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The Machine

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunoco Performance Theater, Whitaker Center, Harrisburg, PA


Set 1 - Animals
1. Pigs on the Wing, Part 1
2. Dogs
3. Pigs (Three Different Ones)
4. Sheep
5. Pigs on the Wing, Part 2

Set 2
6. Welcome To The Machine

7. Speak To Me/Breathe
8. On The Run
9. Time/Breathe Reprise

10. Wish You Were Here
11. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part 2)

12. Money
13. Us And Them
14. Any Colour You Like
15. Brain Damage
16. Eclipse

17. Run Like Hell
18. The Trial
19. Outside The Wall

My Concert Review

(01/02/07) I don't remember most of my New Year's "celebrations", and not because I get drunk and black out, but because most of the time I don't do anything particularly special enough to warrant remembering. But this year will go down as one of my more memorable New Year's experiences - I took a road trip with my brother and my friend from college to see The Machine, a Pink Floyd cover band, play in Harrisburg, PA on New Year's Eve.

This was my second time seeing The Machine, and they delievered an incredible show as expected. Last time, they played Dark Side of Oz in the first set, and a smattering of favorites in the second set. This time, we went in expecting to hear all of Dark Side of the Moon and Animals, but they also played mini sets from Wish You Were Here and The Wall. It was an awesome show.

The venue was nice; it was a cozy theatre in a building that reminded me of the Carnegie Science Center here in Pittsburgh, and remarkably, the parking garage we parked in was part of the building, so we didn't have any trouble getting to the place after we parked. We had seats down in the orchestra pit, on the right edge, literally only about 6 feet from the right side of the stage, but to be honest, there probably wasn't a bad seat in the house, it was so small. The only real problem with our seats was that the saxophone player was obscured by the huge speakers in front of us on the side of the stage.

The band took the stage just after 8:30, and the lead guy thanked us all for sharing our New Year's with the band. Their first set consisted of the entirety of the Animals album, and it was really good. They opened with Pigs on the Wing, Part 1, followed by the long and epic Dogs. The audience was really enjoying the show (and I'm sure more than a few of them were pretty buzzed), and even added in some of their own dog noises to complement the song. The keyboard-player in the band was barking into a microphone at one point to create the synthesized barking noises that are part of the song.

Although Dogs was originally my favorite track on the album Animals when I first listened to it, at this performance, my favorite Animals song was Pigs (Three Different Ones). It's a very heavy song, with some rather aggressive lyrics, and one of the most incredible guitar solo outros in rock. As with most of the songs they play, The Machine totally did the song justice.

Animals rounded out with Sheep, complete with the sheep-enhanced bible lyric, and finished with an extended Pigs on the Wing, Part 2. During one of the songs, I think it was Sheep, the lead bandmember put on a New Year's hat, that I think was given to him by an audience member. He wore it for most of the song until it flew off during a guitar solo. The band then took an intermission, and the theater practically emptied temporarily as the audience left to eject and refuel.

The second set started up with Welcome To The Machine, an understandable signature song for the band, and then they began their odyssey into Dark Side of the Moon. Excellent playing all around, as expected. When they got to On The Run, I was actually reminded of early Tangerine Dream, which was neat. Unfortunately, the band did skip one song from the album, and it happens to be one of my favorite songs from the album - The Great Gig In The Sky. They didn't have a female vocalist, but then again, they didn't use one when they played Dark Side of Oz last time I saw them.

In any case, in place of Great Gig, the band played a mini-set from Wish You Were Here. Before starting that, though, the lead bandmember announced the engagement of a couple in the audience, who happened to be sitting two rows in front of our seats, in the front row. The woman looked quite surprised and happy. The band played Wish You Were Here for them, and then unexpectedly continued with Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Part 2, which sounded fantastic. It was really cool to hear that one, especially since you always hear the first part, but rarely the second. And it sounded really good.

After that mini-set, the band did the second half of Dark Side, starting with Money, which sounded great. Lots of bluesy jamming and rocking, and saxophoning. Us And Them was slow and mellow and jazzy as usual, but it broke into Any Colour You Like, another of my favorite tracks from Dark Side. The tone on the guitar in that track is very unique, and the guitarist captured it perfectly. Brain Damage grew into Eclipse, and the concert reached its climactic end.

For the encore, The Machine played a mini-set from The Wall, starting with Run Like Hell. I was expecting to hear Another Brick in the Wall and/or Comfortably Numb, but I was very pleasantly surprised to hear a much more obscure track, but also from The Wall - The Trial. It kicked off with a killer heavy guitar riff. Hearing that song live was awesome, and it concluded with Outside the Wall, the final track from The Wall, and a suitable song to finally end the show on. One thing's for sure, I definitely want to see The Machine play The Wall in its entirety someday.

The show was incredible. Although there were no pre-Dark Side tracks played, which is currently my favorite era of Floyd, it was still as good a Pink Floyd show as I could expect to see, even from the original bandmembers of Floyd [ obviously can't compare to seeing them perform it in their prime]. The lasers and lights and fog were all very neat (though understandably not on par with David Gilmour's On An Island tour), and the song selection and performances were all top-notch. The lead bandmember mentioned during the show how much he liked that our audience was actually making noise during the show - he complained that some audiences they'd played to were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Seeing The Machine was a fantastic way to celebrate New Year's Eve, and it didn't matter that it was pouring outside afterward, or that we saw no fireworks on the ride out of Harrisburg.

More pictures: 1 2
(All pictures on this page taken by R)

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