Brit Floyd: WIsh You Were Here

Brit Floyd performing at Manchester Bridgewater Hall 14.05.2012

There are only a handful of musical acts whose catalogue has stood the test of time as successfully as Pink Floyd.

Formed in London, England, in 1965, the group’s innovative approach to music created sprawling songs that served to stimulate music fans with a healthy dose of psychedelic tunes.

The group moved into concept record territory in the ’70s, delivering classic albums such as Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall to the delight of millions worldwide. Dark Side Of The Moon has the distinction of spending 741 weeks (just over 14 years) on the Billboard album charts, making it one of the bestselling records of all time with a reported 50 million-plus copies sold internationally.

Despite not actively touring as a band since the late ’90s, the public’s appetite for Pink Floyd has never truly subsided. There are new generations of Floyd fans – some of whose parents were barely born when Dark Side OfThe Moon was originally released in 1973, who are discovering the music of a band that they will never have the chance to see live.

This would be where Brit Floyd comes in. The group, as you might have guessed, pays tribute to the music of the one and only Pink Floyd. Conceived by the band’s musical director, guitarist and vocalist Damian Darlington, the group more than capably fills a void left by the absence of Pink Floyd.

Darlington is well versed in the school of Pink Floyd. For the 17 years prior to the formation of Brit Floyd in 2010, Darlington was a member of the Australian Pink Floyd band. Sensing it was time to move onto a new Pink Floyd-inspired project, Darlington formed Brit Floyd and hasn’t looked back since.

‘I performed with the Australian Pink Floyd for 17 years and had simply arrived at a point where I felt it was time to move on,’ Darlington says from a Brit Floyd tour stop in Minneapolis last week. ‘I just felt as though the time had come for me to strike off and put together a new Pink Floyd tribute with a different bunch of musicians.’

It has been just a little over a year since Brit Floyd last visited Metro Moncton. The group maintains a tour schedule of approximately 120 shows per year, which, after you factor in travel days, means they are on the road well over half of the year.

On previous tours, the group has focused on performing specific albums in their entirety. Brit Floyd’s latest tour, the Pulse World-Tour, referring to the live Pink Floyd record from 1995, will see the act perform ‘sides’ of specific Pink Floyd albums including Dark Side Of The Moon, The Wall, Wish You Were Here and The Division Bell.

‘While there is a hit section featured towards the end of the live show, we are certainly covering a wide span of Pink Floyd records on this latest tour,’ Damian says. ‘A big reason for it is that, as many fans will tell you, Pink Floyd albums were designed to be listened to as a whole. The hits are fun to play as well, but performing the songs in this format is something of a new experience for us.’

Though many may consider Pink Floyd to be the music of an older generation, Damian says that the Brit Floyd show attracts a wide range of age groups. While the bulk of the audience at every show is made up of people over the age of 40, he says that it is also becoming common to see a significant number of teens in the audience every night.

‘There is definitely a big contingent of people in the audience every night that might have been buying Dark Side Of The Moon when it was first released. But whether it is other generations of Pink Floyd fans discovering the band on their own accord or because of their parents, we see people of all ages in the audience. It is nice to see multiple generations, parents and grandparents there with their children and grandchildren because parents and their kids don’t often see eye to eye when it comes to music. A lot of kids feel it is uncool to be listening to the same music that their parents listen to. Pink Floyd are one of those bands that transcend those barriers, however.’

Asked why he feels that Pink Floyd’s music has been so successful at standing the test of time, Damian is at a bit of a loss.

‘It is difficult to sum up,’ he says. ‘Musically and lyrically, it is profound. Over the last 40-plus years, people have related to the lyrics and concepts found in the Pink Floyd albums. There is something evocative in their music. Listening to the music of Pink Floyd really draws the listener in.

Article published in the March 19, 2013 edition of The Times & Transcript