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Home arrow Reviews arrow Concerts arrow Pink Floyd - 1994 US tour reviews, part 1
Pink Floyd - 1994 US tour reviews, part 1 Print E-mail

APRIL 28th & 29th - DALLAS, TEXAS
Texas Stadium

No amount of gimmickry can obscure the wretchedness of newer songs like What Do Want From Me and Take It Back, but at this point the music was largely irrelevant; lasers were deployed, a grid of lights just in front of the stage fired away, and, as the opening set ended with One Of These Days, two giant horned pigs emerged from towers on either side of the stage and, amid pyro-a-plenty, fell to the ground at the song's conclusion. This was the evening's highlight, if only because it was so absurdly bombastic and such ridiculous overkill.

The show's second half was merely more of the same; an endless, pummeling round of lasers and flashing lights, several sub-MTV-video movies played on a screen behind the band, the light grid in front of the stage spelling out "Hey Teacher" during Another Brick in the Wall, and so on.

How, I wondered, would Pink Floyd or anybody else top this? But, of course, that was the point - and, of course, they will. I couldn't care less, but they will.
(Excerpt from report by Dave Ferman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram 29th April 1994)

Though the concert began a few minutes past its scheduled time, it didn't really begin until long after it started. With the first half devoted to songs drawn from The Division Bell, the audience had plenty of time to reflect without distraction on how cool lasers are. Sure, people cheered wildly at the end of every song, but then before the show began they were cheering wildly at the beach balls being bounced around.

With the greatest hits packaging of the second set, the show seemed somewhat more like a concert than a Disney-on-ice planetarium. That is, there were songs that people recognized and enjoyed hearing to go along with the fireworks and giant inflatable hogs.

The easy riff on Pink Floyd is that the band is a relic of itself, a rock dinosaur making music that ceased to matter years ago. However you view the band, it is strange to enter a concert experience in which the visual spectacle has so bluntly superseded the music: Quite literally, you go to Pink Floyd to see the concert.
(Excerpt from report by Tom Maurstad, The Dallas Morning News 30th April 1994)

MAY 1st - BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
Legion Field

Reader Review by Tony Butler

It was their first performance in the state of Alabama, and the more than 55,000 fans that packed Legion Field were treated to a once in a lifetime show. The evening was surprisingly chilly, but the band was typically hot!

The moment we had all been waiting for started at 8:15. After 20 minutes of sound effects amplified through the world's only stadium-sized quadraphonic sound system, the group started into Astronomy Domine, followed by Learning To Fly. At times it seemed as though the lights were actually dancing to the music without the need for mechanical control. You could definitely say the music and light spectacle were together as one. The remainder of the first set was filled with songs from Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell, except for the climactic first half end of One of These Days, highlighted by the appearance of two Volkswagon-sized pigs. The band then informed us they would be back in fifteen minutes after a well-deserved break. Meanwhile, I had to catch my breath after experiencing one half of a phenomenal show!

The stadium lights went out and the second set began as the "flying screen" was raised atop the dwarfed band members. They stroked through Shine on You Crazy Diamond and other hits from Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall. High Hopes followed Breathe (reprise) as a huge bell rang in tempo. The song talks of better times, and I even believe it suggests the band's sentiment towards the detached Roger Waters.

During Comfortably Numb, Gilmour's extraordinary solo enhanced the sensation of the mirror ball. It seemed as if we were all taking a ride inside Legion Field, and the Floydian Captains magnified our amusement when they slowed the ball down, made it dance back and forth, then spun it in the other direction. Meanwhile, I'll bet people in Cullman (approximately 30 miles away) could hear Gilmour wailing away during this solo! All together it was simply stunning. The crowd roared with approval and rallied the cheers into the encore of Hey You and the finale of Run Like Hell. A complete list of all special effects were run by our senses for one final look of amazement. Then a complete fireworks display filled the air and brought to the end one truly amazing spectacle.

Pink Floyd sets the industry standard for excellence with their astounding shows. It was definitely the best I've ever seen in my life.

MAY 3rd & 4th - ATLANTA, GEORGIA
Georgia Tech

Reader Comments by Connie W. Nalley

After attending three of the Pink Floyd concerts in Georgia and Alabama, I must confess: They were the concert events of my life! To all you people out there who were skeptical about David, Nick, and Rick being able to pull it off without Rog... well, you might as well coat both feet with chocolate. They'll taste better!

I went to the MLOR concert in Atlanta in 1987 and thought it was the most spectacular, emotionally moving thing I had ever seen. I'll never forget it - but THIS show was simply stupendous. Of course there were lasers, great special effects, and other wonders of wizardry that any serious Floyd fan would expect. But on an even more basic and deep level, there was a kinship of the music and the audience that grew more and more intimate throughout the show. The expressions on the faces of the musicians were not to be mistaken - even though they had to be exhausted from touring on the road, they were really having fun and JAMMING! David Gilmour is still more adept at evoking an almost enraptured response to Pink Floyd's performance!

Also, to dispel any myths about the first Atlanta concert, the rumour was that Bill Clinton played the sax and Whitney Houston did some backup vocals. WRONG! And how dare anyone insult Pink Floyd by insinuating that a President or a fly-by-night pop vocalist could have even been noticed at a show of that caliber? Every eye was on David Gilmour and his Stratocaster of choice... or on the well-planned special effects of the evening. Pink Floyd's music throughout the years has had a profound effect on my life, and I hope that we will look at how abundantly talented they are and follow a terrific example of putting our talents to use for the good of everyone.

MAY 8th - NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
Vanderbilt University Stadium

In What was one of the most anticipated shows of the year, Pink Floyd brought its much-hyped tour in support of its No.1 album The Division Bell to Vanderbilt Stadium, a venue that hadn't hosted a rock concert since the early 70's. The crowd of 40,000 plus, a remarkably diverse lot in terms of age and appearance, let up a roar when the lights went down and the group took the stage.

One of the definite highlights of the first set was On The Turning Away, with Gilmour's ever-trusty signature guitar work pouring out as keyboardist Rick Wright, drummer Nick Mason, and a superb supporting cast of musicians wove an uplifting, heavenly vibe from the stark song. Some say Pink Floyd's best musical accomplishments are far behind them, but the group this night proved that they are still one of the top live acts and quite capable of continuing on as a dynamic force even without Roger Waters.
(From "Bone" June 1994, by Andy Anderson)

MAY 10th - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
Carter-Finley Stadium

Astronomy Domine, Learning to Fly, What Do You Want From Me, A Great Day For Freedom, Sorrow, Take It Back, On the Turning Away, Keep Talking, One of These Days, [Intermission], Shine On (1-5), Breathe, Time, High Hopes, Wish You Were Here, Another Brick Part 2, Great Gig in the Sky, Us and Them, Money, Comfortably Numb, [Encore] Hey You, Run Like Hell.

Review by Paul Powell Jr.

Something ominous appeared in the skies above North Carolina on May 10th. At first it frightened us, even the small creatures clamoring together, looked to the skies and then covered their eyes. Later it seemed like just another celestial event, but as the annular solar eclipse passed, our blazing sun re-emerged unchanged. Curiously, anticipation of the day's other celebrated event seemed to take on an equally potent meaning. Appearing in our large gladiator bowl was Pink Floyd, celebrated for redefining the live spectacle and unquestionably renowned to be the first band in space. Was this version of the Pink Floyd show capable of flipping our wigs again?!

As I sat and awaited darkness, a stream of taped music played over the chatter. Directly in front of us the huge shell and stage sat impressively filled with instruments as a few technicians rushed to make last minute checks. To the left and right wings, two towers filled with a vast assortment of speakers sat mostly silent and high atop each tower a canopy held a surprise inside. By now the taped songs had given way to the famous tape of ambient music as soothing sounds of a pleasant country meadow enveloped the stadium. Accented with various mechanical noises like a circling plane and a roving lawn mower, the atmosphere of earth music was classic Floydian strategy. Now active, the three "surround" speaker positions comprised the remaining sound system. All of the speaker sections were in fact smaller, but refined in sound quality using high-tech and very efficient drivers and bass bins.

Soon overhead a curious sight appeared... No, it was not the famous Pink Floyd airship, but a real plane trailing a banner behind which read "Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge on sale July 12th." How amusing and ironic I thought, where was this big sack of helium anyway? Behind us was a three-story encampment which housed the film projectors, mixing and lighting boards, vast racks of sound equipment, and glowing banks of Macintosh computers, from which the show is controlled with the sure click of a fearless mouse.

Finally the lights dimmed and movement onstage was followed by a hearty roar from the crowd. Suddenly a universe of animated planets orbited inside the shell as the morse code and bass sounds grew more exciting. This soon gave way to a protoplasmic blue and gray amoeba which coated every surface and person inside with liquid pulsations. Warping time and space, Astronomy Domine effectively blew our collective minds wide open as the boys revisited the magic of 1967. Left breathless, the combination of liquid lights and vintage sounds struck a chord deep inside me. In these golden psychedelic moments, the chaotic and swinging London underground seemed transported to 1994. I was really proud the Floyd gave me a taste, as the era is only a legend rather than a reality to me.

Smoothly making the transition to Learning To Fly with the full band now on stage, the shell interior became awash with animated birds. With Gary's dense cache of percussion and Tim's extra guitar, the sound filled out fully textured in the mix. Soon the lasers appeared as a blaze of tentacles reaching into the sky, vibrant and glowing like vast neon tubes of inert gas. Even as their repeated appearance over the concert's duration diminished the stun effect slightly, these potent lasers had a power which was intoxicating and numbing.

More importantly the band's performance was impeccably polished and passionately played, and if you were close enough, occasionally their expressions came through the mask. A well received and energetic What Do You Want From Me followed, and much to my surprise, it was better live and should survive to tour again. Colourful backlighting inside the shell silhouetted the band to great effect throughout this concert, still down-playing the personalities, but leaving no doubt Dave was the musical focus. Slowing the pace we peeled the euphoric glazes off our faces for the new ballad A Great Day For Freedom. With its understated mood and lighting, the song concluded gracefully with a melodic guitar solo. I had hoped for Poles Apart or Lost For Words, but these were not in tonight's set list.

Sorrow then greeted the crowd with its big grungy chords and mirrored stage lasers. For the most part a new and curious lighting effect of vertical lines of black and gray encased the stage. These moving like an iron gate flowed along with blankets of dry ice and created a spooky effect for the foreboding song. A dramatic Take It Back featured yet another dazzling laser spread, awesome yes, but I was more concerned with a cropping of trees behind me as they were being blasted by these atomic grade lasers. I expected at any moment a few trees to burst into flames!

A gracefully building On The Turning Away was another highlight, the sweeping guitar brought everyone to their feet and kept them there. Every nuance of sound was coherent and clear. There has been some talk of muddy and weak sound at some of the shows, especially the perimeters, but I can only speak of my experience in the 15th row center as being a peak sonic experience and really no complaints to be voiced, ideally it was sonorous and groovy at the same time.

The enigmatic Keep talking was next with all the familiar Floydian patterns and ambient sound effects. The production added to the song's character with moving projections of graphic images similar to hieroglyphics and the floating mix added much to the surreal presentation. The quad sound was so compelling that Stephen Hawking's voice would seem to float around the stadium only to creep up behind you while the ambient washes of instruments would wander in search of a center. On the base of the stage, patterns of small lights would seem to spell out words. I think "Just Keep Talking" was one message.

The song which tapped the masses primal response was One of These Days. Galloping into motion with an enveloping raw thrust, the throbbing bass pummeled us senseless while strings of lights raced around the shell's circumference. Inside the shell crawling images and brilliant washes of color became as one, acidic steel guitar notes melted into tangles of furious chaos and sweeping keyboards all coalesced into a seductive brew.

Now appearing up in the left and right tower corners two wicked wart-hogs lunged and cavorted, their laser eyes ablaze and their foaming expressions menacing. As each chord sequence peaked, a series of flashpots went off onstage. With each explosive flash my skin grew warmer as night turned momentarily into day. The band raged on like ravenous wild animals salivating for fresh meat. Again and again these white-hot blasts shot into the night air while the frenzied rows in front were nearly to the point of moshing. Still bound above, the psychotic beasts suddenly leapt from their moorings and crashed into the ground below deflated and lifeless. Underneath the starry skies this cool Carolina night, the Pink machine drew blood, and the masses responded with an ecstatic roar. The band then left the stage promising more in the second half.

Set two began with two intersecting patterns of light floating inside the shell. As the pensive chords of Shine On progressed, slowly the circular screen rose majestically into position above the band. Soon filmed images of a young boy filled the screen with passing scenes of a childhood. The time period seemed to be placed in the early 60's somewhere in England. In one surreal scene he approached a lone door frame guarded by two dogs. Pausing, he opened a cloth in his hand. Looking closer we see an orange, a plum and a matchbox. In a brilliant stroke of insight, Storm Thorgerson evoked a memory from Syd's first acid trip! During the experience Syd held these very objects as close companions as he floated between them, tripping. To him the orange was Jupiter and the plum was Venus.

There's not a clue what the matchbox represented, but to Syd these objects were the keys to both an altered reality and the tangible one. At least for one trip, as a friend suddenly had a craving for plums and took a big bite from it! As the film continues, we see Syd growing into manhood as he devours all the pleasures of life. Along the way he encounters a new psychedelic kingdom. Curious he enters this new reality and watches it unfold. Soon the excesses of perception become facets which he is unable to deal with and ultimately leads to his downfall. Engulfed in a paradox of images, he succumbs to this altered reality and is shattered by it. After the journey ends, we find him standing alone in an empty concrete pool covered with Pink African daisies. Now older and broken in spirit he sweeps the lifeless flowers up inside the massive tomb as the camera pans away. As Shine On faded away with Dick Parry's sax wailing further, I heard the familiar pulse beating into Breathe.

Soon the eloquent chords of music washed over us as a warm kaleidoscope of colour unfolded on the screen above. Flavoured with cones of panoramic lasers, this song was like a picnic for the mind complete with little fluffy clouds and sparkling sounds. Spinning away in darkness, the old animated clock gave way to an entirely new collage of computer generated images, comprised of a flood of clock parts, gears, and cogs, melting watch-faces, geometric and atomic symbols, and a skeletal figure inside the imaginary machine holding the landscape of surreal images in syncronicity. Underneath the unfolding film, Nick alone and illuminated by the blur of his two neon drumsticks, tapped the techno-tribal sequence and lead the band into a vigorous version of Time. Faithful to the original, Dave and Rick's harmony of vocals were first-rate. The guitar solo was muscular and the keyboards swelled and filled the stadium with the warm glow of celebration.

Striking an iron bell above him, Gary Wallis lead the band into High Hopes. Again using the filmscreen to add visual scope to the song's message, we saw images of gigantic teddy bears, rustic bikes, clustered balloons (with the "PF" symbol), and guitars floating down a river. As the song undulates to a melancholy conclusion, above a huge white stone carving of Syd's face is carried away into the dusk of the British countryside. As Dave concludes his lap-steel guitar solo, I realized how well this song fit into DSOTM's themes.

Soon the sky became ablaze with intensely bright lasers, some of these crossed and some raced off into dark voids like they were searching the skies for alien craft. In perfect timbre, the stirring acoustic chords of WYWH inspired us to sing as the band gave an equally warm performance, unflinching and unwavering, it was no time to mess with proven perfection, and thus created a beautiful moment.

With the lasers remaining ablaze, the band began the brief intro which led into Another Brick in the Wall Pt.2. Now bathed with brilliant stage lighting and again using the lights at the base of the stage, the band grooved with attitude while the bass energy slapped our body organs together with its palatable vibe. Taking a rare opportunity to shine alone Tim Renwick rung and squeezed off an inspired solo in his extreme Stage left outpost. At the base of the stage during the chorus, the lights spelled out "Hey Teacher" inciting the audience to sing en masse. This shining moment lead into solos full of dramatic tension and soaring melodies.

Up to now the trio of girls had stuck to the vocal charts harmonizing and swaying to the music, but Great Gig in the Sky would give them the vehicle to solo. Underneath an aquatic film of swelling ocean waves and a colorful assortment of sea creatures, Claudia, Durga, and Sam let loose one by one wailing and crooning their hearts out. Continuing the DSOTM suite, Us and Them felt warmer than ever mainly due to the replacement of Dick Parry to the saxophone position. Underneath an understated film and minimal lighting, Rick and Dave played off each other mirroring the original's passionate sweep. Dick's supple tones were the perfect touch to the live shows, lending another tonal color to the Pink Floyd machine.

New footage tried to breathe new life into Money, but the leaner arrangement managed to trim the old race horse down to racing weight. Dick again wowed us with his sax prowess in counterpoint to Dave's barnstorming guitar. Always a crowd favorite, the song's bass patterns gave Guy Pratt every excuse to bring the bass to the forefront. Even when his sweaty bass funk goes way over the top, he knows equally well where to be subtle.

As the band began Comfortably Numb, I knew the show was quickly reaching an emotional pinnacle for me. This was the signature epic that still could bring back a flood of memories, some transcendent, some bittersweet, but all just as indelible as this very moment in the making. As Dave sang the sublime words to my favorite Pink Floyd song, I wondered where had the time gone? As the song's trance inducing throb transported me into a personal space capsule orbiting high above the earth, my legs were numb, my insides were jelly, but my head was swirling in a totally natural headspace. Onstage I noticed Gary Wallis had joined in on keyboards and Guy was again on a fretless bass. Rising up from the stage were new mini-towers housing smaller mirrors and lights, while adding to the multi-sensory treat.

The stage seemed cluttered by their presence. Underneath the darkened shell shadows crept across the band and hardware. Behind Dave backlights outlined his body, casting a shadow across the masses. During the first guitar solo, to each side of the stage, two cone lasers reached into the heavens as clouds of dry ice became illuminated in the beams. As Dave struck the first notes for the big meltdown, a huge mirrored orb could be seen rising from the encampment behind us. Rising illuminated, tiny shards of light swirled around the stadium. Most seemed to strike the darkened dome and screen but all around points of light filled the air with thousands of fireflies. On the darkened stage Dave glowed alone as he plunged into the most bloodthirsty solo ever. Globules of Stratocaster notes fell from the sky as liquid magma. As one note vaporized another erupted in quick succession drenching us in an euphoric canopy of sound. As the sound quaked around us, the once metallic orb began to split apart like a topical lotus, slowly peeling apart revealing a corona of illumination inside. Onstage the round screen turned on its side like a flying saucer, its rings of light flashing in communion with the transforming orb.

Underneath this luminescent flood, the band brought Comfortably Numb to a smoldering conclusion in the same manner Mt. Vesuvius buried the city of Pompeii. As the hypnotic strobe ended, the audience was left dazed like wild animals caught transfixed by oncoming headlights. After the band gave us their good-byes, the mirror ball slowly closed leaving only a muted strobe. A good ten minutes passed as the audience raved for more. Inside the now pulsating orange-hued shell, the screen slowly returned to its normal resting position.

As the band slid into Hey You, the crowd went ballistic, as I did especially when the "worms eat into his brain" oozed through the speakers followed by the quiet but bizarre interlude of sound effects. The band rekindled the same kind of steely precision heard on the original, but added their own psychotic edge. It is no small feat to pull off this kind of precision in such vast spaces, and the moment is only as good as the slightest mixing level and the skill to manipulate them.

After the pause, Dave's lone guitar reverberated a rich cluster of notes followed by an imploding pause. Soon the pauses were shattered as the night spaces above were sliced by surgical blasts of laser sorties. Again thick resonant chords rang from all positions of the arena and bounced off invisible walls. I knew Run Like Hell would be the last song and even as my numbed senses sought perspective I wanted to squeeze every ounce from the remaining moments. Gaining momentum the band launched into their big dinosaur stomp underneath a blaze of emerald and copper lasers. Aggressive chords and delicate synth textures greeted each other in an unified drama as each successive shout of "RUN!" surged around us. Splashes of light from the filmscreen ring, shell circumference, rotating panels, vari-lights, and every candle to be found were illuminated in one blaze of glory.

Sucking every kilowatt from humming generators, the sound roared with the velocity of a Space Shuttle launch. Now with each sledgehammer chord the chaos was punctuated with blasts of fireworks streaming from the stage. The finale melted into an orgasmic dance as every visual and aural element merged into a blinding climax. My bearings were shattered as my mind melted into one disoriented and joyful moment. Believe me, the kinetic energy released inside the stadium was overwhelming!

Soon the band gave their good-byes and I knew I had just been part of a significant event. Pink Floyd have yet again reached a pinnacle live. Strip away the cyber-space thrills and you will see a group of individuals whom playing live music is an emotional conquest. For me the warm glow I left with is only a moment away from reach, only a song away from rekindling. As the Compact Disc plays, I am swept away. Bravo Pink Floyd!

 
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