(All Album Reviews by Sean)
I ran across this CD unexpectedly the other day while I was at Barnes and Noble. I heard it was coming but forgot about it, so it was cool to pick up a copy. I saw this tour last summer and walked away only semi-impressed. "We just paid to see a Pink Floyd cover band" my friend said. I had to agree. It seemed to lack a lot of the magic. No flying pigs or explosions either. But I remember a few songs that were great to hear live, so I picked up the CD anyway. I was really surprised when I listened to it, it was better than I remembered!
Waters had a large ensemble in tow for these shows. 3 guitarists! 3 fine female vocalists. 2 keybordists. And more... Musically this is a great band that took a lot of care to recreate the songs, nearly note-for-note. Still it's not nearly as sterile sounding as some of the recent Pink Floyd live recordings. The fact that some different people are playing these tunes is a big plus here. They inject some badly needed energy into the mix. Also a good dose of each players personality. Vocally it's a mixed bag. Waters sings the lions share of songs. Many of which David Gilmour sang originally. The results are overall good, though his delivery sounds a little winded at times. In the last 10 years he's adopted a vocal style that reminds me of an old man muttering, almost. You can hear him use it to a great extent on his Amused To Death solo CD from a few years ago. Sometimes it's cool to hear this half talking/half singing style, other times he just sounds...winded. This is a minor gripe, overall he hits all the right notes and delivers with power.
Other vocals are covered by guitarist Doyle Bramhall. Being from the USA his style of singing isn't much like Gilmour's, so his vocals have an unwanted American quality that isn't true to the original tunes. This can be a plus or minus, depending on the listener. On the other hand, keyboardist and Pink Floyd alumni, Jon Carin, turns in a nearly drop dead Gilmour vocal impersonation. It's a shame they didn't let him handle all of Gilmour's vocal parts. I think this set would have been even better if he did. The girls on here are FANTASTIC! Some of the best female vocals I have heard in a long time. They blow the girls from Floyd's Division Bell tour right out of the water, IMO.The song selection is vast.
He starts the show with Wall material and works his way back, pretty much. Along the way he covers all the obligatory hits and throws in a few tunes that even Pink Floyd had not done live in over 20 years. Most notable, a stellar rendering of "Dogs" from the Animals album. This song is a perfect vehicle for the 3 guitars in Water's band. All the harmony parts are nailed. Carin's vocals are eerily like Gilmour's. All the barking dogs and sound effects are all here. THIS was the highlight of the show and this 2 CD set. If you love the Animals album, get this CD for this tune alone, it's worth it. It sounds big and bold and fresh here. I doubt even Floyd covered it this well back in the day.
Also, "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun" is included. The oldest song on this 2 CD set, this version is smoking! Another tune that hasn't been played live in years. Don't miss this! This is the perfect CD for someone who has heard it all before and is on the verge of being burnt out on Floyd, or the newcomer. Both will find this bands take on the old classics to be fresh and exciting. Prog Fans take note too, there's 2 nearly 20 minute epics to enjoy here too! Also there's a bonus track, a brand new Water's song called "Each Small Candle." I thought I had heard it all before. I was right, but I never heard it quite like this.