Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets set the controls at The Roundhouse.
A SOLD OUT Roundhouse marched to the beat of the drum from the most influential prog group of them all and whose roots took hold in the musical petri-dish of experimental psychedelia.
Creating some of the most cherished and memorable tunes from that purple hazed era, drummer Nick Mason is helming his own homage to Pink Floyd’s slightly overlooked 1966-1972 period.
Returning to this former railway engine shed designed by Robert Stephenson, the inventor of Stephenson’s Rocket, Mason and Co. launched into tumultuous opening song Interstellar Overdrive. With a psychedelic designed backdrop, occasionally overlayed with a magnificent portrait of Syd Barratt, this devoted band to the cause of early Floyd generated a hypnotically charged Astronomy Domine.
There was a palpable sense of witnessing something special, regained in all of its glory, as bassist Guy Pratt and Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp shared out the vocals on Barratt’s unique and eccentric short songs.
However, it was a transcendentally executed Fearless, from the 1971 Meddle album, that struck the right chord and earned Kemp the respect as a serious musician and obvious ‘prog-head’ from tonight’s enthralled gathering.
Clearly relishing this return to to the beginnings of Floyd, Mason shared warm, humorous insights into the interpersonal dynamics of Pink Floyd between songs. Recalling how Roger Waters was not really a person for sharing, especially when playing Mason’s gong, he rose from his stool and bashed the enormous gong behind his kit with relish.
Covering The Piper at the Gates of Dawn to Obscured by Clouds releases, Atom Heart Mother, The Nile Song and Green Is The Colour floated effortlessly from the stage as guitarist Lee Harris played tight riffs thereby enabling a visibly joyful Kemp and Pratt to perform the vocals.
As he perfectly replicated the late Richard Wright’s keyboard parts, Dom Beken combined with Harris to fire up this impressive musical engine on a sonorous Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. To round off the main set, the deafening head-charge of One Of These Days completed a wonderful musical journey down memory lane from this significant and adored period in musical history.
In 1966, Pink Floyd famously opened this venerable venue for music to launch the underground newspaper International Times. Fifty Two years on, original surviving Pink Floyd member Nick Mason produced one of those days to remember for a long time to come.
Words: Paul Davies Photo: Jill Furmanovsky