Breathe – The Pink Floyd Experience
Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival • 28 April 2017
By Stephen McGurk • Photography: Jamie Hunter
Yet again the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival rolls in and dazzles us with a sensational programme of upcoming, established, and legendary artists right across the board. The fairy lights, as always, are hanging from the roof of the marquee tent in Custom House Square and Breathe – The Pink Floyd Experience – are putting on the stage-show tonight.
You’d think it must be terribly hard being in a ‘Tribute’ band – right?
Yeah, fair enough – you get to go on tour and play the songs of your favourite band without much in the way of pressure that the crowd won’t enjoy the songwriting; but any missed note, any tempo variance, or any forgotten lyric is going to be stood on by the crowd because you’re performing their favourite songs.
‘Breathe’ perfectly execute a set encompassing an array of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits stretching across all their albums. Songs such as ‘Mother’, ‘Welcome to the Machine’, ‘Time’ and ‘Have A Cigar’ all make appearances through the two-hour span of the night.
By far-and-away the highlight for everyone in attendance was when Sharon Gainer demonstrated her incredible vocals on ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ – receiving a rapturous and sustained standing ovation. One single beam of light fell on her and she obliged us with one of the most stunning vocal performances you could wish to hear.
The energy rose throughout the evening – with the atmosphere warming after the first few songs – and the crowd finding both their voice and their feet when the visuals for ‘Another Brick in The Wall’ streamed onto the stage.
It’s hard to not feel disheartened though when a host of camera-phones are conspicuously raised in the air for a song like ‘Wish You Were Here’; but with the home-video fanatics not bothering to record much else during the night.
I’ve never seen the appeal of standing with a camera out for a full song, it always seems like a complete waste of time. There’s no way that the dud phone microphone -that barely picks up my voice if it happens to be a particularly windy day – will be able to process and recreate the sound my ears detect coming out of professionally manned sound system.
It sucked the effect out of the song that such a large group of people felt the need to record the song and then fail to get as excited for the rest of the night. The only prior Pink Floyd tribute band I have happened upon was in a little port town called Imperia, Italy. I had been on a boat for close to 3-months and a few of us went strolling along the promenade on some hazy, redcurrant evening trying to find any excitement to cure our sea-legs. We eventually got to the last bar on the sea-front and there was a full Pink Floyd tribute act playing an open-air concert. It was amusing to us all to hear Pink Floyd lyrics sang in Italian accents that night.
To end the show the band played ‘Comfortably Numb’ – another absolute beast of a song – each musician exiting the stage one-by-one, leaving the saxophone player to finish out the end of the song while the crowd cheered him to completion.