The event location was kept secret by the band to add to the allure of the exclusive event
Stone Free, a classic rock and blues cover band active since 2007, presented a mesmerizing tribute to Pink Floyd on Friday. The tribute event was called “Another Brick in the Wall,” and just like a classic Pink Floyd concert, it had elaborate light shows, artistic visuals, and a set list that covered songs from many famous albums of the classic British band.
The event location was kept secret by the band to add to the allure of the exclusive event, which took place from 6pm to 9:30pm. In a conversation that happened three weeks back, the band learnt that a house would be demolished soon, and the owner suggested they do something special there one last time. In three weeks, Stone Free, with the support of their families and fans, put together this event.
The tickets for Stone Free’s fifth tribute show to Pink Floyd were sold at very few places, and the limited number of tickets led to them being sold out in no time. The event guests got the address of the venue only from the ticket. At the owner’s request the address was not disclosed beforehand.
The stage was erected on the front lawn of the house, and for seating there were about 350 lawn chairs. There was a large screen behind the stage, flanked with various coloured lights, giving it a gorgeous and sophisticated look.
Before the show began, Sadaf Saaz told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: “Stone Free performed a tribute like this at the Sheraton in 2009. Even a few days back, I was suggesting to one of them to do a show like that once again. And here we are.”
The event began with a full house and all chairs occupied. Chotu Khan, the lead vocalist of Stone Free, shared the short history of how the event happened to be organized. The opening song was a beautiful rendition of “Breath,” which was followed by "Time" and “In the Flesh.” All three songs received loud cheers from everyone in the audience.
The very next song was “Another Brick in the Wall,” which made everyone sing along with the band. When the loud chorus of “All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall,” from about 200 voices rang out through the compound, the entire place seemed magical.
After that, Stone Free played “The Final Cut,” “Cymbaline,” “Pigs on the Wing,” “Mother,” “Echoes,” “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “Wish you were here,” “Coming back to life,” and more.
There was one short break in the show and the guests were served rice cakes and coffee.
Most memorable in the show was a segment in which Nazia, a Stone Free friend, gave a surprise monologue accompanied by visuals. Nazia then looked towards the balcony of the house behind the stage, where all the lights were focused, and asked “What are you watching?” It appeared that vocalist Chotu was seated there, who then began a passionate cover of the song “One of my Turns,” from the album “The Wall.” In between the song, Chotu broke several guitars on the wall of the balcony, just as Roger Waters did in one of the iconic concerts of Pink Floyd, many years ago.
The cover of “Coming back to life” was sung by Saad, and it was the penultimate number before the last song of the evening. The last song was “Comfortably Numb,” a cover that the crowd had been requesting ever since the break.
The rendition of “Comfortably Numb” was epic, and the audience sang along as loud as they could. After the mesmerizing second solo by lead guitarist Fahim, Chotu thanked everyone who worked for the show and everyone who came to enjoy it. Chotu also announced doing a tribute like this soon in Chittagong and Sylhet, which was received with raucous cheers.
The performers for Stone Free on that night were: Chotu on vocals and guitars, Mishu on bass, Fahim on lead guitar and vocals, Nadeer on percussion, and Emon on drums. Among the guest collaborators there were Saad and Apu on keyboards, Deepti, Saba, and Dhrubo, from the Ghaashphoring Choir were the back-up vocals for the night, and Arshad Amin from Rockstrata, who provided the enchanting visuals and sound effects for the show.
About the founding of Stone Free, Chotu told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: “We started off with three members---Me, Fahim on guitar, and Mishu on Bass. We have been doing music for a long time. In fact the first unplugged show of Bangladesh in 1996 was by me, Fahim, and a friend of his called Vaskar. Fahim and I have been playing together for a long time ever since, and I would say the first official launch of Stone Free was in 2007. Then Nadeer joined us on percussion and Emon bhai on drums. Now we are five.”
Regarding the five tribute shows put together by Stone Free, Chotu said: “The first show was at a restaurant called Lesaigon. It had a capacity of 50 to 60 people. We had to break a wall to accommodate more people. 140 people came. They enjoyed it so much; they asked if we could do it again so we did it again next week.
“Next we did it at Sheraton in 2009. In 2011, we did it again at Amazon, which has now become Nordic Club. And this is the fifth iteration of this tribute,” Chotu added.
With regard to crowd support at their shows, Chotu said: “The feeling is amazing. All the people who came today were our friends, who completely support us, and our families. We have extremely supportive wives. They supported us to do this, because of our passion. We all have day jobs. We do this for fun.”
Chotu also talked about the challenges of playing music in Bangladesh: “We had no challenges from our families. The main challenge for a show like this is the funding. It is very hard to get music going in our country. Sponsorships are all directed towards pop. There is not enough music like this. We, Stone Free, do it for fun. However, few people take being a musician as a career. Musicians are really struggling, because of lack of funding. People like us can get through all of this, but otherwise it is very hard.
“What brings us all back to the stage is the fact that music is our passion. Stone Free does not do corporate shows, or birthdays, or anniversaries. We do it for the promise of fun, and I know that if I am having fun, the audience will enjoy it,” Chotu added.
Regarding the preparations for Friday’s show, guest keyboardist Apu said: “We practiced for one day really. We planned one day, and the next day we selected the songs and practiced. And today we delivered.”
Pink Floyd has never played in Bangladesh. Roger Waters played in India many years ago, but that is as near as the band ever came to Bangladesh. Yet, fans of Pink Floyd are in abundance in Bangladesh. The majority live in Dhaka. The hustle of living in a concrete jungle has isolated people in their own respective spheres of work. They do not get time to listen to their favourite band between all the work they do. They do not even get time to meet each other. But, then there is Stone Free, a band who puts on amazing shows like the one they did on Friday.
The show they put on for the workaholic Pink Floyd fans will leave an imprint on their mind permanently. Even if Pink Floyd never comes to Bangladesh, there is Stone Free for Pink Floyd fans in Bangladesh.