Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets in Tulsa
Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets rolled into the beautiful Tulsa Theater last night for a Sunday evening of impeccably played, psychedelically dripping, early Pink Floyd classics and relics.
Long before they became the preeminent and influential prog-rock radio stalwarts they’re best known for throughout the 70s to present, Pink Floyd, then led by Syd Barrett, was one of the major players of the British psychedelia scene of the late sixties. While a great many fans discovered the band via 1973’s commercially successful, Dark Side of the Moon album and the subsequent Wish You Were Here and The Wall, there remained a solid half dozen albums from the Barrett led Floyd years, that over the years, have mostly gone untouched by the band’s former members.
Saucerful Of Secrets formed in 2018; initially an idea of guitarist Lee Harris presented to Pink Floyd co-founder, Nick Mason to capture the spirit of those earlier years. Mason and Harris are joined by Pink Floyd collaborator bassist Guy Pratt on bass and vocals, Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp on guitar and vocals and Dom Beken a former collaborator of the late Richard Wright on keys. Having toured Europe in the fall of 2018, and a bit in North America in 2019 before the pandemic shut down touring opportunities, seeing Saucerful of Secrets back on tour was a must see for me, and they absolutely lived up to every expectation I could have hoped for.
Opening the evening with “One of These Days” the opening track from 1971’s Meddle, the band impressed from the start. Floyd’s very first single,“Arnold Layne” followed before the band took on another stunning Meddle track, this time, “Fearless” complete with the album’s field recording of football fans singing“You’ll Never Walk Alone.” “Obscured By Clouds,” “Arnold Lanye” B-side, ”Candy and a Currant Bun” and the previously unplayed “Vegetable Man.” Throughout the evening, each band member took turns speaking of tales and reminisces of Barrett, the early days and their own discoveries that added much context and value to the evening.The band concluded the first set with a simply jaw dropping performance of “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” from 1968’s Pink Floyd release, A Saucerful Of Secrets, complete with a hilarious tale of Roger Waters and gong envy.
Following a brief set break, Mason and band returned for “Astronomy Domine,” “The Nile Song” and “Burning Bridges” before bassist and vocalist Guy Pratt briefly discussed the newest Pink Floyd single, “Hey, Hey Rise Up” recorded to benefit Ukrainian citizens with Mason as well as David Gilmour and BoomBox vocalist Andriy Khlyvnyuk.
Pratt and the evening’s birthday boy, Gary Kemp, jokingly indicated this was the only political comment of the evening, and stressed that there was no need to “bugger off to the bar,” a sly nod to Roger Waters’ current pre-show announcements. The music continued with Obscured By Clouds‘ “Childhood’s End” and “Lucifer Sam” from Piper at the Gates of Dawn, before the tour’s namesake song, “Echoes” closed out the second set. Personally, “Echoes” is my favorite piece of music from the entire Pink Floyd catalog, and having another chance to see it performed live was easily my highlight of the evening. It was thrilling and hypnotic, and everything I wanted it to be. Truly breathtaking.
The band returned for a meaty encore trio featuring “See Emily Play,” and “A Saucerful of Secrets” before closing the evening with a fun rendition of “Bike.” “A Saucerful of Secrets” really captivated me, matching the sheer psychedelic intensity of “Set the Controls…” as well as the magic of “Echoes” to become my trio of highlights for the evening. While those three were my personal standouts, the entire evening was just phenomenal. This is not simply some Pink Floyd tribute band. Rather this is a band of extremely gifted and talented musicians truly tapping into the spirit of those early Floyd albums that many of us adore, and showing them the appreciation they deserve. Truth is, these were mostly songs I’d long thought I’d never hear performed live, much less with the attention and respect they deserved. One of the best night of live music I’ve seen in quite a while. The band’s North American tour continues for a few more weeks and I highly recommend catching them if you’re able.
You can find all the information by visiting the band’s website here: http://www.thesaucerfulofsecrets.com/
Additionally, Pratt and Kemp host the popular podcast Rockonteurs, a brilliantly insightful look at the world of music and musicians. Find out more here: https://www.rockonteurs.com/