‘Pulse’ is Floyd for the fans, and we don’t need no education

By Lesley Stones 21 August 2011

Shut your eyes and you’d think it’s really them. In fact, open your eyes and you still think it’s them, because who really remembers what Pink Floyd actually looked like back then? It was always about the music and the experience - what it made you feel! By LESLEY STONES.

Imitate The Who and any fan would moan that the guy on drums wasn’t a bit like Keith Moon. But despite being a Floyd fan for decades, I couldn’t pick out the individual members if you stuck them in a police line up. I just know there used to be a lot more hair flying around in the old days, compared to the bunch of baldies playing in the Pink Floyd Experience.

The New Zealand tribute band that gave us “The Wall” a few years ago is back with “Pulse”, a throbbing, moody show that’s absolute musical perfection.

In fact, the main difference is that you can see these guys clearly because they’re so close, while the real Floyd would have been nothing, but a “distant ship on the horizon” in some massive stadium.

I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt have cause to say it again – it must be odd earning your living by pretending to be somebody else. But the show really is superb, and if you’re a fan, you’ll absolutely love it.

The seven-piece band recreates every song perfectly and singer Stan Gratkowski is note-perfect. The three female backing vocalists do all the right stuff at all the right time. Lasers and fabulous lighting effects sweep and swoop while a backdrop plays psychedelic images.

As I watched the percussionists, constantly in action, I gained new admiration for the layers upon layers of sound each individual piece contains.

This is music I’ve listened to for decades, and there isn’t one bum note. That’s because the band has been together for 10 years and has probably performed more live concerts than the real Pink Floyd ever did (given the long divorce between Waters and Gilmour).

“Pulse” starts with the familiar intro to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” and that’s it, you’re hooked. Unless you’re not a devoted fan, in which case you’ll be waiting for rigor mortis to set in. You’re in need of “education”.“Is everybody else high on acid?” one baffled friend asked at the interval. “I feel like somebody’s trying to hypnotise me with music,” another one quipped. But he’s a Barbra Streisand fan, which says all you need to know.

The die-hard fans were utterly mesmerised. Me? I’d have been happy to leave after the natural climax created by “Eclipse”. Yet there were still five more songs to go, including the magnificent “Wish You Were Here”.

At three hours long you certainly get great value for money. But by the end, several fans were left sitting alone after their partners sneaked out. To wait at the bar perhaps, nursing a drink and tuning into Amy Winehouse on their iPods. DM

For more, visit Lesley’s excellent website.

Photos: Mariola Biela

“Pulse – The Pink Floyd Experience” runs at Joburg Theatre until 4 September.


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