Pink Project, June 12th 1998
Dark side of the Moon
25th anniversary Concert
Market Square, Delft, The Netherlands
By Bart Jan van der Vorst


"High Hopes"

Pink Project is an occasional Pink Floyd tribute band, formed by bassist Peter Chattellin, which had received tremendous reviews (unfortunately without the knowledge of yours truly) on their re-creation of the live performances of The Wall in 1996. This year it was decided that the band should be formed again in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon.

The celebration was realised with a free concert at the Market Square in Delft, and would also be the start of the Delft music festival. The concert had been announced with quite a lot of fuss and promised to be something special. With a huge light-show on a 20x10 metre stage this seemed an event not to be missed.

Always in for a good concert and loving the music of Pink Floyd, my friend Derk van Mourik and I decided to travel to Delft. I had seen another Pink Floyd tribute band, The Australian Pink Floyd, perform a month before, and if this band would only be half as good, I'd be more than satisfied.

We arrived at the Market Square when support act Steamy Windows was already half way through their set. Steamy Windows is a band with two female vocalists making rather catchy prog/pop-alike music. I must say that I quite liked their performance (maybe also because of the pleasant looks of the two vocalists), much better than the average support-act. Also the sound was pretty good for an open-air concert.

The stage turned out to be not quite as big as I had in mind after reading the "20x10 metre" description, it seemed a bit low to me. Fortunately there was a huge space being kept free between the stage and the audience (space for special effects? fireworks?) so we didn't have too many people in front of us.
By the time the performance had started however, these areas were packed with people as well (a VIP area then?) and we were having big troubles to see the people on the stage properly, despite the fact that we are both well over 1m90 tall. I wonder why the organisation of the music festival had not built a bigger, or at least a higher stage. It surely can't cost that much to add another metre or so.
The stage was packed with instruments and lights and a (Floyd trademark) round screen hung behind the stage.
We had plenty time before the concert would start, so we had a wander around the square, being able to pick up some good prog-cd's as well as to drool over heaps and heaps of (Pink Floyd) bootlegs.

After Steamy Windows had finished we were treated with some excerpts from Roger Waters' Amused To Death album, however we never got to hear an entire song. At about 10 o'clock a sound effects tape started. It wasn't entirely dark yet and I started fearing they would start before it got dark. Fortunately they waited until it was completely dark and we could "enjoy" the pretty boring sound effects for the next 30 minutes.

At about 10.30 the classic "I know I'm mad, I've always been mad" intro started receiving a loud cheer from the audience. At the time I suspect there were about 1500 to 2000 attendants - not bad for a tribute band at all. The heartbeat effects started and these were accompanied by two red spotlights, which shone at the round screen to the beat of the heart. The heartbeat went on for some time and pretty soon the two guys operating the spotlights lost the synchronicity with the sound of the beat. This caused a completely wrong effect and it became quite irritating when they couldn't manage to flash their light synchronous with the music anymore. It seemed very amateurish to me.

The heartbeat with the non-synchronous lights went on for another 10 minutes and the crowd started growing impatient. Then it finally stopped, only to start all over again with the "I know I've been mad" part. This time the band *did* start playing and they kicked in with Breathe, the first real song of Dark Side (see picture).

It became clear that the band was there to recreate the music of Pink Floyd, rather than recreate the band itself, as a good 10 musicians were on stage. The large amount of musicians required a lot of work from the sound engineer, who unfortunately didn't manage to maintain the good sound quality of the support act. The different instruments sounded a bit blurred and during Breathe Hein van den Broek's lead vocals didn't stand out at all.

On the run followed, with even the strangest sound effects being recreated by keyboard wizards Danyo Romijn and Tom Spaapen. This song was played really well, with pretty effective lighting and (custom made) images of aeroplanes being projected at the round screen. Because of the size of the stage this screen was rather hanging behind the band and instruments than *above* the band. This (together with the stage itself being so low) made it difficult to properly see the footage that was being shown.
There had been no room for a live plane crash in the budget, so the effect was created by a lot of flashing lights and the heavy sound of an explosion which followed a *little* too late. Again the effect got spoiled by the bad timing of either the lighting director or the sound engineer.

Bells ringed, an NS-train clock was shown and the next song Time kicked in (see picture), featuring a very original opening. The tick-tock sound of the clocks was being played live on a set of congas by percussionist Job Tarenskeen, with drummer Ronald Kokshoorn banging the drums like a mad-man.

After a fine version of Time the first special guest of the evening got called on stage: Opera singer Marieke Koster came to sing the solo vocals of Great Gig in the Sky (see picture). She sang it beautifully, with shivers running down my spine. This was definitely *the* highlight of the entire concert, although I didn't realise it at the moment.

The quality of the entire performance fell down with the next song Money being one of the worst parts of the show. They started with a shaky version of the song, which, after the vocal parts had finished, continued as some sort of jam-session that lasted for about 10 minutes in total. In my personal opinion you have to be very wary about jamming when you're trying to recreate someone else's music, as it can become quite irritating and boring for the audience, which is obviously more interested in the music they know than in the band's abilities to jam. The continuous solos of the various band members didn't seem well-rehearsed to me either.

A moderately played version of Us and Them followed, with a good performance of Job Taranskeen on saxophone, and a lesser performance of vocalist Hein. The instrumental Any Colour You Like that followed featured a pretty good extended guitarsolo by Menno van der Mark. This was one of the few times that his performance really stood out.

The first set finished with fine versions of Brain Damage (see picture) and Eclipse, which again had custom made footage (taken from NOS-news) being shown on the round screen.

Altogether the performance of Dark side was quite good, with Great Gig being the absolute highlight, and Money being the worst part. The lighting worked quite well and the footage was well made and clearly inspired by the footage Pink Floyd themselves used during their performances, as it can be seen on the P.U.L.S.E. video. When I saw the real Pink Floyd in '94 they didn't play Dark Side in its entirety, so to me it was really special to finally see the album being played song by song.

The band came back after about 10 minutes and afterwards I actually wished they hadn't. Mellow keyboard tones started playing and a pretty big silver diamond was hauled into the air, in front of the stage. The song they played was (of course) Shine on You Crazy Diamond. Although guitarist Menno really screwed up the guitar intro, the song itself was played quite well. They only played part 1 (or part 1 thru 5 for the older fans among us) which finished after (an again screwed up) saxophone solo. This version came not anywhere *near* the version I had seen The Australian Pink Floyd play a month earlier. I did my best not to draw any comparisons between the two tribute bands, by I couldn't stop myself doing so.

The next song they played had a guest musician again: The legendary Jan Akkerman (from Focus, see picture) joined the band for Another Brick in the Wall. They played the P.U.L.S.E. version, which starts with helicopter sounds and the end of Another Brick pt 1 then flows into the finale of Happiest days of our Lives (the first time the one male and two female background vocalists actually made a notable performance) before kicking in with Another Brick pt 2.
During the song footage was being shown of the very same Pink Project performing The Wall in 1996.

Jan Akkerman played the end solo of the song and rather than copying Dave Gilmour's solo he played it in his own, unique style. Akkerman played on and on and actually had to be stopped by percussionist/saxophonist Job, as the song was supposed to feature a Hammond solo as well. Some startled looks back and forward, laughter and a short, shaky Hammond solo finally finished the song, a good 10 minutes after it had started.
Although I quite liked this version of the song, it once more appeared very badly rehearsed and a bit amateurish.

Some band members left the stage, so that bassist Peter could sing the next song: Echoes (see right picture). While part of the film The Abyss was being shown on the screen, the band played a fast version of this song.
Again I started drawing comparisons with a month earlier. The Australian Pink Floyd had also played Echoes and I had the impression that, despite it's beauty, it simply isn't a song to be performed live. APF nearly changed my mind with a 23-minute heavy version of the song, yet the Pink Project had chosen a different approach: They had shortened the song to something just under 15 minutes!!!

During the first part the vocals could hardly be heard, because the keyboards were too loud (and seemed to play in the wrong key as well). The song really collapsed with the Whale/Seagull part, which was utterly fucked up by Menno van der Mark. I was glad that the song finished after those 15 minutes, as apart from the shown footage, it was not really worth watching. This the more seems to prove my statement once again that Echoes shouldn't be played live unless the performance is perfectly note-sharp and the audience consists of nothing but Pink Floyd die-hards. Otherwise it simply bores most of the audience to death.

The audience's attention was being drawn back to the stage with a pretty good performance of One of These Days. During this song a huge inflatable pink pig appeared above the audience and got, hanging on ropes, hauled over the heads of the audience towards the control tower in the back. Due to either the low stage, or a miscalculation in the design of the show, the pig didn't really stay above the crowd, but actually plunged into the audience, where it naturally got stuck, entangled in the wires and eventually killed by someone who stuck a knife in its belly. I couldn't see what happened when the pig got cut leak, but I reckon that a good lot of people got covered with pieces of pink plastic. Due to all the fuss I missed half of the song.
Unfortunately many people in the audience were still dealing with the remains of the pig when the band played a soft, but fine version of Wish You Were Here.

Jan Akkerman joined the band once more to play the solos of the next song: Comfortably Numb. Again, his solos were perfect, no note-for-note recreation, but his own, superb interpretation. The musicians seemed to have found their act together again and they played really well. However, at this point the lighting director decided to call it a day and he managed to utterly *destroy* the already not so effective lightshow.
It is some sort of unwritten rule that at some part in the final guitarsolo of Comfortably Numb a mirrorball appears at which massive white light-beams are being pointed (see picture). The mirrorball was there (in fact it had already been used during another song) and the fact that in this case the light-beams were blue didn't matter to me, however, this sequence started while Hein was still singing the second verse!!
By the time Jan Akkerman started his solo the lights were switched back to normal.

At the end of Comfortably Numb there were a lot of flashing lights, the kind of lights that are trademark to the song Run Like Hell. This song however didn't get played; in fact, the band said, "Thank you good night" and left the stage.
After 3 minutes they came back for an encore, and they did play the anticipated Run Like Hell yet the lighting director had switched back to automatic pilot and the intro to the song (a guitar with a lot of reverb) was played in full light.

After a terrible Run Like Hell Jan Akkerman came on-stage once more to accompany the band with the final song: High Hopes. For this song Marieke Koster also got hauled back on stage, and she joined the backing vocal section. Fortunately this song was played quite well, and the footage they showed was genuine Pink Floyd material: The videoclip of High Hopes.

The fine version of High Hopes made up for the most of the mess during the second set, however afterwards I actually wished they had stopped playing after Dark Side which was much and much better than any song they played in the second set.
Also the choice of the setlist was a bit poor, especially the encores. I think it would have been much better to finish the main set with High Hopes and play Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell as the encore. Again, this is some sort of unwritten Pink Floyd law to finish with those two songs. Pink Floyd themselves have not done differently in 15 years.

In conclusion it was a bit of a disappointment to me, especially the second half. Maybe it was because of the surprisingly good performance of APF a month earlier, or that it was just an overkill of Pink Floyd tribute bands, I don't know, but the poor sound quality, bad lighting and meagre performance in the second half completely spoiled the thrill of the first half for me.
Also comparing the size of the project and the actual performance of the show, it appeared a bit unorganised or badly rehearsed to me.

On the other hand, considering it is only an occasional band, a tribute band *and* a free concert, I shouldn't judge too hard on them. After all it was a good 2 hours of entertainment, and I have seen much worse concerts even from professional bands!

Band:

Hein van den Broek - Lead Vocals
Peter Chattellin - Bass, Vocals
Menno van der Mark - Guitar
Tom Spaapen - Keyboards, Guitar, Hammond, Vocals
Danyo Romijn - Keyboards, Guitar, Hammond
Ronald Kokshoorn - Drums
Job Tarenskeen - Saxophone, Percussion
Evelien van der Kruit - Backing Vocals
Trudy van Starrenburg - Backing Vocals
Andre van Solinge - Backing Vocals

Special Guests:

Marieke Koster - Vocals
Jan Akkerman - Lead Guitar

Setlist:

Dark Side of the Moon:
Speak to Me
Breathe
On the Run
Time
The Great Gig in the Sky
Money
Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Brain Damage
Eclipse

Shine on You Crazy Diamond part 1
Another Brick in the Wall part 2
Echoes
One of these Days
Wish You Were Here
Comfortably Numb

Run Like Hell
High Hopes

There's also another review and a review of the Try Out Session in the Concert Reviews Archive.

 

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