Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Is Such A Rare Privilege To See Live -
Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets live @ Royal Albert Hall

Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets live @ Royal Albert Hall

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Is Such A Rare Privilege To See Live

by Paul Cashmere on September 17, 2023

in News

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, featuring Pink Floyd drummer and co-writer Nick Mason who was there from the start, has began the first (and lets put it out there) last Australian tour. To be in the room with a Pink Floyd founder performing Floyd songs that are so rare many have never been played live by any member of Pink Floyd in Australia before, was indeed a privilege.

The Echoes Tour only features pre-The Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd songs. ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ was Floyd’s eighth album (not to mention another albums worth of singles and b-sides for the compilation album ‘Relics’ and songs that weren’t even released officially until decades later) so there is plenty for Mason to source (saucer?) from.

The creative output of Pink Floyd was incredible. Those seven albums were all recorded and released between 1967 and 1972. That is the same output by Matchbox Twenty is 27 years.

Mason first toured Australia with Pink Floyd in 1971. ‘Atom Heart Mother’, ‘Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun’, ‘Echoes’ and ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’ were definitely played on the 1971 Australia tour. Floyd only toured Australia one more time in 1988. ‘One of These Days’ was on that tour. Roger Waters has toured Australia four times in 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2018. His pre-Dark Side of the Moon songs in Australia were ‘Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun’ in 2002 and 2007 and ‘One of These Days’ in 2018. David Gilmour has never toured Australia as a solo artist, Richard Wright passed away in 2008 and Syd Barrett died in 2006 after leaving the band in 1968 after the first two albums.

Let’s talk about the band. Nick Mason on drums, Guy Pratt on bass and vocals, Gary Kemp on guitar and vocals, Lee Harris on guitar and backing vocals and Dom Beken on keyboards.

Guy Pratt has more history with Pink Floyd than Roger Waters. He replaced Waters on bass in 1987 and has been associated with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and now Nick Mason ever since. He is also “Floyd family”. He married (now divorced) Gala Wright, Richard Wright’s daughter. Their son is the grandson of Richard. He is also in some ways honorary Australian rock royalty, having been the bass player for Icehouse in 1984 for the Sidewalk album.

Spandau Ballet Gary Kemp, co-founder and lyricist, is the co-vocalist (with Pratt) for Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets. Gary got the best line in on the night “I don’t see too many Spandau Ballet t-shirts in the audience tonight”.

Add in Lee Harris, who was once a member of the Blockheads and Dom Beken, who has worked with Richard Wright, David Bowie and Placebo, and we have a bona-fide supergroup with a band of the best musicians in the world.

The centrepiece of this show is the ‘Meddle’ track ‘Echoes’. The song took up an entire side on the ‘Meddle’ album. The song also inspired Sir Lord Mr Andrew Lloyd Webber to rip off Floyd and use the song’s theme as his theme for ‘Phantom of the Opera’. There is no denying it, but I guess both sides are so rich it is just not worth chasing a few million in compensation for Floyd.

‘Echoes’ the track is a masterpiece in itself. ‘Meddle’ was two albums before ‘Dark Side’ but in it we saw the metamorphous of Floyd that started in the Syd Barrett era into ‘Dark Side’. Syd Barrett was the songwriting genius of the original Pink Floyd. His songs, ‘See Emily Play’ and ‘Arnold Layne’ were more psychedelic Brit Pop Powerpop in their day to what Floyd later became.

Barrett had mental health issues and left the band during the recording of the second album ‘A Saucerful of Secret’. He was replaced with David Gilmour. That’s right, Gilmour is not a founding member of Pink Floyd … but Mason is.

This Melbourne audience were true fans. Take ‘Fearless’ for instance. The audience finished the song with ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as it originally appeared on the ‘Meddle’ album. That is not a song radio has ever played in Australia. It is not a song that has ever been performed by Floyd or Roger Waters on his solo tours in Australia. The only way that audience knew that song was because they had the album … and they completed it.

Mason opens this tour with another ‘Meddle’ song ‘One Of These Days’. That one did get airplay and has been in Waters’ solo Australian shows. It was the ideal primer for the next two and a half hours. It makes the show start with “an old friend”.

In the encore, another old friend, ‘See Emily Play’, probably better known for the David Bowie version on ‘Pin-ups’. Bowie introduced a lot of pre-‘Dark Side’ Floyd fans to early Floyd when he covered that song. ‘Pin-ups’ was released just six months after ‘Dark Side’ which was just taking off at the time and many people global thought it was the first Floyd album.

Nick takes this show to deepest Floyd. ‘Vegetable Man’ was a song so out there in the second half of the 60s that the record label didn’t even release it. It had its first official release in 2010. You balance that out with ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’ or ‘Astronomy Dominié’ or ‘Obscured by Clouds’. This show is a music history lesson.

Nick Mason will turn 80 in 2024. I think it is pretty fair to say that this tour is his first and last tour of Australia. Also he is so fucking rich its on you to see him, not him to come back. For Floyd fans in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth still to have this experience, do it. Imagine if 200 years ago your great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents had the chance to do go to the final Beethoven show and said ‘na, fuck it, the footy is on TV tonight’. Same thing.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Melbourne, 16 September, 2023

One of These Days (from Meddle, 1970)
Arnold Layne (single, 1967)
Fearless / You’ll Never Walk Alone (from Meddle, 1970)
Obscured by Clouds (from Obscured by Clouds, 1972)
When You’re In (from Obscured by Clouds, 1972)
Candy and a Currant Bun (single and b-side of Arnold Layne, 1967)
Vegetable Man (from The Early Years 1965-1967, finally released in 2010)
If (from Atom Heart Mother, 1970)
Atom Heart Mother (from Atom Heart Mother, 1970)
If (reprise) (from Atom Heart Mother, 1970)
Remember a Day (from A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968)
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (from A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968)
Astronomy Domine (from The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, 1967)
The Nile Song (from More soundtrack, 1969)
Burning Bridges (from Obscured by Clouds, 1972)
Childhood’s End (from Obscured by Clouds, 1972)
Lucifer Sam (from The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, 1967)
Echoes (from Meddle, 1970)

See Emily Play (single, 1967)
A Saucerful of Secrets (from A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968)
Bike (from The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, 1967)

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets will tour Australia in September.

Dates are:

16 and 17 September, Melbourne, The Forum
19 September, Brisbane, Exhibition Centre
21 and 22, Sydney, Enmore Theatre
25 September, Perth, Riverside Theatre

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