The Australian Pink Floyd @ Birmingham NIA – 30th April 2009


Prog is a dirty word. It suggests over-indulgence, pretentiousness and, more often than not, organs. But one band that always managed to balance the stigma of the concept album with the cool-factor of being a rock band were Pink Floyd. This balance is probably why the Floyd were, and still are, so popular around the world. So popular, in fact, that a troupe of Australians have made a career out of impersonating them.

Having seen The Australian Pink Floyd in action before, I knew that this was no ordinary tribute act. The humorous names, dodgy wigs and dank pub venues that characterise most tributes would be nowhere to be seen. Instead, the NIA was in store for a full-on stage show with lasers, backing singers and animated backdrops. Anything less would not be fitting for a full run-through of classic album ‘The Wall’ by the only Floyd tribute to play for the original band members.


As the lights dimmed and the band entered the stage, the capacity crowd erupted as if welcoming the real deal, only to be silenced as the first chords of ‘In the Flesh?’ slammed home with a flash of the stage lights. The set-up was impressive as the big screen tied the ‘concept’ of the album together with animated bricks slowly building up above the stage and snippets of animation based on the film of the album. The mix of blues-based rock, such as ‘Another Brick in the Wall (part II)’ and ‘Young Lust’, which must have one of the sleaziest riffs ever written, and the more theatrical elements which drove home the concept, made for a very varied gig experience.


The highlight of the main performance was the classic ‘Comfortably Numb’ which combined perfectly with an incredible laser display. But as ‘The Wall’ is a concept album, some of the more theatrical tracks left me awaiting the next screaming guitar solo from either of the two David Gilmours, rather than a note-for-note copy of a filler in Roger Waters’ rock opera story.

Towards the end of the show, the band revealed it’s two mascots. The giant inflatable pig reclaimed from an original Pink Floyd tour and their own giant inflatable Kangaroo in honour of their roots. They rounded off the night with a run-through of some classic Pink Floyd tracks including ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘One of These Days’ and ‘Brain Damage’ from ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.


For the many fans of the original Floyd in the venue, the show would have been a perfect way to remember the vintage gigs and enjoy a favourite album in a live setting again. But for the uninitiated, many of the more ‘concept-based’ tracks would have gone over their heads.

Overall though, the Australian Pink Floyd can take solace in the fact that Pink Floyd themselves were never about the members in the band. From hiding behind light shows in the Syd Barrett days to hiding behind a brick wall, Pink Floyd always prioritised the music over the image of the people that played it. In this sense, it doesn’t matter if it’s played by Aussie copies or the originals. However, I’m sure most people in the NIA that had witnessed the real thing would probably disagree.


1. In the Flesh?
2. The Thin Ice
3. Another Brick in the Wall (Part I)
4. The Happiest Days Of Our Lives
5. Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)
6. Mother
7. Goodbye Blue Sky
8. Empty Spaces
9. Young Lust
10. One Of My Turns
11. Don’t Leave Me Now
12. Another Brick in the Wall (Part III)
13. Goodbye Cruel World
14. Hey You
15. Is There Anybody Out There?
16. Nobody Home
17. Vera
18. Bring the Boys Back Home
19. Comfortably Numb
20. The Show Must Go On
21. In The Flesh
22. Run Like Hell
23. Waiting For The Worms
24. Stop
25. The Trial
26. Outside The Wall
27. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
28. The Great Gig in the Sky
29. Wish You Were Here
30. One of These Days
31. Brain Damage

Review – Ian Ravenscroft
Photos – Katja Ogrin

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