EDITOR’S NOTE: The Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular returns to the South Shore Room at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24. Tickets are $27 plus fees and taxes. A packed house experienced the show in 2015. Here’s what happened.
If you witnessed some folks sporting pink 3-D glasses while wandering around Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Saturday night, don’t trip. They couldn’t help themselves.
“Brain Damage,” no doubt.
The wanderers had just experienced the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular at Harrah’s sold-out South Shore Room. The venue holds about 1,100 people, and 274 of them purchased “psychedelic enhancements,” the 3-D glasses, which made the laser show even more spectacular.
Still wearing the glasses? “Yeah, we’re going to trip all night,” responded one thirtysomething fan as she bounced between slot machines after the 90-minute show.
Rick James, 60, of Reno, wore the glasses for 90 percent of the show and enjoyed the prism effect and multiple images they create, reminding him of the days “when I was back in high school and doing acid.”
But it wasn’t until he shed the specs briefly Saturday night that he took a trip of a different sort. While heading to the bar to quench a sudden thirst, James tripped and went flying. “I rolled out, popped up. Perfect,” he said. “No big deal.”
“Damn good show,” summed up James (no relation to the “Super Freak” singer with the same name). “Takes your mind off your normal daily bullshit and lets you go somewhere else.”
Back in the day, in 1975 when Pink Floyd played at the Cow Palace in Daly City, fans could score tickets — and perhaps some party favors – in the parking lot. No big deal. That same year, the mayor of Los Angeles ordered police to arrest a number of pot-smoking hippies at a Floyd show. Twenty years later, Pink Floyd sold out two shows at the Oakland Coliseum. Tickets were harder to come by then, with hardcore fans sleeping overnight outside record stores (remember those?) to procure passage.
On Friday night, Sean Price III, 26, of Salt Lake City, waited an hour in the no-show line with five friends before getting in. “A different kind of Pink Floyd fan,” he had seen three performances by an Australian cover band in Salt Lake.
“I don’t know if my brain can handle any more damage,” he assessed, adding that he was counting on some space, “because I like going to space.” Afterward, he was left wanting more – early Floyd, “Meddle,” “Ummagumma,” but was satisfied nonetheless.
“They played what people wanted to hear.”
The soundtrack featured music from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Released in 1973, the album racked up sales of more than 50 million, becoming the group’s most successful recording. “Dark Side” included the classics “Time” and “Money,” and, of course, “Brain Damage.”
“The lunatic is on the grass… The lunatics are in my hall. The paper holds their folded faces to the floor. And every day the paper boy brings more… And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.” A neon lunatic, with a crescent shaped moon for a head, danced on the screen. He seemed happy, actually.
During the rendition of “Money,” film footage showed Dorothy marching off to see the Wizard, and the Wicked Witch of the West died on cue. When you leave Kansas and touch down in Oz, money doesn’t matter much.
The show also played music from “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall.”
The audience sang along with “Another Brick in the Wall,” noting, “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control.” Fallen stars, including John Lennon, Elvis, Bob Marley and Kurt Cobain, flashed on the screen as “Wish You Were Here” paid tribute.
A sweet smelling smoke rose from somewhere in the crowd during “Comfortably Numb,” with a laser-fired cloud hovering overhead. Whether or not they were equipped with “psychedelic enhancements,” concertgoers appeared more than content.
“And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”