Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets

– Apollo, Manchester –

With the three remaining members of Pink Floyd all doing their separate solo projects, the only way to capture any essence of Pink Floyd is by seeing either Roger Waters, David Gilmour or Nick Mason live. As Roger and Dave focus on the bigger hits from the expansive Floyd catalogue, drummer Nick has at last launched his own solo venture, focusing on the early era Floyd, which – much loved by the fans but often overlooked for the stadium gigs of the other Floyd members. So, Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets band focuses on the mind meltingly epic songs from ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ (1967) to ‘Obscured By Clouds’ (1972), and pulls from all the other great early Floyd albums in between.

Mason’s drum kit takes centre stage, complete with massive gong at the back – every band should have one! Mason is joined by a group of Floyd related session musicians from previous live outings, and bizarrely Spandau Ballet guitarist, Gary Kemp, which initially seems like a strange choice, after all, some of these were written whilst the experimental musical genius of Syd Barrett was still involved, and these early Floyd tunes are the more kaleidoscopic side of the band. However once the first gigantic riffs of ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ kick in, the 80s popster doesn’t seem like a bad move after all, playing psych guitar melodies with ease. There’s a great version of ‘Astronomy Domine’ with both Kemp and bassist Guy Pratt joining forces for those high pitched spaced out vocal duties.

For some of the tunes, there’s some great vintage footage of Nick playing in the 60s and 70s, complete with handlebar moustache, long hair and bandana, showing the same drumming passion and flair both then and now. Mason chats to the crowd after every few songs, letting us know that although they often had a gong on stage, Roger always used to take control of it, but not tonight! Never thought I’d cheer a gong solo, but in the psyched our world of early Pink Floyd, it seems a great way to bring a song to its end. It’s not all far-out musical meanderings though, as the melodies of ‘Fearles’ from 1970’s album ‘Meddle’, the gentle ‘If’ from 1970’s ‘Atom Heart Mother’ and the guitar masterpiece that is ‘The Nile Song’ from 1969’s soundtrack album ‘More’, show they had a great ear for a tune too.

Personal highlights for me included a thunderous version of ‘Arnold Layne’ and a formidable ‘See Emily Play’ both classic Syd-era Floyd masterpieces. Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour may have the stadium era Floyd live sets nailed, but Nick Mason shows that he too can bring Floyd‘s early classics back to life, with new twists and exuberance. A rare chance to hear these early tunes in all their melodic psyched out glory.


From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.