Last week I took my 17-year-old son Tommy to a concert featuring the band Australian Pink Floyd. It was one half of his birthday present. If you’ve never seen them, they do incredible recreations of Pink Floyd songs—probably better than Pink Floyd could even do them now. They fill up the Akoo theater every other year or so (around 4000 seats).
Tommy is a big fan of Pink Floyd, so I thought he’d really love it. During the first few songs, however, I looked over at him and it appeared he was clearly not enjoying the show. He had his hands over his ears despite wearing noise filtering devices (balled up Kleenex) and he wasn’t smiling.
“Everything OK?” I asked.
He nodded, but it was slightly unconvincing. The band wasn’t helping by choosing some of the most obscure Pink Floyd songs imaginable. I know that I’m not a Floyd-head, but I do consider myself a rock and roll aficionado, and even I hadn’t heard of some of these tunes.
When it was time for intermission, I braced myself for Tommy’s response. “What do you think so far?” I asked.
“It’s awesome,” he said. Now he was smiling too.
“Yeah,” he continued. “I couldn’t believe they did three different songs from ‘The Division Bell’, you know what I mean?”
“They actually did ‘What do you want from me’, ‘Take it Back’ AND ‘High Hopes’!”
“Exactly,” I said, pretending to know which songs he was referring to.
“And when they went all the way back to their second album? That was incredible.”
“Oh,” I said, “You mean when they did, um,….”
“Yeah, ‘A Saucerfull of Secrets’!’
“Exactly,” I said. “Pretty incredible. I don’t suppose it would be too much to ask to do a few of their hits, too, would it?”
“They will, Dad,” he said. “Don’t worry. I know you only know three Pink Floyd Albums—Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall. The second half of the show will probably be mostly songs from those albums.”
I love that he has taken to some of the rock and roll from my era, but can I admit that I was a little taken aback that he knew more about it than I did? I mean, I was a rock and roll radio disc jockey for many years. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts. I have the damaged hearing to prove it.
“What was your favorite song so far?” he asked.
“Well, um, boy that’s a tough one.”
“I think I know which one,” he said. “Was it ‘The Fletcher Memorial Home’?”
“Ah yes,” I said, “Who doesn’t love that song from their incredible album….”
“The Final Cut,” he said.
“That was the album after Roger Waters left the band, right?” I asked.
“No,” he said patiently. “It was Roger’s last album.”
“Probably why they called it ‘The Final Cut’, right?”
“I’m not sure,” he said.
We looked it up together when we got home. According to Wikipedia, it’s an anti-war album, inspired by the Falklands War. It was the only thing Tommy didn’t know about the music we heard that night. I was very impressed…and humbled.
This week Tommy collects the second half of his birthday present; The Who (Roger & Pete) in concert at the All State Arena. They’ll be playing the entire Quadrophenia album from beginning to end. I know that one a lot better than the obscure Pink Floyd songs we heard last week, but I’ll be spending a little time this week brushing up on it anyway.
I’ve got to bring my A-game. The boy is clearly a rock and roll big leaguer now.