Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets @ Cirque Royal, Brussels BE – 17 June 2022

The second European tour ever for Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets would have probably been their third if the following few years after their formation and first tour in 2018 wouldn’t have sunk into an oblivious pandemic lapse of time. At 78 and drumming as effortlessly as ever, Nick Mason is joined on stage by guitarist Lee Harris, the man who actually came up with the idea for the band, Dom Beken on keyboards and vocals, long-time bandmate Guy Pratt on bass and vocals and the guitar player and vocalist Gary Kemp. This year they will tour for almost 90 shows in Europe, UK and North America, which is most impressive if you think that it almost amounts to the number of shows done by Metallica in 2018 and 2019 all together.

True to the British style of mastering the fine art of being late just enough, the concert started with a fashionable 5 minutes delay. The following two hours represented a remarkable journey through Pink Floyd material, accompanied by various anecdotes and stories coming from Nick Mason himself.

The setlist was beautifully conceived, covering several albums and divided in two sets, plus an encore. Each set was introduced and ended with a most acclaimed Pink Floyd number – One of These Days and Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, and Astronomy Domine and Echoes respectively. Most of the space between was filled with songs considerately chosen to highlight the incredible influence Syd Barrett had on the entire Pink Floyd phenomenon, to pay an emotional tribute to Richard Wright or to bring on stage songs which have either never been played live or slightly overlooked in previous live performances.

And among the anecdotes carried with graceful politeness and British humor (and yes, I know it’s ‘humour’ actually), a lot of information was passed on to the audience. It all started with the date for the first ever Pink Floyd show in Belgium: 1968.

Arnold Layne was the song meant to take Pink Floyd to the top of the charts but it didn’t as it was banned by BBC due to its content. We’ve learned also that now we are old enough now to listen to it. Candy and a Currant Bun was banned as well when they found out the real title was ‘Let’s roll another one’.

Vegetable Man, was never fully recorded, never released and never played live by any of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, The Australian Pink Floyd or The Brit Floyd, leaving Nick Mason’s band as the only one who’s ever played.

Roger Waters, who in 2019 surprised the audience in New York Beacon by joining the band on Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, got mentioned as well, when Mason explained that he always wanted to play the gong on Set the Controls himself. And he got to do it live on stage this time.

The latest Pink Floyd related project that David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Guy Pratt have with the Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk was also mentioned in the intervention of  Guy Pratt, who was wearing a t-shirt with a European Union flag on it. This made perfect sense for an audience wearing band t-shirts ranging from Pink Floyd to progressive and experimental rock and metal bands, although Spandau Ballet t-shirts were completely missing, as Gary Kemp acknowledged a bit later.

After The Nile Song, Guy Pratt confessed that this was the first Pink Floyd song he had ever known and how, judging by the sound of it, he thought that Pink Floyd was a metal band. Guy Pratt is also stand-up comedian and his first show comedy in 3 years after the covid restrictions was in Brussels.

The stage lighting was colorful and shifting as the songs revealed their sounds. Psychedelic for the early numbers and Atom Heart Mother, apocalyptic for the Set the Controls, cosmic for Childhood End, Obscured by Clouds or Echoes. Complemented sometimes with backscreen images with a young Nick Mason or a forever young Sid Barret.

The encore was a vantage point for the entire philosophy behind the show: See Emily Play, A Saucerful of Secrets and Bike.

The many generations present in the audience of Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets are brought together by records made over 50 ago. And the concert is a kind gift for their nostalgia, good memories, interest and dedication to music. A great way of getting together and share history. “We can’t do it without you. Thank you very much.” said Nick Manson at the end of the show. Well, thank you, Mr Mason.

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Author: ywannish