Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets: a testament to Pink Floyd’s formative years!


Nick Mason, the drummer of Pink Floyd and the only member to have appeared on every studio album release, is currently on tour with his newest project- the Saucerful Of Secrets. Completed by Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet), Lee Harris (The Blockheads), Guy Pratt (Michael Jackson, The Smiths, Roxy Music) and Keyboardist Dom Beken, the Saucerful band was formed in 2018 by Lee Harris to bring justice to the oft-overlooked early years of Pink Floyd. The self-titled tour is in full swing, with a stop at Poole lighthouse on Tuesday 25th June.

Credit: Kye Preston @kyeprestonnphotos

It would be doing Mason an injustice to simply describe his Saucerful Of Secrets show as a ‘gig’. Similarly, it would also not be appropriate to call them a covers band. Yes, they play the music of Pink Floyd and yes, only 1/5 of the men on stage were actually in that band. But, where else in the world can you currently say you heard a full 24-minute rendition of ‘Echoes’, or that you have experienced songs like ‘The Scarecrow’ and ‘Lucifer Sam’? And, of all people, they were sang to you by Gary Kemp?

Mason’s band were tight and didn’t set a foot wrong with notes or the complex guitar solos that playing the early ‘Floyd demands. They soared through the set like they had been playing together for years like they were there at the time. Opener ‘Astronomy Domine’ was followed by ‘Arnold Layne’ and ‘See Emily Play’, which set the tone for the rest of the night. The trippy, psychedelic nature of the first ‘Floyd album was integrated throughout, with Kemp acknowledging their cultural significance mid-set by telling the audience that he felt his life to have changed after listening to Dark Side Of The Moon. Despite there being no songs from any Pink Floyd record after 1973’s Meddle (this is an early years set after all),  Kemp insinuates that the music played that night in many ways allowed Dark Side to happen- which it did, and is why it deserves a show of its own. There is reference plenty to ‘Floyd throughout the night. “The last time I played near here was in Bournemouth, at the Winter Gardens, supporting Jimi Hendrix in 1967”.  Cheers shot up from those fortunate enough to remember it.

Credit: Kye Preston @kyeprestonnphotos

Sentiment was truly the anchor of the night, drip-fed through every song, line of speech, and even out at the merch desk. Syd Barrett t-shirts were available for purchase, as well as a mural of Syd appearing behind the band during ‘Remember Me’. Barrett has remained a consistent figure in the world of ‘Floyd ever since his departure after their second album. In every way, this gig wouldn’t have happened if not for Syd, and they made this very obvious. Mason’s respect towards him feels melancholic, the way it always did- even going back to Wish You Were Here. For ‘Remember me’, Dom Beken had extrapolated Syd Barrett’s vocals and interwoven them between Kemp’s own, leading Mason to stand up afterwards and declare his bewilderment at “the dark arts of technology” that also produced “Grindr and Tiktok”. Nick Mason being aware of Grindr was not on my bingo card for 2024. The late Richard Wright also got his moment in the spotlight- the band played ‘Remember A Day’, a song led by Wright, as a nod to his legacy.

“I quite like this part- because for years I had to watch someone else doing it” Mason jokes, pointing to the gong sitting behind his drum kit. He is interrupted by a phone call from his pocket. He answers, to which a high-pitched girl’s voice is played over the speakers. Whilst the speech is completely inaudible, and the audience seems confused, Mason pauses- before addressing the call with a “Hey- Roger [Waters]!” – needless to say this had the audience in stitches. “No, I haven’t seen your gong- I’m just hanging out with some friends down in Poole'” he follows up with jokingly, before hanging up and letting the band take it away with ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’, an obvious choice. ‘If’ bookends a rendition of the ‘Atom Heart Mother’ suite, before the band take a planned interval.

Credit: Kye Preston @kyeprestonnphotos

During the second set, I found myself distracted by a man sitting adjacent to the sound booth, behind a table with a light box, a projector arm and a box full of coloured oils. Somehow, and I’m not entirely sure how he was using objects and oil paints to make the visuals that were appearing behind the band on the screen. Another marvellous reason why this show is so much more than a gig. It is an entire audio-visual experience. To no surprise, it took just one note for the audience to stand for a round of applause. That note was the first from ‘Echoes’, a clear fan favourite of the night. When they had settled again, Beken played the second note, to which more applause erupted.

Mason is the last remaining member to be serving justice to the band’s legacy. In a world where the music of Pink Floyd is being repackaged as acoustic ‘redux’ editions (Roger Waters, I am looking at you, and it isn’t nicely), Mason is showing respect on an unprecedented level to the formative years of the band that defined his career- reinterpreting the songs for his new bandmates whilst also making sure they stick true to what made those records so great in the first place. The show is fun, packed with hits, with plenty of nods to the history that enabled Mason to still sit there today, holding his band together like he always did.


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