The Riviera Theatre
North Tonawanda, NY
Friday May 13, 2022
Review: Thom Jennings
Photos: Thom Jennings
The Gilmour Project came to North Tonawanda, a town just outside of Buffalo NY. on a Friday evening, and found a welcoming, sold-out crowd. As advertised,the group of seasoned players did not disappoint, and they handled the complex material in their own unique way.
The Gilmour Project features an all-star lineup of musicians that have performed with everyone from Bob Weir and Phil Lesh to Todd Rundgren and The Tubes. The group focuses on the part of Pink Floyd’s vast catalog that was driven by David Gilmour, and is currently performing “Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety for their first set, followed by a second set of songs that change every night.
Aside from The Beatles and Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd has spawned the most acts performing their music. In Pink Floyd’s case, the groups that perform the Pink Floyd catalogue run the gamut from note for note interpretation to eclectic and improvisational, and given Pink Floyd’s progressive and often experimental style of music, there is a reason the landscape is so unique.
The Gilmour Project’s approach to the “Dark Side” album set the tone for what was a blazing and inventive second set. All of the sacrosanct melody lines were there, and when it made sense, the group forayed into improvisational territory. Unlike the stereotypical jam band, this five piece sounded tight rather than indulgent during improvised sections.
It was the perfect way to honor the fiftieth anniversary of “Dark Side,” an album that was developed in a live setting before Pink Floyd put it to record. The group added some unique takes on the album, including an eerie slide guitar on “”The Great Gig in the Sky” that replaced the vocal line, and a stellar jam during “Money.”
The real magic happened in the second set, which was a decidedly David Gilmour selection of Pink Floyd songs along with a few surprises peppered in for good measure.
Highlights of the second set included a blazing version of “Comfortably Numb,” Gilmour’s greatest contribution to the Roger Waters epic “The Wall.” Guitarist Jeff Pevar performed the bulk of the guitar work but Mark Karan’s vocal and guitar contributions were also on display all evening.
Every member of the ensemble had their moment in the spotlight. Keyboardist Scott Guberman had the opportunity to play the venue’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ, which rose out of the orchestra pit during an extended jam section. Bassist Kasim Sulton shone on “One of These Days,” and drummer Prairie Prince was given an extended solo during “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.”
The main set closed with a huge chunk of the “Animals” classics, “Sheep” and “Dogs.”
The improbable gems that made it into the setlist included a version of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” which she debuted the live version at The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball along with Gilmour on guitar, and a take on the Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star.”
The encores included “Hey Hey Rise Up,” Pink Floyd’s latest song that was written in response to the war in Ukraine, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” and a raucous “Have a Cigar” as a closer.
Visually, the show was incredible as well, alternating between low mood lighting and multi-colored light shows. With so many automated light shows out there these days, it was a treat to see a show where the lighting person clearly knew the music and how to accentuate it.
The Gilmour Project’s lineup did not disappoint, and the musical chemistry is a crucial element of the band’s show. Even a casual fan of Pink Floyd’s music will love this show.
SHOW # 12/ May 13
A VERY SPOOKY FRIDAY THE 13th SHOW WITH A WAXING BLOOD MOON
“(A Piece for Assorted Lunatics)”
‘Speak To Me In Latin’
On The Run
Time > Breathe reprise
The Great Gig In The Sky
The New Travel Sequence
Us & Them
Any Color You Like
‘Is there Anybody
Learning To Fly
Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush song)
Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun
Dark Star (Grateful Dead) Jam>
‘Close Encounters Jam’
One of These Days
Set The Controls
Hey Hey Rise Up
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Have A Cigar