Album Review

Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets – Live At The Roundhouse: Album Review

Nick Mason reinvents the early Pink Floyd days with his Saucerful Of Secrets. The gigs were brilliant and now we have a listen to the live recording of the London Roundhouse show recorded in 2019.

Release Date: 18th September 2020

Label: BMG

Formats: CD/DVD / Blu-Ray / LP

When Arnold Layne first appeared on Top of the Pops the surreal video and totally new sound experience had me immediately. It was only years later when I learned that the Floyd had appeared at Rivington Barn in Bolton, now a popular spot for motorbikes, dogs, and prams, that I regretted not keeping my ear closer to the ground, but in those days promotion of concerts wasn’t as widespread as it is now.

Nevertheless, the opportunity for me to see the early days of Floyd were financially beyond me and when I eventually had the opportunity to invest in their albums and live performances the chance of seeing them perform anything recorded before the album Meddle were gone. So when Saucerful Of Secrets was put together by drummer Nick Mason it was a long-awaited moment to actually see a large chunk of the Barrett years music performed. It was worth the wait, and this album recording of that tour revitalised the awe I experienced that night in Manchester.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1- BLAST OFF…straight into Interstellar Overdrive and Astronomy Domine. Then, is that Lucifer Sam I just heard with Guy Pratt’s vocals full of the same mystery that Syd expressed all those years ago? Obscured By Clouds’ title track is aired early doors. Never the most popular of the early albums, but played here to show that the Floyd were so far ahead of time. Utterly timeless.

The more obscure songs When You’re In (from Obscured By Clouds), Childhood End and Vegetable Man blend in perfectly with all the Floydian whimsy of Bike,  the dreamlike  Remember A Day, If and Green Is The Colour, the power of Nile Song and Point Me At The Sky.

Guy Pratt already has Floyd credentials and with Nick Mason and Gary Kemp help to reconstruct those early years with aplomb and no doubt a heavy portion of love; this is especially evident in their version of  Atom Heart Mother. Although stripped of the majestic choral parts from the original, this is an astounding listen and took me back to those late nights lying prostrate on the living room floor with huge headphones and a joss stick burning with motorbikes and aeroplanes flying through my head!

Alongside Mason, Pratt and Kemp is Lee Harris on guitar and Dom Beken on keyboards. They make up a five piece band assisting most ably on recreating those groundbreaking early sounds from Floyd.

One Of These Days, the most recent Floyd material on the album, along with Fearless, represents Meddle. It’s indistinguishable from the original, retaining all its drive, rhythm and power.

All these tracks however are not the work of copyists. They are not tributes. They are modern versions of classic early Floyd arranged by performers affiliated to Pink Floyd with respect, admiration and dedication to the originals.  Yes, if you want to hear the early recordings there are plenty of compilations and remastered versions to purchase but you aren’t going to hear a full set of these masterpieces performed live by all the surviving members together live. But you can joyfully hear them performed by Nick’s Saucerful of Secrets. 

Saucerful Of Secrets may be a piece along with Arnold Layne and See Emily Play which may have to be regular members of the setlist but one waits with wonder at what will be included on any future setlist. There were obvious omissions on the one here but it clear from this album and last year’s live performances that this will not be a one-off and should meet with the same success as Steve Hackett’s Revisted tours of Genesis material.

 So for the future…careful with that setlist Nick!

Watch the trailer for Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets Live At The Roundhouse film.

Guy Pratt & Gary Kemp recently launched their new podcast, ‘Rockonteurs.’ Their first guest was none other than Nick Mason. You can listen to their chat, here.

Saucerful Of Secrets: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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