Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets performing their Echoes Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Thursday 28th April 2022

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets last came to the Royal Concert Hall in 2018 but on Thursday they were back again, and at his age, the 78 year old former drummer with Pink Floyd could have been forgiven for wanting to spend more time with his cars and his family, but instead he has chosen to go on the road to celebrate Pink Floyd’s early psychedelic era, especially the work of the late Syd Barrett.

It was a chance for a packed crowd to enjoy rarely played tracks on what is being termed the Echoes Tour, and joining Mason was long term compatriot, former Pink Floyd bassist and singer Guy Pratt, ex-blockhead guitarist Lee Harris, Spandau Ballet’s guitarist and vocalist Gary Kemp and synthesiser wizard Dom Beken, who used to be The Orb.

Despite being the only Floyd member to play on every studio album they recorded, Thursday night saw them play only the tracks released between the mid 1960’s right up to 1972; prior to the release of The Dark Side Of The Moon and what a treat it was.

From the stunning start, Pratt started the booming bass line of the classic One Of These Days whilst still in the wings which was a great full throttle opener to the show. Luring the audience into the world of Pink Floyd with three massive backdrops influenced by Japanese art and calligraphy illuminated by stunning filmed backdrops, Arnold Layne, perhaps their most well known single of the 60’s followed and was a joy to hear live.

Meddle album track Fearless got a well deserved airing and hits like Obscured By Clouds, and first set closer Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun had the crowd transfixed.

There was a string of Syd Barrett era pop nuggets, veering from the institution baiting Candy And A Current Bun to the silly Vegetable Man and the sparkling nostalgic Remember A Day. If from the early 70s was next with the first half of the song performed as a simple acoustic number, before the whole band roared in for the main section from the title track of Atom Heart Mother, before it transitioned back into the finale of If towards the end in a nice sequence that although bordering on ten minutes in length, never outstayed its welcome.

With a set list designed to show off Kemp’s expertise on both electric and acoustic guitar and Beken’s talent in getting the wordly sounds from his bank of synthesisers, it was Mason’s drumming that stole the show. For the second set the group continued the 60’s space rock theme with Interstellar Overdrive before the full hammering of Astronomy Domaine showed that Mason has lost none of his power and dexterity.

The Nile Song, Burning Bridges and Childhood’s End were all included, and See Emily Play had the crowd in raptures before the long epic Echoes from 1971’s Meddle with Beken’s keys providing epic atmospherics over which Kemp and Harris played soaring guitar solos, rhythms and shrieks.

For the encore there was the rousing Lucifer Sam and the song that gave Manson’s band their name, A Saucerful Of Secrets with its psychedelic feedback. And after their two sets that spanned two and a half hours, they left the stage after Barrett’s jaunty Bike, showing that this music really does remain genuinely timeless.