6 November 2013

Echoes at the Half Moon

I had seen Echoes play several times before in three different venues but this was the first time that I had to pay. And I was glad to.

I do not understand the economics of local bands that means that I can see them in a small pub for free or pay £7 to see them in a reasonably sized venue.

The other thing that I do not understand is why so many people are happy to pay £7 to see a band only to stand at the back talking to their mates all evening.

The combination of the talkers and my natural inclinations took me to the front of the stage. The Half Moon had a wide stage set in to one corner (much like the Grey Horse in Kingston) so I had to choose which half of the band to see. I went for guitar, keyboards and sax with a hint of drums.

I chose that side, rather than the possibly more glamorous lead guitar and bass,  because I felt that Guy Smith's saxophone was the defining sound of the band. It was often used to fill in the gabs that Pink Floyd filled with other musicians and singers and this is most notable in Great Gig in the Sky where the sax takes the vocal line but it is the little touches that the sax brought throughout the show that I liked.

On this occasion another highlight was the interchange between sax (far right) and lead guitar (far left) in their friendly rivalry to add the most colour to some extended sections.

It was also good to get a decent view of Peter Bamford on keyboards.He is the leader of the band but he normally hides himself away behind the guitars. On the wider shallower stage at the Half Moon he could not do that. The point of seeing the keyboards up close is to match the fingers to the sounds, which I like to do.

The sound quality was excellent. Echoes were able to make use the Half Moon's professional level equipment (I've seen the likes of Arthur Brown and Strawbs play there) and this showed. Oran Halberthal's bass benefited from the better sound system the most and was my second favourite instrument on the night.

Echoes always had played all of Dark Side of the Moon across the evening but as individual tracks. This year they were celebrating forty years of the album by playing it in its entirety.

With Dark Side the main point of the second half of the show the first got a good dollop of The Wall.

The new lead guitarist, Terry Finch, still learning some of the songs the set list was slightly reduced and we did not get any of the more recent songs, e.g. from Momentary Lapse of Reason. I did not mind too much.

It was good to hear Echoes (the song), it always is, though it was a little odd to hear it immediately after Dark Side; I think that I would have preferred it the other way round and to have Dark Side end the show.

The evening ended on a very high note and I managed to have a few, very complimentary, words with most of the band. It was nice to put £7 in their pockets for their efforts and nicer still to tell them how much I enjoyed their show. Again.

The talkers and the order of the songs were very minor gripes in what was another excellent evening of Pink Floyd music. I love this bands to bits and have plans to see them again very soon.

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