MUSIC / Glad to be there: Pink Floyd - Earls Court

I had never imagined Pink Floyd's rearranged first night on Thursday would repeat the previous evening's nightmare. But, just in case, on came Dave Gilmour before the start to say, 'Thank you for your confidence' - a phrase certain to induce panic.

Perhaps what he meant was: 'Thank you for your confidence that we can make it through the next three hours.' In the first 30 minutes, I had my doubts. As if to emphasise their inertia, the band seemed to have alter- egos. A young guitarist ran about as Gilmour, too rotund for his T-shirt, sat on a stool; an energetic keyboard player played above Rick Wright; a second drummer waved his sticks manically over Nick Mason's greying head.

As the auditorium filled to the sound of birdsong, a screen showed short films, the symbolism sometimes transparent - boys wandering through the woods, celebrating the rural, romantic idylls of early Floyd - sometimes opaque, as when two youths seemed to drown in a river of flowers. Were they telling us something? Had this been the fate of Syd Barrett? It was good to have such questions to ponder in the first half as the band mined their mega-seller, The Division Bell, exposing its conventionality, the inadequacy of Gilmour's vocals, and the want of the now departed Roger Waters.

And then, after the interval, everything changed, the band leaping to life as they celebrated and sometimes improved on the back catalogue. Gilmour gave improvisations that astounded even the faithful. 'Money' became a funky dialogue between backing singers and Gilmour's guitar. The searing solos on 'Breathe in the Air' and 'Us and Them' made lyrics almost superfluous. And then came their most beautiful melody, 'Wish You Were Here', a spontaneous, emotional, impossible-to-mock singalong for 14,000 people.

For 'Another Brick in the Wall', middle-aged professionals, many probably teachers, punched their fists and yelled, 'Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone.' It is a myth that Pink Floyd's audience is middle-aged. Rarely do all the age groups show enthusiasm in such unity.

And while the first half's films of hippies blowing kisses seemed incongruous for this millionaire band, at the climax, music and images came together. Blazing light covered the 200ft stage, as balls of fire shot from the floor and the band played The Wall's 'Comfortably Numb' and 'Run Like Hell' with a venom and vigour I had never heard before.

The hippie connotations are now all but meaningless: what this show showed once more was that as purveyors of stadium rock, Pink Floyd not only remain extraordinarily good, they have no equal.

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits