Niagara Gazette

July 29, 2013

Machine ready to rev up Pink Floyd on Tuesday

By Thom Jennings
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — On Tuesday, a perennial favorite returns to the Artpark stage as The Machine performs Pink Floyd comes to town for a 6:30 p.m. performance.

Last week’s scheduled performance from The Pink Floyd Experience in Lockport was rained out, so once again this summer Floyd fans have one choice to hear their favorite band’s music performed live.

Having seen The Machine a number of times, I can firmly attest to the fact that if you are a fan of Pink Floyd then you will undoubtedly love The Machine. Even though the band plays Pink Floyd songs, they mix up their sets and leave plenty of room for improvisation.

The early part of the set will be all about the music, but the latter part of the set is when the light show gets really cool. This is the only show of the season I bring a lawn chair and sit back and really soak in the band and the theatrics.

If you need a primer on Pink Floyd, The name Pink Floyd is a combination of two blues artists, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The two appeared in the liner notes of an album by Blind Boy Fuller, and founding Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett combined them to come up with one of the most recognizable names in rock music.

In the 1960s, Pink Floyd established themselves at the forefront of the psychedelic rock sound. The group, formed in England in 1965 by a group of high school and college friends, soon became known for their experimental sound and unique light shows.

Pink Floyd’s first commercial release came in 1967 with “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” an album that featured Barrett, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. A year later, they released “A Saucerful of Secrets,” at which time David Gilmour joined the band as a replacement for Barrett who was dealing with severe mental health issues, a situation that would heavily influence the band’s songwriting.

The Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason lineup achieved their greatest success with 1973’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” the fifth most popular album of all time in sales. It stayed on the Billboard Top 100 charts for an astounding 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988 including a staggering 591 consecutive weeks.

After “Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd recorded “Wish You Were Here,” during which Syd Barrett made a surprise visit to the recording sessions. That album was followed up by “Animals,” and the group’s first major stadium tour.

In 1979, Pink Floyd released another groundbreaking album, “The Wall” a rock opera epic that inspired a feature film of the same name and spawned one of rock’s most famous stage productions, which Waters’ recently replicated as a solo performer.

After “The Wall,” Pink Floyd began to deal with creative tensions, which first led to the departure of keyboardist Richard Wright, and then the dissolution of the band shortly after “The Final Cut” was released.

A reformed Pink Floyd sans Waters appeared in 1987 with the album “Momentary Lapse of Reason” and a subsequent tour, which featured the return of Richard Wright.

Pink Floyd’s final full concert performance occurred on Oct. 29, 1994, in London, after which all of the members pursued solo careers.

In 2005, Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason performed at the Live 8 concert. At the performance, Waters thanked Syd Barrett who died a year later. Richard Wright died in 2008, ending the possibility of a full reunion.

In recent years, Gilmour and Waters have sporadically performed together, once three years ago at a charity benefit and then once when Gilmour performed at one of Water’s performances of “The Wall.”

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for the Gazette.