Chicago Theatre
Thursday 4/4/19

Nick Mason’s psych brigade Saucerful of Secrets hits town at the Chicago Theatre- a show that has been eagerly anticipated since Nick’s announcement came out a little over six months ago about embarking on a North American Tour.
Nick Mason’s re- emergence with the splendid Saucerful of Secrets, which in essence is performing material exclusively cherry picked from Pink Floyd’s rich catalog pre- Dark Side of the Moon…an era in which the Floyd immersed themselves in some fine psych rock- so lots and lots of gold to pick from.
You have of course the opener “Interstellar Overdrive”, and then the heavy duty “Astronomy Domine”- a one – two punch of psychedelia to knock your socks off.
Embraced in heavy hues of magenta and purples, with a back drop immersed with the logo like it came out of 1968, with flickering shadows and looming sonics to leave you trippy, whether you’re stoned or not.
The Syd era lives in Saucerful of Secrets- an inspired notion from Nick Mason to relive these songs- to make them whole again.
And with Patrick Woodroffe’s remarkable, and down to the the detail late 1960’s era appropriate lights and exquisite back projections performing the heavy lifting, the hardcore Floyd fans are in for a head swimming ride.
The guys sound like a a thrilling, motivated young and hungry outfit, and from my viewpoint, there’s constant smiles all around between them.
You’ve got guitarist and singer Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet fame, long- time Pink Floyd and David Gilmour bass player Guy Pratt, Blockheads guitarist Lee Harris, and producer / composer Dom Beken on keyboards.
This band lineup works- all of these guys adore Pink Floyd and Prog in general, including Gary Kemp, and they instinctively work on a telepathic level.
As much as the setlist hasn’t changed much since Saucerful of Secrets was launched back in the UK and Europe for multiple shows- there are still a few surprises in delivery, especially with songs such as “Remember a Day”, a song that has been rarely played live.
Later on in the set, “Childhood’s End” from Obscured by Clouds makes a welcome appearance, which sounds so innocent and serene.
In and around the whole set, you get nuggets such as “See Emily Play” (which is oh so sixties, to the point and a nod to the Moody Blues), “Vegetable Man” and “Arnold Layne”, to name a few more.
Excerpts of Atom Heart Mother are delivered with a polished sheen which shows the complexity of this motivated band, highlighting again the beauty of pre Dark Side from the Floyd.
And then deep in the set we get “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, a song so enveloping and mysterious and riveting to this very day- a song that when Roger Waters occasionally unearths it on his solo tours now and again- you can hear a pin drop in the arenas- everyone is so hushed.
Same with the Chicago fans at the Chicago Theatre.
That song is the be all- end all.
Behind his two bass drum kit, seemingly unruffled and as cool as ever in a rolled up long sleeve white pressed shirt, Nick Mason smiles and waves to the crowd, and takes delight in performing these songs live.
His particular sense of timekeeping is the very heartbeat that lights the fires on so many of these early Pink Floyd songs- resurrecting these nuggets and elegantly putting them on display for one and all.
Nick Mason, who rarely plays live- is well deserved to have his time in the spotlight, capturing in posterity an era of Pink Floyd that is often overlooked and forgotten.
The setlist- the show- the overall look and feel- is a thing of beauty.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographer

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