Arènes de Nîmes
Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets - Nimes, France, July 2019 ticket

Capacity: 9,800

Concert starts: 8pm

Address of venue: 4 Boulevard des Arènes, 30000 Nîmes, France. MAP

Website: www.arenes-nimes.com



Due to the critical success of the four initial shows in May 2018, held in tiny venues in London's Camden and Putney, Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets announced a full European tour for September last year. The expanded shows for the full tour were even more highly acclaimed, and it came as no surprise when further dates for 2019 were announced!

Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets brings together some familiar names, all great musicians: joining Nick are Gary Kemp and Lee Harris on guitars, Guy Pratt on bass, and Dom Beken on keyboards. Kemp is best known for his work with Spandau Ballet, Harris as having played guitar with The Blockheads (Ian Dury's band), Pratt needs no introduction, and Beken is principally known for his work with The Orb, and Transit Kings (with Pratt). The band will be playing early Pink Floyd songs.

This is a unique opportunity to experience Pink Floyd's celebrated and significant early body of work played live including songs from albums 'The Piper At The Gates of Dawn' and 'A Saucerful Of Secrets'.

Another interesting venue for Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets 2019 tour, Les Arènes de Nîmes (the Amphitheatre of Nîmes) is an incredibly well preserved Roman amphitheatre, situated in the French city of Nîmes. Built around AD 70, it was remodelled in 1863 to serve as a bullring. With an oval-shaped arena floor, the show here will be in front of a maximum of 10,000. David Gilmour performed here in 2016, and it was a superb venue for a show like this.

The regular sale of tickets started on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21st, via adamconcerts.trium.fr.

Our thanks to John Johnstone for the ticket scan, shown to the right.

SET LIST - highlight the following with your mouse to read...
MAIN SET: Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine, Lucifer Sam, Fearless, Obscured By Clouds, When You're In, Remember A Day, Arnold Layne, Vegetable Man, If/Atom Heart Mother/If Reprise, The Nile Song, Green Is The Colour, Let There Be More Light, Childhood's End, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, See Emily Play, Bike, One Of These Days.
A Saucerful Of Secrets, Point Me At The Sky.


Do not read on if you don't want surprises to be spoilt, regarding what the band played!

Following yesterday night's show in a classic, semi-circular Roman amphitheatre in Switzerland, the Saucers have driven from that country to southern France to perform at the best preserved Roman amphitheatre of all those still standing. Situated in Nimes, an area which is feeling the heat at the moment, the amphitheatre is one of the fully circular ones, akin to the Coliseum in Rome, Italy.

So...the show where things came full circle.

That is possibly making most of you scratch your heads. What does a hot, Roman amphitheatre in the south of France have to do with this band? Suffice it to say, the Arena des Nimes is THE key location in the story of Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets.

Early on in the show, Guy Pratt, between songs, explained to the crowd why. "Bonsoir Nimes! Really great to be back here; it was nearly three years to the day that I was last here, playing here with David Gilmour, in what actually turned out to be a very momentous gig, because my old mate Lee Harris came to see us, and IT GAVE HIM AN IDEA..." as he gestured pointedly at the band.

To explain: Lee was sat at the rear of the arena to see David and co, back in July 2016, face on to the stage, when he had the light-bulb moment. Roger's touring. David's touring. Why isn't Nick - the heartbeat of Pink Floyd - touring as well? The only Floyd member present on every album, the much-loved drummer occasionally got the call to do guest spots but how great could it be to see him going on the road in his own right, seeing as the other two aren't involving him on their projects? As we know, fast-forwarding to the present day, it's been an incredible joy, exceeding everyone's hopes and expectations!

Later, after Vegetable Man, when Nick traditionally does the band introductions, he jokingly looked back at the days of Roger Waters when noting how Guy had already introduced Lee to the crowd.

"Now at this point, I normally introduce the band, but they've already gotten on with that. You've met Guy earlier, playing [with Anathema on] Keep Talking, and he's introduced Lee. You know, sometimes I really miss Roger - he just wouldn't have let that happen! Just to reiterate, the man who actually thought this idea up initially, Mr Lee Harris, on guitar and vocals... Mr Dom Beken, who DIDN'T, but does have possibly the most difficult job on this stage, with all the very complex keyboard arrangements. Thank you Dom. Keyboards and vocals. And then, the man who I've worked with for something like 30 odd years now, the man who actually persuaded me that I should listen to Lee rather than dismissing him out of hand, Mr Guy Pratt, on bass guitar and vocals. And finally, my favourite New Romantic, Mr Gary Kemp, on guitar and vocals. OK, on with the time machine..." at which point Guy nipped in with Nick's stage introduction (not that he needs it!).

Anyway, back to the beginning - we've gone way ahead of ourselves here. The Arena des Nimes is the best preserved Roman amphitheatre - think the Coliseum in Rome, but in better condition. It is regularly used for concerts, and indeed the Saucers show here is part of the annual Festival de Nimes, held in the arena, which this year consisted of 18 shows between June 23rd, and July 20th. Artists included - other than Nick and his merry men - range from Elton John to ZZ Top, via Slash, Slipknot, Mark Knopfler, Tears For Fears and Toto, amongst others. A varied bill, a great location, but possibly too much going on for people in the local area to properly afford and enjoy.

It's been well reported how hot it has been over the last month or so in France, and July 6th, the day of the Saucers show, was no exception. During the afternoon, the temperature in the arena itself was measured at 38.9C (102F) which did cause issues with the laptops which drive the keyboards getting a little too hot, and shutting down, but thankfully just temporarily.

The route from the backstage compound (mainly consisting of Portacabins - seemingly the Romans didn't foresee the need for properly changing rooms when they built it!) to the stage involved a tunnel which funnelled the warm breeze through, blowing the stage drape around and causing further issues for the band. The drape is used for the projections to land on, too, so if the weather conditions proved too bad for its use, we could have been in for a show like David Gilmour's 2016 gig at Orange, just up the road from Nimes, which had to do without Mr Screen due to the roof supports not being strong enough. Thankfully, the crew managed to secure the drape safely and those who weren't in the arena earlier (it was open to the public until 2:30pm, enabling the set up to be watched) would have been none the wiser.

With the mid-afternoon closure, the arena was emptied. Fans in the area decamped to various bars, cafes and restaurants adjacent to the arena, where they could sit and relax, listening to the soundcheck. The initial sound tweaking was to a recording of Daft Punk, which gave one or two a surprise as they heard this French band loud and clear!

Fast forward to 7pm, and the doors opening. Unlike a modern venue, the arena still has its original worn Roman steps, some of which are pretty steep, along with unusual slopes, and the audience in the raised sides of the venue sit on very old wooden planks, the back rests of which have a painted seat number. All rather basic (but I found them surprisingly comfortable). Those on the floor of the arena had more normal, modern plastic seating, secured together in rows, and tiered so those further back had a good view. Ushers too, taking people to their seats! Normal in France, but a novelty to those from outside the country.

Most of those in the venue were unaware of a special surprise that Anathema, the support band, were going to employ for the final song in their set. Introducing the 1994 song, Keep Talking, they also invited onto the stage Guy Pratt to repeat his bass guitar performance on it! By this stage, the Saucers' Dom Beken had been joined by Gary Kemp at the side of the audience on the floor to watch their buddy doing a little extra work that day, Gary also filming part of it on a phone. The band had sound checked the song, but there was no prior indication that Guy would also take part.

By the time the Saucers were due on stage, the natural light was dropping well, and the temperature thankfully dropped a few degrees as well. With the drop in overall light levels, the stage lighting came into its own. Much of the lighting on the stage was part of the Festival set up (as could be seen when visiting the venue the next morning, when it reopened to the public) and proved an incredible addition to things. To see the rear and sides of the arena lit up during the show proved magical, with red and white lights illuminating the Roman blocks which were arranged all around.

Performance-wise, a great show, despite the heat doing its best to affect the musicians, and their instruments. Everything coped admirably; there were no changes to the set list (none were expected to be honest) although there were a few special, unique moments. I already mentioned the comments about Lee getting his inspiration for the band in the self-same venue, but a couple of additions were Lee playing a tiny bit of La Marseillaise during Interstellar, then later, thrilling the audience telling them in French how special the show was for him, particularly as he lives in the area!

Indeed, the heat, the significance of the venue, and the location all seemed to coincide to help the performance really elevate. The band are SO on form at the moment, it really is a joy to catch one of their shows. They've still got some shows left on this current tour, so if you can make it along to any of them, it really is worthwhile....

We'd love to know from those attending how they felt the concert went. How was the show for you, if you were one of the fortunate ones to attend? Let us know what YOU thought!


Well, this is my third NMSOS gig and they keep getting better. Thanks to Ryanair and SNCF, my wife and I got to a boiling-hot Nimes in plenty of time. The Arena is a Roman Amphitheatre (built in 100AD) and I couldn't think of a better place to see the band, it's simply stunning. Our hotel was next to the Arena and I managed an early drink outside the Arena next to some of the crew, listening to Anathema's soundcheck.

Once inside the Arena, we found our seats in the vomitorium(!) and enjoyed a great view of the stage. It didn't take long for Anathema to come on and they played an enjoyable set. They even brought Guy Pratt out to play bass on their version of Pink Floyd's Keep Talking, which was a pleasant surprise.

Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets - Nimes, France, July 2019 Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets - Nimes, France, July 2019
Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets - Nimes, France, July 2019 Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets - Nimes, France, July 2019
Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets - Nimes, France, July 2019 Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets - Nimes, France, July 2019

It was dark when the Saucers took the stage and it was a question of lighting the blue touch-paper and sitting back. The staging, smoke and lighting really added to the wonderful atmosphere. The setlist was the same as Cambridge and the band again seemed to be having real fun.

During Interstellar Overdrive, Lee Harris even managed to play a few bars of La Marseillaise (French national anthem), which he later told me that he hadn't even told the rest of the band that he was going to do this!

All the band were extremely tight and every song was played with passion. You could feel that the chemistry between them works so well. I cannot really single any one song out over the rest as all were so enjoyable and memorable. However, if I had to make special mention, I would have to say that Astronomy Domine, Lucifer Sam, Obscured By Clouds, Atom Heart Mother, Childhood's End, Set The Controls, One Of These Days, Celestial Voices (ASOS) were particularly good. I also love Gary Kemp's solos in both Green Is The Colour and Celestial Voices.

Both Guy Pratt and Nick Mason gave credit to Lee Harris for attending the David Gilmour gig at the Arena three years earlier, which gave him the idea to form the Saucers. Lee also addressed the crowd in French at the end of the gig.

Roll on the live DVD!

YOUR HELP NEEDED! We want to cover Nick's concerts the best we can, to share the experience with everyone, especially those who won't be able to attend the shows. We'd love to see ANY pictures, tickets scans, reviews, newspaper reports, and anything else you come across for this show - we look forward to hearing from you!

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 July 2019 )