A Saucerful of Secrets

Last weekend we headed to Birmingham for a much-postponed (thanks to the pandemic) treat – a concert by Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets

For anyone who doesn’t follow prog rock, Mason is a brilliant rock drummer who formed one quarter of the original line-up of Pink Floyd. Recently he’s put together his own band, including other rock legends such as Guy Pratt and Gary Kemp, to play some of Floyd’s older material. As he himself said, the other surviving members of the group tend to focus on Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, but Floyd was so much more than that. It’s also his own tribute to tortured genius Syd Barrett, the front man of the original band, who wrote much of that early material.

We booked the concert pre-pandemic and had to sit on our hands while it was postponed about four times. This time, we were so used to being disappointed we hardly dared hope, but as it was, we arrived at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall clutching our tickets to find it was all happening at last.

Was it worth the two year wait? Yes, absolutely it was. Every last second was amazing, brilliant, masterful – and surprisingly good fun. Unlike the original band, who even a fan like me has to admit could occasionally be a bit po-faced, Saucerful of Secrets are a lot more relaxed and even, at times, mischievous. In between numbers, Mason provided entertaining snippets looking back at the history of the band and some of the songs they played. Like Vegetable Man, for instance, which he freely admitted was never recorded because it was never finished, because none of them had a clue how to finish it!

The highlight of the night was a complete, unabridged, and pretty much note-perfect rendition of Echoes, possibly the first Floyd track to really sound like Floyd, if you know what I mean. It’s one of my favourites, and I sat utterly spellbound for the 25 minutes it took to play. I could almost have been back in the 1970s, before all the splits and acrimony, listening to the Pink Floyd of old. A very special treat, and one I hope we can repeat some day.

The photo above isn’t mine, sadly – we took a few on a mobile phone, but the lights were so bright the lens focused on those rather than the band members, so all it really looks like is a lightning strike. This pic is courtesy of The Midlands Rocks.

Saucerful of Sky Arts

I’ve been posting on here, on and off, about the Saucerful of Secrets concert we were due to go to last year, which has been postponed at least twice thanks to Covid. Currently it’s scheduled for about April but unlikely to go ahead, and it may well be autumn or even next year before we finally get to see it.

However, as a small chink of light in the general gloom, we recently discovered that Sky Arts (newly available on Freeview here in the UK) showed an hour-and-a-half long concert by Nick Mason and his fellow musicians. The band now consists of Mason himself on drums, Gary Kemp (of Spandau Ballet) on guitar and lead (ish) vocals, and three other excellent musicians on guitar, bass and keyboard. And they’re good. Perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not so surprisingly given the calibre of talent – but at times you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the original Pink Floyd line-up performing.

The material is mostly drawn from Floyd’s earlier albums (up to and including Wish You Were Here) with less emphasis on Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, and The Division Bell. There’s clearly still plenty to choose from and the concert was an eclectic mix of really early Sid Barrett songs like Arnold Lane and See Emily Play, and more obviously “Floyd-like” tracks – Echoes, Heart of the Sun, Astronomy Domine to name but a few.

It’s great to see these tracks getting the airplay they deserve. As Mason himself said in a brief ‘intermission’ interview, too often Pink Floyd tributes stick to the same five albums and great though that is, it’s good to have some variety. We enjoyed every second, and are looking forward to the ‘real thing’ even more now that we know how professional it all is.

If you’re a fan of Floyd, or of prog rock in general, and can get Sky Arts on Catch-Up, then do look out for this programme, entitled Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets. It’s well worth an hour and a half of any music fan’s time.

Wish You Were Here…?


The title of this blog post is particularly ironic. I’ve realised that tonight we were meant to be in Birmingham for the Nick Mason / Saucerful of Secrets concert.

For anyone who doesn’t follow rock music, Nick was the drummer in Pink Floyd. He’s put together his own prog rock band, Saucerful of Secrets, and together they’ve been on tour performing some of Floyd’s earlier music.

As a mega fan of all things Pink Floyd I was really looking forward to the event but thanks to Covid-19 it’s had to be postponed. Currently it’s scheduled to take place in October but there are no guarantees and it may have to be put off until some time next year.

I absolutely understand the reasons, but you could say I’ve gone from ‘High Hopes’ to ‘Wish You Were Here’ in one sad step…