Monday, January 19, 2015

El Monstero at The Pageant 12/26/14

I've heard Kevin consider El Monstero to be the monster truck version of Pink Floyd. That is by far the most accurate description anyone could ever give El Monstero. For those that don't know, El Monstero is a group of local (to St. Louis) musicians that pay tribute to Pink Floyd a few times a year in an all out spectacle that has continued to evolve and be a very hot ticket. Their most memorable shows are their Christmas run of shows (2014 featured 6 of them) due to the amount of firepower crammed into the intimate setting of the Pageant. The musicianship is top notch and the complex arrangements of Pink Floyd are perfectly recreated by an all star cast.

The 12/26/14 show was my 7th consecutive year of December El Monstero concerts, so I had an idea of what to expect, but I always know that somehow the show is going to be drastically different than the year before. In the Flesh is such a perfect way to start off a concert and El Monstero seems to know this and they then continue playing The Wall song for song. The first guest of the night comes out to play the role of the teacher at the end of Another Brick in the Wall and snaps his yardstick over his knee after yelling at everyone the famous line "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!" The next guests are the pole dancers (partially clothed) who perform throughout the entirety of the rocker Young Lust. One of the dancers stays behind to deliver the opening monologue of One of My Turns. One of the things that make an El Monstero show special is that special guests do more than sing or play an instrument. The performers that showcase the most talent and dedication are the ballerina that dances during Vera and the aerialists that perform above our heads for Shine on You Crazy Diamond. This year, there were three aerialists that performed on silks during Shine On and hoops during Echos. With my perspective being in the front row right up against the railing, I was straining to look straight up for so long and pay attention to all three at the same time.

Set 2 started off with Fearless, a song that used to be considered as "one for the heads". With El Monstero making it a staple of it's show, I'm sure that many average PF fans have discovered this gem that comes from outside of the "big 4 albums". After an abbreviated version of Dogs, we were treated with Keep Talking off The Divison Bell. This song was the fan-poll winner that El Monstero put out just a few months before the winter run of shows. There is always a guest singer that comes out for Have a Cigar and on 12/26, we were honored to be joined by the great Steve Ewing of The Urge who delivered the song with the perfect amount of swagger. One of the best parts of any El Monstero show is getting a complete performance of Dark Side of the Moon. After a guest showing by Thom Donavon to add extra guitar firepower during Money and a hair raising vocal performance by the three ladies of El Monstero during Great Gig in the Sky, Dark Side of the Moon was brought to a triumphant close with an added flair that only El Monstero can provide. Following band and cast introductions by the mighty Favazz, the encore started off with When the Tigers Broke Free and The Show Must Go On. Anyone who's seen El Mon knows that The Pageant shows are closed out with the perfect sing-a-long in Wish You Were Here and the beautifully epic Comfortably Numb.

This years stage set up feature 2 "Mr. Screens" that also included video screens that made for a seamless array of video boards that went all the way from stage left to stage right. Both the keyboardists were brought to the extreme front and extreme left and right of the stage creating a deep stage allowing plenty of room for all musicians to wander around freely. A highlight of the stage shows and props was Mark getting up close and personal with a camera while singing a few songs. This, along with doing an entire song from the balcony, added an extra element that makes going year after year a brand new experience. Even though this was not my favorite set list that I've ever seen from El Monstero, this was by far my favorite stage show that I've seen out of the El Mon crew.

Below are a few shots taken by my father and I during the 12/26/14 El Monstero show at The Pageant.


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