In the past 50 years, there have been a number of influential music acts who will have forever left their mark on history.
Among those that immediately spring to mind are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Of those three bands, the latter earned a reputation for innovative yet sprawling, psychedelic-influenced songs and a stage show that indulges attendees’ eyes as much as their ears.
But Pink Floyd has not released an album of new studio material since 1994 and, aside from a one-off show at Live 8 in 2005, has not undertaken anything in the way of extensive touring since the mid-1990s.
Enter Brit Floyd. Despite performing the music of the legendary Pink Floyd for only the past 18 months, Brit Floyd’s experience of paying tribute to Pink Floyd goes back almost two decades.
Brit Floyd was conceived by the band’s musical director, guitarist and vocalist, Damian Darlington. Darlington spent 17 years fronting another Pink Floyd tribute, The Australian Pink Floyd, before breaking off to start Brit Floyd. Darlington shares that the musicians currently playing as a part of Brit Floyd were actually all a part of the Australian Pink Floyd show, which last played Moncton in 2010.
Billing themselves as “The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show,” Brit Floyd is not a case of swollen egos. In 2011 alone, the group played to more than 200,000 Floyd faithful in Europe alone, a testament to the band’s honest and accurate portrayal of Pink Floyd’s music.
“It is definitely my love of Pink Floyd that led me down this path,” Darlington says. “I discovered The Wall by Pink Floyd when I was 13 or 14 years old and was just hooked from that point onward.”
Given the production associated with putting on a show that would be deemed worthy of an actual Pink Floyd show, those taking in the Brit Floyd show at Casino New Brunswick on Tuesday evening should expect to have their senses dazzled. In effort to recreate an experience that fans would see if they were seeing the actual Pink Floyd band, Brit Floyd spares no expense in relation to their stage show.
“With Pink Floyd, it was never just about the music. It was about the production, the lights, the lasers, the inflatables. People still love Pink Floyd and want to hear their music in a live environment and get the whole experience.
“We are very fortunate because tribute acts are not typically known on an international scale. Not many other tribute acts get to this level and I believe that it is a reflection on the music of Pink Floyd itself. They are still massively popular everywhere you go in the world today,” Darlington says.
“First and foremost, the Brit Floyd show is all about the music. That is truly what matters most but from the late 1960s onward, they consistently pushed the boundaries of what they did on stage with video and lights.”
Darlington a believes a big reason why the Brit Floyd show has been so popular is that Pink Floyd as a band itself is inactive. Though original Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and David Gilmour separately travel the world playing the music of Pink Floyd, there is no chance for fans to enjoy the full Pink Floyd experience.
“The fact that Pink Floyd are not playing together as Pink Floyd might help attract people to the show, but then again, you’ve got Roger Waters still touring around the world so it is not as though fans do not have any opportunity to hear this music in a live setting. But we have found that people will indeed go check out Roger Waters but then need their Pink Floyd fix and as such, come to see a show like ours,” Darlington says.
Asked what kind of age groups that the Brit Floyd show has attracted to date, Darlington excitedly notes that their show seems to span a few different generations. He says that for every person that would have been a fan of Pink Floyd during their original heyday, they have brought along their children and, in some cases, their grandchildren to enjoy the show.
“I have been in this business for quite awhile and have definitely seen a shift to the audiences getting younger and younger. You have got a whole new generation of fans discovering this music and wanting to hear it and see it live,” says Darlington.
“There is definitely something special about the music that came out of the 1960s and 1970s. There is a quality to it that is largely missing from a lot of today’s music. I can’t imagine most of the acts that we are seeing on television or hearing on the radio now being remembered in 10 years, let alone 20, 30, or 40 years. There is a very good reason why the music of Pink Floyd continues to be popular.”
Article published in March 5, 2012 edition of The Times & Transcript