Paramount's original
Laser Spectacular
Featuring the Music of
Pink Floyd

At the House of Blues, Anaheim, California
(Thurdsay, July 21, 2005)

So ya, thought ya might like ta, go to the show?
Shine on!

J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!

The Great, Great Pink Floyd is a sure fire candidate for Second Best Band in history! From their brilliant lyrics, to their rocking psychedelic music, to their shocking and surreal films to their incredible stage show. And just as Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii gave us a "Concert Film" with no Audience, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine a Pink Floyd Tour with an audience... but without the band. Yep, Pink Floyd's stage show, so rife with Lasers, Lights and effects is actually touring without them (any incarnation of them). Well... sort of. Just as Pink Floyd have become Rock and Roll proof of evolution, whether as one band, as a Post-Waters line up, or just Roger Waters solo, the show known as "Paramount's Original Laser Spectacular Featuring the Music of Pink Floyd" has evolved on its own since its debut in 1986. Many of the multi-era images from the prolific career of the Floyd are here, but this is by far not just a stage set without the band. It's a visual and audio experience that can knock you off your feet. Unfortunately, the House of Blues in Anaheim had barely the forethought that most sidewalk crossing Snails have, and declared the show "Standing Room Only".

Regardless, the show is overall excellent, if Floyd Devoid.
So where does that "Convenience Charge" go to again?
Come On House of Blues!

I'd like to take this subtle opportunity to invite everyone involved with the House of Blues to find the tallest building they can and take a flying fuck at the moon without a parachute! Either side of the moon, any colour you like! And that includes you, Elwood!

Whomever the jackass is who decided that a sublime and LSD Inviting show like this should be "Standing Room Only", and as well air conditioned as most Solitary Confinement cells should think seriously about a five cent session with Lucy Van Pelt, man!

Hey, standing in one spot for over an hour and a half in an adorned brick oven just to stand there for two more... suh-weet, man! Was the title of Bad Dancing Capitol of the World so desirable they decided to make sure there was plenty of floor to badly dance on? Kids, the Album A Collection of Great Dance Songs was named ironically, okay?

Thankfully the show and the sound quality kicked ass, but whose idea was it to play thirty Ramones songs in a row before act one? Hey, no one loves the Ramones more than me, but is that really the band to get one in the mood for a Pink Floyd show? Can we get a little less appropriate, please? How about having Meshuggah open for Fe Fe Dobson, or the comedy of Larry the Cable Guy warming up the crowd for a Beethoven set?

Setting aside the watery overpriced drinks and the self-satisfied, verbose and obnoxious D.J. announcer who loved to comment as often as he could, one must wonder where the veritable army of yellow-shirted security guards who strip searched us for car keys at the beginning of the show went after the show began. When three drunken genetic defectives staggered and pushed their way to the safety zone between the barricade and the stage (cheering for people none of us could see) it took three songs, more than ten minutes, for Security to get off of the toilet and ask them oh, so politely to go to hell! Or, more accurately, to go to the floor space right behind my wife and I.

Great lookin' out House of Blues. Good on ya! I'm just glad you don't run a movie theatre chain. At last I understand. It's not blues as in music, it's blues as in sadness and emotional downturns. House of Blues indeed. FUCK!


The show begins with an awkward and rocky opening that amounts to an almost insulting commercial for the "Laser Spectacular", complete with hairy teenager talking on the phone to a "bud" and clicking around the internet for information on the show and on "Dark Side of the Rainbow". You could actually hear the eyes roll wetly in the tired crowd.

Soon the real show actually kick started with the opening salvos of Dark Side of the Moon and the laser lights began to dance across the three oddly-shaped movie screens on the stage. It was then that we collectively discovered the value of the trip-toy paper goggles being hawked and plugged by the obnoxious announcer. At times, the show isn't much without the refractory lenses that beautifully quadruplicate the visual effects. However, the act of selling these separately is cheesier than Velveeta, isn't it? It amounts to hitting a 3-D movie then being asked for more dough for the glasses. What's more, the lasers danced in time across projected scenes from The Wizard of Oz, giving the audience a taste of the coincidental effects of "Dark Side of the Rainbow" (though the film was cut to deemphasize the not-so-synergistic aspects). The problem with this was that the lasers weren't as impressive without the glasses, but with the glasses the movie images were virtually unwatchable. Which is really a shame because parts of "Breathe" fit incredibly with Wizard's Kansas scenes, as does "Money" with the Munchkin land chapter.

However, it wasn't long before the show's flaws melted away and the cohesive genius of the whole began to take over. The unexpected use of Fritz Lang's Metropolis as a backdrop for "Us and Them" is inspired and goes at least as well with those lyrics as any part of Wizard does. The soaring crescendoes of "The Great Gig in the Sky"'s nonverbal verbiage is well complimented by otherworldly animations, and beautiful colors. Where I was officially won over and convinced of the unique and refreshing nature of the Laser Spectacular was during the visual representation of "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse". The visual of "The Lunatic" on the Grass, and all his varying placements was pure brilliant brilliance, and not just a hollow cartoon. "Everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon."

After an intermission (to let the clearly invisible surrogate band rest for a while), the show kicked back in with "Welcome to the Machine", which began a more diverse half of the show, spread across several albums, and with more lasers than a Star Wars Film Fest. While I still believe that "In The Flesh!" should probably never be performed out of the context of The Wall, the animations and sound quality of that portion were fantastic. As were the other select cuts from The Wall, if only they had a movie to play those songs over... oh, wait! Yes, indeedy, tracks from The Wall were predominantly played over Alan Parker's Pink Floyd The Wall, which alternately succeeded and floundered depending on the choices. When it worked, it worked well, but also stood to highlight how great the Laser Spectacular is when relying on itself, and what makes it individually so great.

Many of the images and motifs from Gerald Scarfe's The Wall animated sequences are beautifully depicted here, completely independent of the Film clips. Not only are they recognizable immediately, but they do their own thing without simply reenacting the stage and movie shows from before. "Comfortably Numb" depicts an abstract David Gilmour atop the bricks during his very fine guitar solo, while "Young Lust" breaks from the film and alternates between sexy images of "Dirty Women" and the grim visage of the Praying Mantis-like wife of Pink. And while "Mother" tastefully blends film, Scarfe-imagery and originality, "The Happiest Days of our Lives" and "Another Brick in the Wall, part 2" miss many opportunities to shine, and rely heavily on the Parker film. Because the Film and Album versions of these songs differ slightly, the disconnect is notable.

Similarly, "Wish You Were Here" passes on the Syd Barrett theme in favor of a pair of cartoon lovers reaching for each other and kissing... repeatedly. Still, whether it's what the audience (or some critic) would have chosen or not, the animation and laser lights are incredible, and go beautifully with the terrific sound mix. Tracks like "Have a Cigar" and "Learning to Fly" add dimensions to already excellent works, and could scarcely sound better, or look better. In fact, more often than not, the show makes the best possible use of its musical muse and either enhances or simply accompanies the pieces. It simply must be drunk in and appreciated, from a relaxed and secure perch. Unfortunately, it was standing room only.

No one would suggest this is as good as or better than seeing the band itself live, and yes, the majority of what is seen, are simply the interpretations of the show's creators, and might not be yours. There are no flying pigs or halos of spotlights behind the nonexistent drumset. However, in saying that, one must tip the old pink fedora to the visions up there. Best of all, the music is never an afterthought, always the basis for the beauty. There may be songs excluded you'd like to see, or inclusions you'd as soon miss, but this is most definitely the show that any Pink Floyd fan must see. Just make sure you see it at the right venue. Balancing the great sound, five star music and the good, bad, and negligent (on the part of the HOB), "Paramount's Original Laser Spectacular Featuring the Music of Pink Floyd" gets a solid Four Stars out of Five. See the music, hear the show and appreciate the irony of a bandless concert. Which one's Pink? This time Pink really isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel. Pink Floyd has never sounded so great, and when the Laser Spectacular stands on its own, on its unique merits and interpretations, it's better than any Rock Video you can imagine, and definitely worth the money to experience. Just make sure you have a place to sit that isn't made out of porcelain.

This Review shall be etched in your Memory...
But if not, click here for more laser accurate reviews, Pinky!

Pink Floyd's Laser Spectacular (7/21/05) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III, miner for truth and illusion, legend, martyr... shiner... But he drinks, so this is all you get!
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