Q: How can you tell when you are in Scotland?
A: When there are 38 bottles of soft drink in the kebab / pizza / indian / fish and chip shop fridge, 34 of which are Irn-Bru...
It's not a joke, it's a true story, I actually counted them. It must be a southern thing that I find this amusing.
Anyway... back to the subject in hand.
As possibly the dullest member of the band I am responsible for some of the most boring duties, like coding various things into the website and displaying data in a format that everyone can understand. I quite enjoy it, but as Bonney reminds me on an hourly basis, I am a nerd, or a geek, he doesn't really know the difference.
Hopefully all of you are aware that this year we have a poll running on our site where you can select the show you are attending and vote for 6 songs that you would like to hear from 3 different albums with a maximum of 2 votes per album. This was launched on Christmas Eve 2013 and after a couple of technical hurdles (involving database connections not being closed) it all worked very nicely.
The results were not what I was expecting. To be fair I don't know what I was expecting but I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition. Sorry, i'll come in again. I didn't expect the voting to be so similar in different regions.
The 3 albums you can choose from are The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Division Bell. It doesn't mean we are only going to do tracks from these albums, all the usual songs were rehearsed plus a few that I have never done with the band which means it has been at least a few years since the newer tracks were performed by TAPFS.
The fear was that you would all vote for something that we for some reason couldn't do in isolation. For example, how can we do On The Run without doing Breathe before it and Time after it? The same goes for Any Colour You Like, Cluster One and Speak To Me, without the other tracks that surround them they don't always make sense.
The surprise was that you didn't really vote for any of those tracks in any great numbers (even if Speak To Me did get a few votes), I mean, how can you vote for Brain Damage without voting for Eclipse? Looking at the results country by country or even gig by gig showed almost the same thing over and over, Pink Floyd fans seem to know what they want wherever they live.
So lets get down to maths. As the tour is ongoing and voting is still happening I don't want to give everything away but some of it is so clear cut that I can easily reveal certain results without ruining it for you.
The Dark Side Of The Moon
There were 3 tracks that got almost all the Dark Side vote:- Us & Them, Time/Breathe Reprise & The Great Gig in the Sky. To make the numbers simple I'm going to say that these all had around 1000 votes each compared to something like Money which had around 350, and the rest were below that. These are not the real number of votes but the ratios give a decent estimate. There is only so much we can do in one show and we decided pretty quickly that these were the 3 that would be in every night. Last year we did the whole of Dark Side so if the vote suddenly goes in a different direction it's quite easy to change the set with little rehearsal - but as it stands they are so far ahead in the poll that that is unlikely.
Wish You Were Here
Well, obviously most people went for Shine On 1-5 and Wish You Were Here. The floating voters chose between Shine On 6-9, Welcome to the Machine and Have a Cigar with the most votes going for Machine In certain places Cigar has had a last minute rise in the ranks so we brushed it up in soundcheck and did it in Glasgow and Edinburgh and will probably continue to perform it for a while. Cigar is one we are watching night to night as it seems to go from almost no votes at all in one venue to almost ranking alongside Machine in others.
The Division Bell
This is an interesting album to run a poll about. It's the 20th anniversary of The Division Bell, and of course the last tour Floyd did promoted that album. A lot of people bought Pulse off the back of that tour and it seems that could be why certain tracks are being voted higher than others. The main contenders are Coming back to Life, Keep Talking, What Do You Want From Me and High Hopes with Take It Back being an occasional favourite here or there. I was hoping we would have an excuse to learn Marooned and I think Mike was secretly voting for Wearing the Inside Out but alas these tracks got almost no votes at all. Ratio wise CBTL, Keep Talking and WDYWFM had the same number of votes, with a late surge from High Hopes. Take It Back has on average half the votes of any of these, with an occasional peak, I think we did it early on in France and I can't say when it will appear again, but it is likely to.
We have considered that votes may have been based on previous experience of us playing the songs which may explain why there have been less votes for things we have never done (or haven't done in recent years), but it is what it is and we are keeping (wherever humanly possible) honest to the results. To counteract that argument, when it comes to Dark Side there is nothing we haven't played on that album within the last year, and with the votes so clear cut we can only listen to your requests and play what you have asked, it would be rude not to. I'm hoping there will be some variation in the Dark Side stuff towards the end of the tour, but that's up to you. Keep voting!
As for the nice tartan uniforms, the men at least stayed dressed in black, except for Mike who bravely donned a kilt for our two Scottish dates. See the picture below if you dare.
And now for something completely different. I'd like to thank Glasgow for giving me a chuckle during Pigs, everyone seemed to cheer loudly at Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron with pig noses on the circle screen. I saw first hand that the Conservatives are as popular as ever in Scotland. That part of the video is a personal favourite of mine and the latin expression written on the wall during that section roughly translates to I will not fornicate with sheep, a story from Pink Floyd history that I'm sure some of you will know, and if you don't, I'm sure you can google it.
This text won't get me a masters in mathematics or literacy but at least it will give you an insight into why we are doing the songs we are doing, it's because you asked for them!