Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Newcastle City Hall 3 May 2022

NICK TIXNick Mason, drummer of Pink Floyd fame, has assembled a band of fine musicians to go out on the road and play a wonderful set of early Pink Floyd classic songs, many from the Syd Barrett era. As soon I heard of this development, I was intrigued and could not resist going to say then when a north-east gig was announced some time ago. The concert had been rearranged, due to Covid, so I was keenly waiting for this event to actually take place.

NICK 2Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets are an English rock band formed in 2018 to perform the early music of Pink Floyd. The band comprises Pink Floyd drummer and co-founder Nick Mason, bassist Guy Pratt, guitarists Gary Kemp and Lee Harris, and keyboardist Dom Beken. As many fans had discovered Pink Floyd with their bestselling 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon, Mason wanted to bring their earlier material to a wider audience.”(From Wikipedia). Bassist Guy Pratt was a member of a later incarnation of Pink Floyd and Gary Karen was, of course, a founder member of 1980s band Spandau Ballet.

The stage was set out with Nick Mason in the centre (very much the star of the show and the evening), surrounded by his band of musicians. Behind, and around them, was a very appropriate backdrop of psychedelic liquid lens images; setting the scene for an evening of early psychedelic rock. Fantastic. We arrived just in time to experience an amazing version of “One Of These Days”, the opening track of Meddle, and the very same song which I saw Pink Floyd play in the City Hall in early 1972. This was followed by going back in time to the classic Syd Barrett NICK 1song “Arnold Layne”. The band did a great job of recreating the music, ethos and atmosphere of these early classics. Gary Kemp in particular, is to be applauded for his tremendous guitar work and vocals. Indeed, each member of the band is clearly an accomplished musician and together they stunned the crowd with a concert which was authentic to the original Pink Floyd musical textures. The rest of the first set comprised a mixture of songs from early Floyd albums including less well-known tracks such as “Obscured by Clouds” and the wonderful “Remember a Day”. The first half of the show concluded with an uplifting, mesmerising version of “Set the Controls for the Heart of the sun”, complete with drum rhythms and gongs. Another song which I remember Floyd performing at that 1972 concert which now seems eons away in the distant past. The instrumentals were particularly well performed. A short interval followed during which I had time to partake in a pint of Hobgoblin (no Guinness, sadly).

NICK 4The second half opened by taking us right back to the start with classic guitar-based tunes “Interstellar Overdrive” and “Astronomy Domine”, two of my favourite early Pink Floyd tracks. We were then treated to a few less known, at least by me, songs and the second set ended with Barrett’s “Lucifer Sam” and Meddle’s standout track, Pink Floyd favourite, “Echoes”. A very appropriate closer for an excellent selection of songs.

But the crowd wouldn’t let the band leave without the song many of us were waiting to hear. For the first time I was treated to a live version of “See Emily Play”. So many memories bounced around in my head; mainly of loving the tune so much in the early 1970s when it was played constantly at Sunderland Locarno (with everyone running onto the dancefloor, except me, to do crazy handwaving hippy dances). Then more faultless instrumental psychedelic meanderings with “a Saucerful of Secrets” and the final closer Syd Barrett’s quirky, childlike tune “Bike”. David, Elaine and I all agreed it was a great concert.

NICK 5I treated myself to a signed drum skin and a T-shirt (sadly no programme). Many thanks to David for his expert photography and to Elaine and Chris for placing me safely into my bed at the end of a great evening. Thank you Nick for putting together a band worthy of the songs, their leader and the band name. Classic. Happy days.

Setlist: One of These Days; Arnold Layne; Fearless; Obscured by Clouds; Candy and a Currant Bun; Vegetable Man; If; Atom Heart Mother; If (reprise); Remember a Day; Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.

Interval

Interstellar Overdrive; Astronomy Domine; The Nile Song; Burning Bridges; Childhood’s End; Lucifer Sam; Echoes.

Encore: See Emily Play; A Saucerful of Secrets; Bike

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tony Grey on May 4, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Nice one Peter,
    I was at the Nottingham gig on Thursday, & it was an amazing experience, which was well appreciated by the audience. Early Floyd is my favourite era, my first full price album was Piper at The Gates of Dawn, an album I still love & play.
    I’ve not had the fortune to see Pink Floyd play since a free concert in Hyde Park back in 1970, which was a great experience but sadly I don’t remember too much about the music on the day.
    A great night with highly accomplished musicians, & so much more than a tribute act especially with Nick, the only Floyd member to have been in the band from the very beginning.

    Reply

  2. Posted by John Johnstone on May 6, 2022 at 11:17 am

    I was at both the Royal Albert Hall and Newcastle City Hall gigs. Both were brilliant but I thought that the City Hall gig was the better of the two, probably because It was a touch more intimate. The setlist has changed slightly from their last tour but the inclusion of Echoes this time round makes it all worthwhile. The band are really accomplished musicians and play the songs as if they have been doing so for years. My favourites were Remember A Day, Lucifer Sam, Atom Heart Mother and, of course, Echoes. I really hope that they tour again.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on May 6, 2022 at 11:48 am

      Hi John I envy you going to the Albert Hall gig as well as Newcastle! Respect! I agree Nick has put together a great band and let’s hope we get a chance to see them again. Happy days Peter

      Reply

  3. Posted by Peter Maggiore on May 7, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Pete. Great review. Regretably I never got to see Floyd in any capacity. Ian worked their 89 World Tour including Moscow and Venice. You two should get together and write a book

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on May 8, 2022 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Pete. Yes it was a great concert. Coincidently many years ago I bought a signed copy of Nick Mason’s book and there was a picture of Ian with all of Pink Floyd sitting round the piano, it looked like a singalong! Anyway I ran into Ian and he hadn’t seen the photograph! I think he then went out and got a copy of the book. Happy days Peter

      Reply

  4. Being only just turned 18 this was my first chance to see anyone associated with Pink Floyd, who are one of my favourite bands ever, and I thought the gig was unreal, the sound was excellent, and they were covering my favourite period of PF, to hear an original member take his band through a full version of Echoes is something I’ll never forget and my favourite PF deep cut Childhoods End, really special. Looking through your section on Floyd I see you saw them loads of times, including the Live 8 reunion, which I’ve watched on you tube loads, sadly I was 1 at the time! If you don’t mind, what were PF like to see live back in the day, did they play particularly loud for the time etc. I try and mostly fail to play their stuff myself, I’m ok on things like Shine On for a certain amount of time and then the chords get crazy and diminished and jazzy and I’m lost!

    Reply

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