Various Artists - Pigs and Pyramids - 2002
An All Star Line Up performing songs of Pink Floyd
Amazing. Musea has selected the best of the best musicians from different musical styles (not only progressive rock) and has released the definitive tribute album, if we´re talking about great collaborators. There are eleven tracks and eleven different line ups, so I´ll be concise and the review is written in a telegraphical way:
First track.- “Another Brick in the Wall
part II” (4:00)
Line Up: Fee Waybill (The Tubes) on vocals, David Glen Eisley and Alex Ligertwood (Santana) on backing vocals, Ronnie Montrose on guitar, Mike Porcaro (Toto) on bass, and Greg Bissonette (David Lee Roth) on drums.
Review: A very accurate cover but it mixes Part II with Part II (you know, “I don´t need no arms around me...”). Montrose plays a very personal guitar solo but it perfectly fits with the rhythm and the spirit of the song.
Second track.- “Welcome to the machine”
Line Up: Doug Pinnick (Kings X) on vocals, Gary Hoey on guitar, Mike Porcaro on bass, Greg Bissonette (David Lee Roth) on drums, and Derek Sherinian (Planet X) on keyboards.
Review: A very good cover, perhaps the only black point is that there are no differences between the original song and this cover. And there is a little difference between an extremely bizarre cover (as the awful “On the turning away” from Angular Records Pink Floyd´s tribute) and an extremely accurate cover.
Third track.- “Confortably Numb”
Line Up: A new Yes line up!. Billy Sherwood (vocals and guitars), Alan White (drums), and Chris Squire (bass and vocals)
Review: This is the balance point!. Alan, Chris and his godson Billy plays an oniric “Comfortably numb”, with slight vocal harmonies variations and an extremely bizarre second part with an acoustic guitar layout a la Yes. Billy is a clever guy and he knows that all the bands which have covered this song before failed in the guitar solo, so he plays the solo with some variations so we can´t make comparisons.
Fourth track.- “Shine on you Crazy Diamond”
Line Up: Steve Lukather (Toto) on guitars and vocals, Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy) on bass, and Vinnie Colaiuta (Zappa, Holdsworth) on drums.
Review: Lukather is a guy without complex and he plays this mythical guitar solo with almost no variations. Even he dares with vocal work... and he does it very well. I´m still missing personal touches but this cover is great
Fifth track.- “Us and Them”
Line Up: Jeff Scott Soto (Malmsteen) on vocals, Jimmy Haslip on bass, Scotty Page (Pink Floyd) on sax, and Pat Torpey (Mr. Big) on drums.
Review: A surprising and whispering Scott Soto and a great sax work by Page. Anything more.
Sixth track.- “Young Lust”
Line Up: Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) on vocals, Elliot Easton (The Cars) on guitars, Tony Franklin (The Firm) on bass, and Anysley Dunbar (Journey) on drums.
Review: Michael Jackson always wanted to be a white man... and Glenn Hughes always wanted to be a black man. All the “oh yeahs” and “wows” by Hughes definitely kill this song (I thought that he was dying by a heart attack in one of his screams). Elliot Easton does a good job with guitar parts and Franklin is out of place. Obviously when I talked about variation in tribute albums I wasn´t talking about this.
Seventh track.- “Run like Hell”
Line Up: Jason Scheff (Chicago) on vocals, Dweezil Zappa on guitars, Tony Franklin on bass, Anysley Dunbar on drums, and Tony Kaye (Yes) on keyboards
Review: After having listened to “Young Lust” I must thank God that Hughes hadn´t sung “Run like hell”. A great Tony Kaye and an amazing Zappa (impressive the final part). Franklin and Zappa´s licks are simply brilliant
Eighth track.- “Any Colour you like”
Line Up: Robben Ford on guitars, Tony Franklin on bass, Anysley Dunbar on drums, and Steve Porcaro (Toto) on keyboards.
Review: A decaffeinated cover with a very coloured bass courtesy of Franklin and a great Porcaro. Toto meets Pink Floyd.
Ninth track.- “Money” (6:06)
Line Up: Tommy Shaw (Styx) on vocals, Ritchie Kotzen (Poison) on guitars, Tony Levin (King Crimson) on bass, Mike Baird (Journey) on drums, and Edgar Winter on sax.
Review: Although this album were awful (and it isn´t so), any prog fan or curious fan should listen this legendary bass line played by Levin. Furthermore, not every day you can listen to a union of artists from King Crimson/Poison/Styx/Journey. The song is amazing, Winter´s sax provides a night club´s aroma, and Kotzen plays good guitar parts. The end of the song is a sort of jam session with incredible music. The best cover of the Cd.
Tenth track.- “Have a cigar”
Line Up: Bobby Kimball (Toto) on vocals, Bob Kulick (Meat Loaf) and Bruce Kulick (Kiss) on guitars, Mike Porcaro on bass, and Greg Bissonette on drums.
Another bizarre line up. I can´t speak louder because I was (and still I am) a fan of Meat Loaf and Kiss. This song follow the overall sound of this album (no differences with the original versions) but with lots of riffs and solos courtesy of Kulick bros. The sound, I don´t know why, reminds me to early Rainbow.
Eleventh track.- “Breathe (in the air)”
Line Up: Robin McAuley (MSG) on vocals, Jeff Baxter (The Doobie Brothers) on guitar, Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne) on bass, and Eric Singer (Kiss) on drums
Review: Another good cover with anything new. Sorry, I ran out of words.
Final review: It´s hard to review this album. The songs are professionally performed by high skilled musicians, but there aren´t surprises. It seems like the musicians were afraid of changing the original versions (even the singers try to imitate Gilmour or Waters way of singing) and only we can notice a little bit of risky attitude in “Money”, “Confortably numb” y “Young lust” (well, in this case I´d rather prefer no risk at all). It´s also curious that a Pink Floyd´s tribute album was only focused on tracks taken from "The Wall", "Dark side of the moon", and "Wish you were here", as if Pink Floyd have only released those albums.
In short... the good thing and the bad thing is the same thing here: great covers of great songs played by great artists. You can find more risk in the tribute that Angular Records released one year (more or less) ago. But if you´re looking for amazing musicians I´d recommend you this Pigs and pyramids