Pink Floyd. You say the name and everyone knows what to expect, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and the interminable whining of the Wall. It’s as if six years of making music has bee expunged from the collective consciousness of the planet and replaced with the Furry Freak Brothers image of the stoner Floyd fan in his bell bottoms toking on a joint and passing out as he attempts to sync Darks Side of the Moon with the Wizard of Oz, “do you start on the second or third roar maaaaaaannnnnn?”
The experimentation and mistakes and side tracks and cul de sacs have been forgotten by all but the completist and obsessive Floyd fan. Who knows the soundtracks and singles and the pop songs any more. It is as if most of the listening world is happy with the sanitized classic rock radio version of the band. This reality has been promoted by David Gilmour and his slick and rehearsed touring band apart from the carefully curated homage to Syd or the nod to the more acceptable soundtrack efforts. But David did sing many of those songs so why not. Roger who has not been been known to stray and loves his Animals but he still unfailingly wants to hang out on the Dark Side or cling to the Wall too much.
So it has been left to the race car collecting drummer to reignite interest in Floyds most diverse period. Actually he was convinced to do it by a Blockhead and a part time Blockhead who hangs with David and Roger and married Rick’s daughter, Lee Harris and Guy Pratt convinced Nick Mason to play those songs recorded before Dark Side and brought along Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet for the ride and Dom Beken who seems to spend most of his time scoring video games when not making all those cool psychedelic sounds.
They called themselves, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Mason calls them The Saucers, I know which one I would have gone with.
What you get is almost the perfect set list for the Floyd psychedelic completist, let’s face it though no early years fanatic is ever going to be truly satisfied. There are nods to the pop, punky, funk and the psychedelic wig outs. Songs about bikes and spaceships, green hair and psychedelic cats and crossdressers. It is the Floyd everyone secretly wanted to go see, or tell everyone they had seen. Nick Mason also makes drumming sound fun with an almost gleeful disregard for time, but plenty of rhythm. His band-members sounds like they are having the time of their lives and the songs sound fresh and wacky and fun again. He also did it without another drummer which means he still has his psychedelic chops, maybe it’s those over rehearsed homages to the big three albums he struggled with?
Throughout the liner notes everyone keeps saying how much fun it was and how friendly they are with each other. Roger even turned up one day to bang the gong again and looked happier than he had in a long time. The whole album exudes jolly bonhomie and happiness, which is how I have always seen Mason, slightly befuddled by his success and truly grateful to have had the gig.
I almost didn’t get this, in fact I cancelled the pre-order, then my Floyd need kicked in and there ya go.
There is now a piece of me that wishes, Roger and David would get there heads on straight and reach into that back catalogue of recordings and release some of those gigs you know where recorded, especially before they became the machine that sang about.