It was almost as if people were terrified of expressing their appreciation of the band with anything other than a gentle nodding of the head or a tapping foot. Granted I'm normally getting pummelled senseless on the barrier in front of an angry pit, but the lack of enthusiasm from the audience was bordering on apathy.

The positives, thankfully, far outweigh though. The band collectively are incredible musicians and have a fantastic crew to stage them to their maximum potential. Sound engineers again provided a crystal clear sound, I need to kidnap the drum technician for my side project's gigs! Haven't heard a drumkit this well mic-ed up for a long time. Lighting was amazing with the lasers and mirror-ball needing to be singled out for praise. The special effects team again succeeded with their collection of inflatables!

Another staggering display and can't wait until next year's dates are released! May have to consult them a little more closely next year to try and escape the funereal NIA crowd though! As an overall package gig of the year so far (although set of the year still in the hands of Death Angel with Opeth running second!)

See Earlier Review - May 07



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