Blind Date w/ Al Pash: Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets

Blind Date w/ Al Pash: Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets


In our new review segment “Blind Date with Al Pash,” the MVP of the Minneapolis music scene takes in a show from an artist she’s never heard before, providing a perspective with fresh eyes. For our inaugural installment, Al takes in Nick Mason’s “Saucerful of Secrets” tour at the Orpheum Theater:


Last week, I was working the Telecheck counter of First Avenue during a Mott the Hoople show when members of Nick Mason’s touring crew stopped by for some venue merch. After striking a conversation about the legendary Minneapolis rock club, I was offered a spot on the guest list for the Saucerful of Secrets show the following night. Like any novel experience, I was naive to evening that awaited me, pondering my expectations, and committing myself to a night of objectivity.  Away I skipped like a happily musical leprechaun, smiling at my dumb luck, and there was one thing I new for certain- I had a hot date with Nick Mason!

On Wednesday night, Minneapolis’s Orpheum Theater was transformed into an emporium of etherial funk. Not the funk that inspires Motown, but the right dose of weird where transformative thoughts transcend, and internal vibrance is relinquished. Was it the psychedelics of the lighting design, or the dual scent of generation X’s and baby boomers uniting for an evening of sonic reckoning that set the mood? Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets revitalized the pulseless matter of our minds and reawakened our imagination from its cyclical slumber, ultimately creating an environment where all musical souls could indulge.

Pink Floyd’s founder and drummer, Nick Mason pulled the rabbit out of the hat with this one, calling in help from fellow musicians Lee Harris, Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, and Guy Pratt to cover songs of his late band. The entire evening felt like a mix between Woodstock and a wholesome 40th high school reunion. An appreciation for what was, and a celebration for what is. A hodgepodge of generations were in attendance, all experiencing the event from quite different perspectives, as I imagine. You had the Baby Boomers, for instance, sitting respectfully in their seats reflecting fondly of their first time taking shrooms to a Pink Floyd tune, maybe chuckling softly to themselves wondering, “damn, where did the time go”. Then perhaps the Gen-Xers pounding a 40oz can of Bush Light howling at Mason’s double-kick drum setup. Finally, the millennials, slightly stoned, ready to embark on a musical history lesson of experimental bliss. The one commonality; a deep love for progression-ism, whether that be progressive thought, progressive love, or progressive sounds.

From an outside perspective, with virgin ears to progressive rock, this concert may have looked like a cross-faded hippy fest, forged by irrelevant old dudes. Is there truth to that statement…sure. Like anything subjective, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 30 seconds of objectivity was all that was needed for the atomic release of sounds and feelings, as the band’s veteran-ship reigned, splattering color and nonconformity across the walls of the theater. The visual aids included vintage band footage swirled with trippy, technicolor collages – the perfect marriage between audio-visual effects needed to illicit our resting emotions. The band opened the show with “Interstellar Overdrive”, the seventh track on Pink Floyd’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. This instrumental fondue-of-a-piece set a precedence for the audible wonders to follow. A perfect Segway into “Astronomy Domine”, the first track off that same album, which examines the exploration of the human mind and those that choose to succumb to the cognitive adventure. The psychedelic trance and etherial riffs ushered the audience through the setlist like a intergalactic pirate who traded his periscope for a kaleidoscope. That night truly epitomized the phrase “getting lost in the music”. The bellowing kick drum, galactic guitar tones, and debilitating base waves were all part of this immersive Saucerful of Secrets.

The band paid respectful homage to Syd Barrett, co-founder and lead singer of Pink Floyd, proclaiming “that is where it all started”, honoring his memory and wild success as musician and songwriter. Nick Mason received a standing ovation himself, after Lee Harris professed his gratitude and admiration for the drummer, naming him “the heart and soul of Pink Floyd”. It was clear the audience felt the same level of admiration, sporting vintage merchandise and wailing lyrical content throughout the night.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets represented something bigger than a reunion tour. Yes it reunited supporters of the past, but it also unified listeners and progressives of the present. It is concerts like these that continue to challenge ageism in the industry, strengthening the reclamation of intentionality and purpose in our music. There is nothing more unifying than a human collective of positive energy, all aimed in one direction; forward.


Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Tour Link: