Bringing The Great Gig In The Sky To Earth And Back To The Dark Side Of The Moon

Mighty echoes of Pink Floyd blow roof off Asbury Park’s Stone Pony

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My Pink Floyd journey started in circa 1976 when I first listened to Wish You Were Here, yet another gem in my older sister’s vinyl record collection at the time. Whether she did so consciously or not, once again I realize I owe her a debt of gratitude for introducing me to various great artists I continue to dig to this day, more than 40 years later.

When it comes to Pink Floyd, I suppose the closest original live experience you can get these days is Roger Waters whose Us + Them tour is set to hit South America and Mexico in October. We may also be able to look forward to more gigs from David Gilmour but the outlook is still unclear. When discussing his Live At Pompeii album in September 2017, he said he’d be very uncomfortable to do another tour without new material, adding he has several new songs close to completion.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t just hop on a plane to catch Waters in South America; and frankly even if I could, I’m not even sure I would want to. The prospect of being able to see Gilmour look uncertain at this time. So what’s a Floyd fan like me to do? Enter  Echoes, “The American Pink Floyd.” It’s obvious this tribute band from Delaware doesn’t aim to look like Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason but instead is all about capturing the great music. And that they do incredibly well!

Echoes 3

I saw Echoes first a year ago at Rock The Farm, where they closed out the great annual tribute band spectacle in Seaside Heights, N.J., with an amazing performance under the stars. When I learned a few weeks ago they would come to Asbury Park, N.J. to play The Stone Pony, I didn’t think twice whether or not I should get a ticket. The show happened last night, and it truly was experiencing the great gig in the sky coming down to earth and back to the dark side of the moon. But, to also creatively borrow from Aerosmith and Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, why don’t I let some of the music do the talking?

Here is the opener of the first set, Sheep. Written by Waters, the tune appeared on Floyd’s tenth studio album Animals, released in January 1977.

In 1975, Pink Floyd recorded the above mentioned Wish You Here, their ninth studio album. Initially, this was my favorite Floyd record. Here is Echoes’ rendition of Have A Cigar, Waters’ cynical take on the recording industry. And, yes, the band was just fantastic, and that’s really what think, even though they didn’t have Pink. Clever, huh?

Another track I’d like to highlight from the first set is Hey You. Gilmour and Waters co-wrote the tune for The Wall, Floyd’s 11th studio album from November 1979 – by the way, the only album I bought on vinyl at the time it came out. This was during my high school rebel days when the message Hey teacher, leave them kids alone resonated, at least when it came to some of my teachers who shall remain unnamed!

Next up is the closer of the first set and undoubtedly the highlight of the show: Time and The Great Gig In The Sky. Both gems are included on Floyd’s studio release that preceded Wish You Were Here: The Dark Side Of The Moon, from March 1973. Time was co-written by all four members of Pink Floyd, while The Great Gig In The Sky was credited to Wright and the amazing vocalist Clare Torry. If you don’t want to watch the entire clip, at least do yourself a favor and check out Echoes’ (backing) vocalist Michelle Sumler Hover, who is just absolutely killing it on Gig.

Set 2 brought more amazing music and in addition to the above albums also included material from Meddle, Floyd’s sixth studio album released in October 1971. But first here’s the epic Money and Us And Them from Dark Side, tunes that were respectively written by Waters and co-written by him and Gilmour. Check out the great work from the band’s sax player Andrew Bedell.

Another track I’d like to highlight from the second set is Run Like Hell, a co-write by Waters and Gilmour from The Wall album.

I guess no Pink Floyd tribute show would be complete without Wish You Were Here. And since Echoes apparently wanted to end their gig with a big bang, they combined it with One Of These Days. The title track of Floyd’s ninth studio album from September 1975 was penned by Waters and Gilmour, while One Of These Days, off the Meddle album, was credited to all band members.

This post wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging Echoes’ impressive musicianship. Echoes feature William (Bill) Swezey (guitar, vocals), John Ratcliffe (vocals, guitar), David Fox (guitar, lap steel), Dan Long (keyboards, sound effects),  Andrew Bedell (saxophone), Chris Miller (bass) and Matt Urban (drums). Penny Carmack, Chris Duncan and the above mentioned Michelle Sumler Hover form Echoes’ amazing backing vocalist section cleverly called “The Crazy Diamond Girls.” Last night, Kim Walton was filling in for Duncan.

After the show, I briefly had a chance to say ‘hello’ to Bill Swezey, who looked like a happy camper. I think he certainly had plenty of good reason after a great gig! He said they want to keep Floyd’s music alive. When I asked him how long they had been doing this, he noted the band has been together since 2015. He also confirmed what was obvious to me that all of the band’s members have been professional musicians for many years.

According to their Facebook page, Echoes are scheduled to play next on October 19th at Ardmore Music Hall in Ardmore, Pa. The band’s website also lists another show for December 22nd at Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del. If you dig Pink Floyd and can get to any of these places, I would highly recommend Echoes.

Sources: Wikipedia, Roger Waters official website, Echoes Facebook page and official website, YouTube

12 thoughts on “Bringing The Great Gig In The Sky To Earth And Back To The Dark Side Of The Moon”

  1. You sure do love your tribute bands. I should check one out I was thinking about it- other than Beatlemania in the late 70’s or early 80’s I don’t think I’ve seen one since!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose that’s what earned me Music Enthusiast’s title “king of the tribute bands” – now I have to live up to it! 🙂

      On a more serious note, it’s true I’ve seen many tribute bands over the past couple of years. The collection is set to grow next Saturday when I’m planning to attend this year’s “Rock The Farm,” the annual tribute act festival I mentioned in the post. The lineup looks very promising.

      While I’m not saying each tribute band is great, I guess I’ve been fortunate to have seen a good deal that are. Echoes is definitely one of them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great that you are getting out and going to these. I have tickets for Bob Dylan and Steve Earle coming up- I haven’t been to a show since U2 last July.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, these are certainly two big names! I saw Dylan once in the 80s and felt it was a bummer.

        Leading up to the concert, I had listened to “Before The Flood” back and forth and had come to dig that album – I still do. The only problem was that except for “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” which was the opener of his set, Dylan didn’t play anything else thereafter I knew. Later I found out that the man can be unpredictable – no kidding! Luckily, Roger McGuinn (warm-up act) and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were on the bill as well and saved the night for me!

        Recently, I’ve started listening to some of Steve Earle’s music and generally like what I’ve heard thus far.

        In any case, you have to tell us about both shows!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. i have seen Dylan 6 or 7 times over the years but not in the past 20 years or so- I made up my mind the next time he comes around I would go see him- he’s not getting younger- and he’s coming around. Yes his shows can be unpredictable…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Seeing somebody six or seven times clearly indicates a fan to me. As such, it sounds like you made a good choice!

        I guess I’m in a similar boat with Paul McCartney than you are with Dylan. I am a fan and have seen him before, once in the ’80s and a few years ago – of course, measly compared to you and Dylan!

        If Macca brings his “Freshen Up” tour anywhere within reasonable driving distance from my house next year, I have to decide whether I want to see him a third time. Unless ticket prices would be completely ridiculous, I would probably do it!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Would heartily second hanspostcards rec on Steve Earle! In my opinion he is one of the most underrated songwriters out there

        Like

  2. These guys sound good. I guess if you’re gonna be in a tribute band you have to really nail it. The Australian Pink Floyd shows up on PBS every once in a while, usually when they hold a telethon and they want to attract boomers, all of whom they assume have unlimited spare cash. Do you realize if you didn’t have tribute bands to go see you’d have to spend your time at home every night collecting stamps or something? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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