To anyone who’s familiar with Red Rocks Amphitheatre — whether it be through a photograph, website or one’s own eyes — it is common knowledge that its beauty cannot be understated. As red sandstone monoliths grip the vibrant blue skies above them, the image as a whole looks like something out of a dreamy impressionist painting with mother nature as the ultimate artist. Performers who receive the honor to grace its stage are left with the challenge of matching the venue’s elusive perfection. Yet once in a blue moon — or shall I say, the dark side of the moon — a certain extraordinary act will rise to the occasion. Last night, Brit Floyd ascended.
Forming less than a decade ago, the Pink Floyd cover-band hailing from Liverpool returned to Red Rocks for another transcendent performance. The nine-part ensemble immediately entranced the crowd as the famous and haunting chords of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” enveloped the arena. With layers of instruments building the song, a soft saxophone fused into the blend, ultimately dominating the number as the minutes strayed on. Within the span of a single song, Brit Floyd had already managed to make time stand still.
“It’s great to be back here at Red Rocks once again,” musical director, Damian Darlington, announced, pulling attendees out of their trance. “It’s our favorite gig in the whole world to play at” — and how could it not be? The natural and colorful Colorado stage perfectly juxtaposes the eerie and unnatural surrealist visuals of Pink Floyd works. Somehow, in an unorthodox marriage, the two worlds connect rather than compete.
Looking out at the array of attendees, it was clear that the works of Pink Floyd unite all. 70-year-old fans who have already seen a handful of Pink Floyd shows stood beside young 20-year-olds who are just now hearing the inventive and philosophical lyrics of Roger Waters live for the first time. What keeps their work timeless is the enduring subject matters that flow throughout each and every song — for example, the content of the legendary “Another Brick in the Wall.” Around a dozen children took the stage as Pink Floyd’s famous meat-grinder music video brimmed the screen above them, serving as an uncanny reminder of how little education has changed since the song’s release.
Similarly, all-too-familiar references could be found as the night carried on, with works such as “Mother,” “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and “The Final Cut.” Many lyrics clearly resonated with the audience, as hoots and hollers were earned from every corner of the amphitheater. “Mother, should I run for president? Mother, should I trust the government?” Darlington sang out, receiving a resounding “NO!” after each question.
Even if just for a night, all attendees were one — without a concept of time, space or matter. On top of Pink Floyd’s phenomenal lyricism, the artistry displayed by each vocalist and instrumentalist was without flaw. Throw in the captivating lights and visuals, and you’ve reached utopia. Pink Floyd and Brit Floyd are reminders of how omnipotent music can be in its ability to transport and connect. After all, it is the closest thing to magic we have, and this Red Rocks show reminded us all of that delightful fact once again.