There’s nothing “Fringe” about Pink Floyd. Gilmour, Waters and the boys are the byword for rock on a grand scale – big themes, big production, big music. They’re Edinburgh International Festival at least. There’s nothing “Fringe” about Dynamic Earth either, the family-friendly tourist magnet next to the Scottish Parliament. But if the Fringe is about experiences to make you feel thrillingly alive and joyously at one with the world, then this Dome Nights playback of Floyd’s masterwork qualifies with (and partly because of) flying colours.
This is an audio-visual massage for the soul. Dark Side… reveals its existential themes in surround sound, while on the dome above you, a psychadelic visual feast unwinds. It starts, planetarium style, with us drifting round the shady half of the satellite, and watching the earth and sun do their thing. Then vibrant, geometric shapes begin to ebb and flow, hypnotically hooking in the gaze and allowing the listener to drift into other worlds. Occasionally something more substantial appears. For Time, we’re floating in a rainstorm of clocks, and swooping between giant revolving watch hands. For Money, we’re faced with a giant, juddering cash register. Literal, but really the only way to do it.
The aural orgasm of The Great Gig In The Sky is sublime, so too the unimprovable Us and Them. The tenor sax of the latter wells out of the mix like never before, its reediness giving luscious new texture to the song. If you’ve grown accustomed to CD or streamed versions of the album, you’ll find the hallmark disembodied voices leaping out at you too, even ones you’ve never noticed before. At one point, it actually sounds like the door steward has got back on her mic, jolting you temporarily from your reverie.
Design and animation geeks will point out there’s nothing cutting edge about the visuals. It’s true they could also be timed better to rise and fall with the music. You expect certain graphic changes at key moments, and they unsatisfyingly don’t materialise. There’s also the risk, not present tonight, that a row full of beer-swillers might disrupt your listening pleasure. But you’d struggle to find another album with the breadth of scope for an undertaking like this, and letting it wash over you is sheer existential and sensory pleasure. You really want the steward to give you a minute or so to bask in the afterglow before ordering you out.