ROCK / Pink Floyd pig out

A STAGE 180ft wide? Check. Enormous circular projection screen? Check. Laser beams webbing the auditorium? Check. Inflatable pigs (two)? Check. Pink Floyd's Thursday show at Earl's Court was as big as you'd imagine. Such is the band's reputation for less- than-subtle gimmicks that when two seating stands buckled disastrously on Wednesday - which should have been the first night - many people thought at first that it was part of the proceedings. But no, nothing so unusual was planned. The special effects were as dazzling as a fireworks display, but after a few Guy Fawkes Nights you've seen it all before. Even the pigs were boars.

Following a promising opening of 'Shine on you Crazy Diamond', Pink Floyd (I refuse to call them 'the Floyd') ran through some relatively new material, including four songs from The Division Bell, unique among bells in that it puts you to sleep rather than waking you up. Dave Gilmour tweaked his stately guitar over swelling, ponderous chords and three backing singers oohing and aahing. They have to be young and beautiful, incidentally, with matching dresses and dance steps. The chaps can slob around in jeans and T-shirts. Gilmour has reached that point in a rock star's career where they cut their hair short and you know they'll never grow it long again. There are two guitarists, two drummers and two keyboard players, so if any of the triumvirate of Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright were to drop dead, the show could go on.

Following a 15-minute mid- concert tea break, Pink Floyd reclaim their musical youth with 'Astronomy Domine'. The Earl's Court concert, unlike their recorded output, gets better as it goes along. 'Money', 'Time', 'Us and Them', and 'Wish You Were Here' make welcome returns. Some were hastily dispatched, others were like those porkers with headlamps for eyes: inflated to ridiculous proportions.

But it is hard to resist 14,000 people shouting, 'Hey] Teacher] Leave them kids alone', even though most of them would make the demand not as pupils but as PTA members. The fantastic finale - the world's biggest glitter-ball, eyebrow-singeing flashbombs, and a few extra fireworks that you weren't expecting - leaves your critical faculties comfortably numbed.

When Nanci Griffith sings a ballad the audience is rapt. Take Julie Gold's 'Southbound Train', for instance, from the latest album, Flyer (MCA). Just Griffith, two impossibly tight backing vocalists, piano and bass. The crowd is silent throughout, barely daring to breathe. The problem is, when Griffith whacks into a rip-roaring 'Time of Inconvenience', there is not a peep from the audience then either.

Perhaps the Albert Hall is to blame, or perhaps Griffith's acute cuteness. An obvious symptom is her name, which she spells with an 'i' instead of a 'y'. When your little sister did that aged nine you gave her a Chinese burn. Griffith is 41. I expect that when she signs autographs she dots the 'i' with a circle and draws a smiley face. She looks and talks like the offspring of Bambi and Forrest Gump, she dedicates one song to her Great Uncle Tooty, or perhaps Tooti, and announces that John Prine's 'Speed of the Sound of Loneliness' was written by 'a good pal of mine' - pretty much a snub coming from her, as most of her songs are by 'one of my dearest friends'. Such wetness can dampen any crowd's enthusiasm, but Griffith usually manages to rouse the rabble with the power of her singing voice and immaculate country/folk arrangements.

So maybe tonight's failure was down to first-night nerves, of which she frequently complains, and which she demonstrates by beginning 'From a Distance' in the wrong key. First nights can be terrible, as Pink Floyd will tell you.

Pink Floyd: Earl's Court, 071-373 8141, tonight, Mon, Wed-Sun, then 26-29 Oct. Nanci Griffith: Manchester Apollo, 061-273 3775, Thurs; Birmingham Symphony Hall, 021-782 8282, Fri; Glasgow RCH, 041-227 5511, 23-26 Oct.

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
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.

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot