Pink Fraud, February 11th, 2001
The Saloon, Zeeland, The Netherlands
By Ed Sander
By chance I was told about a performance of a British Pink Floyd cover band called 'Pink Fraud' in the small rural town of Zeeland, only 5 kilometres from my hometown. Looking at their web site, I noticed that among their setlists were a complete Live in Pompeii set and a complete Dark Side of the Moon set. As a matter of fact, the gig was advertised in local papers as a two hour show including the full Dark Side. This could become a fun evening !
Walking into the venue, The Saloon, which turned out to be a pub in western style, we found the place packed. Not with people but with equipment. It was about 6 o' clock and the band, who were supposed to be on at 7, were still setting up their rig and sound checking. It was no surprise when it was well past 8 o'clock before the band had finally eaten and was ready to play. In the meantime me and Mark had noticed that the pint-sized glasses were relatively cheap compared to the little pathetic beer glasses. We had already downed several before the band had even played one note. By that time a certain DPRP member that was supposed to write the review would even have been raving if Willie Nelson would have stepped on stage.
The Saloon is a cool place; they play descent music and have some very nice folks behind the bar. One of them, probably the owner of the pub and/or the initiator of the gig, was clearly a Dark Side fan; singing along with all the songs later during the evening. Couldn't help myself joining him after all those pints. ;-)
Talking about the stage, there actually wasn't one. The band had cramped themselves and their equipment in the front of the pub, with less than a square meter for the string players to move around. A white backdrop had been hung up behind the band and several meters in front of the band another white sheet hanging from the ceiling. While the backdrop would occasionally show some footage the band had probably shot or gathered themselves the high 'screen' would sometimes show bits and pieces of Pink Floyd's Pulse movie. This was a rather strange thing, seeing Pink Floyd play live and hearing the cover band's versions on top. As far as I'm concerned this downgraded the band and I would advise them to refrain from using Floyd live footage again.
Besides the live footage the band also used oil-slides, two varilights and lots of smoke. All of this resulted in what probably was the coolest light show ever in a small pub. The projections were played by one of those big noisy old 16 mm film projectors. Blimey, I didn't know that people were still using these !
I've seen quite some Pink Floyd cover bands in the last 15 years and Pink Fraud turned out to be an average one. They were better than Pink Noise and more technically skilled than Anderson Council, but weren't as good as bands like Pink Project or The Australian Pink Floyd show. The bass player, keyboard player and drummer did very well, but I have heard far better 'Gilmour imitations' on guitar. As a matter of fact, the guy looked more like the contemporary Gilmour than he sounded like him. Considering the rather weak vocal performance of the bass and guitar players in some song the guitarist was a bit of a weak link in the band.
Before the band started playing the announcer mentioned that they had played in Amsterdam the day before and that folks from the Pinkpop and Parkpop organisations had been present, thereby implying that the bands would soon be playing these major festivals. I would be highly surprised if this would indeed happen.
The band opened with Shine On You Crazy Diamond, which was an okay version, and continued with a large chunk of The Wall. Having seen too many Wall tribute shows already I was a bit disappointed with this choice. I also thought that they didn't play this material that well and the vocals were pretty weak. As a matter of fact we could hear every word of the conversations between band members. Among those were 'I can't see what I'm playing, it's so dark here !' - which wasn't a funny way of introducing Let There Be More Light as you might think - and 'I'm starting to lose my voice !'.
The Wall songs were played without any improvisation - much like the rest of the gig - and even Another Brick 2 didn't feature the extra keyboard and guitar solos that Floyd normally added after the first guitar solo. This resulted in a rather abrupt ending of the hit song.
The next part of the set was much more interesting. The band returned to the late sixties/early seventies with some stuff from the Live in Pompeii set and the Meddle album. First, they played Careful With That Axe Eugene and immediately it became clear that the band was much more comfortable with this early stuff. Unfortunately though, their rendition of this Floyd oldie did not feature the characteristic screams. Too embarrassing ?
Next up was the biggest surprise of the evening: Fearless. Now, there's something different ! Haven't heard many cover bands play this great underrated tune. The vocals were also much more reasonable during this song.
The first half of the set was closed with a nice version of Echoes, during which a mirrorball was used to throw specs of light on the audience. The people who had gathered in the front half of the bar were obviously enjoying themselves a lot, something which cannot be said for the 'regulars' in the back, who were talking and laughing throughout the quiet parts.
When the band returned from their break they announced that the saxophone player, who had made an appearance during Shine On ... had fallen ill and would not return. The second part of the evening consisted of the full version of Dark Side of the Moon .... without saxophone solos. The rendition was a very reasonable one. On The Run sounded so amazingly close to the original that I'm suspecting the band of using a lot of samples on that one - if not the whole song.
A special section was the appearance of a female vocalist for during The Great Gig in the Sky. She did a very good job - not brilliant, but very good ! A highlight of the evening.
Once again the band proved to be more comfortable with the older material. Still, they weren't able to play a close copy of the keyboard parts in Any Colour You Like. Then again, neither have Pink Floyd themselves.
The small crowd were really enjoying themselves tremendously and the two encores - you guessed them - Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb were received with much enthusiasm. And then it was over ......
To wrap it up, the band is not 'the ultimate pink floyd tribute' which they claim to be on their web site. They play some very reasonable versions of some of the material, but some other stuff is just very average. I think they should specialize in the (early) seventies material of Atom Heart Mother, Meddle and Dark Side of the Moon and forget about songs from albums like The Wall, which they don't play as well and is also over-performed by many other cover bands to begin with. I would have loved to hear them play Sheep, Dogs or One of These Days - which seemingly are also played by the band - instead of the material from The Wall and Wish You Were Here.
Nevertheless, I had a very nice evening. Even if the band wasn't the best cover band I've seen, it is good to hang out in a local pub and hear a live band play some of your favourite songs. And The Saloon turned out to be a nice place with nice people ! Still, if I would have driven 2 hours to see the band live and would have stayed off the beers I would probably have been quite disappointed. So, all in all ..... go check them out when they play near where you live. Grab a couple of pints, hang back and relax ! Just don't expect one of the best Floyd cover bands around.
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
In The Flesh ?
The Thin Ice
Another Brick in the Wall (part one)
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall (part two)
Careful With That Axe, Eugene
- Break -
Speak To Me / Breathe
On The Run
Time / Breathe Reprise
The Great Gig in the Sky
Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Wish You Were Here