Okee dokee folks…
Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour turned 74 years old a couple of days ago, and Roger Waters is 76 as is Nick Mason. Founding members Richard Wright and Syd Barrett have passed away. The band has not played together in many, many years and for all intents and purposes Pink Floyd is no more. Their music, however, lives on. More than 250 million Pink Floyd albums have been sold worldwide.
David Gilmour doesn’t tour very often. Roger Waters performed at the Newport Folk Festival a couple of years ago and will be in Boston this coming July. While he surely will perform Floyd cuts you probably won’t get to hear some of the deep cuts or many of the songs that you would like to. One cure for this lack of Pink is Brit Floyd, “The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show” from England. They will be bringing their Echoes 2020 production to Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, March 10. I spoke with Brit Floyd guitarist Damian Darlington via phone about the band and their upcoming show at Vets.
Brit Floyd just returned from a mini tour of Japan so I asked what other countries that they have performed in. He informed me that they have performed “in just about every country in Europe” as well as Lebanon, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Russia, and “all sorts of places!” Being in a tribute band myself, I was curious as to how he wound up part of this Floyd Tribute. As he put it, “A chance opportunity that came my way” landed Damian in another Pink Floyd tribute starting back in ’94 and lasted for 17 years. “I found that I was good at recreating Pink Floyd’s music. About 10 years ago I made the decision to leave that band and started my own which is where Brit Floyd comes in…it was sort of born out of all that experience…like an apprenticeship that’s been served.”
For his part in Brit Floyd, Damian plays guitar, sings and is the musical director for the band. In some tribute acts the members morph into imitations of the musicians they are trying to replicate. I asked if they try to take on the personas of Pink Floyd’s cast. “Not so much, though there’s a little bit like when you are doing something from The Wall album…there’s something inherently more theatrical about The Wall album…you think about some of the things that Roger Waters would have done so we take on a little bit but outside of that, no, we don’t put on wigs and try to look like the original members of Pink Floyd…it’s more about the visual aspects of the show-the lights, the video…the visual persona of the show.” In the past couple of years Roger Waters’ concerts have presented anti-Trump messages and videos across the video screens so I wondered about whether Brit Floyd gets political at their shows. He told me that they stay apolitical but “back in the day Pink Floyd would show images of some of the politicians the time…and it was more of a criticism of politicians in general…we will do that but not single out any politician.”
Their show boasts “a million dollar light show” so I confirmed with Damian that it is in fact true. “It’s not cheap to buy them…on the scale of what we are trying to do…there’s lots of moving lights, there’s lasers, video projection equipment, all the media playback…it doesn’t come cheap that’s for sure!” So my question was “have you recouped your investment?” He told me, “Brit Floyd is a successful touring band and people are managing to make a living out of it…we’re constantly investing, reinvesting in the show…replacing stuff that gets old and worn out…so, yes, we managed to recoup our investment along the way but more often than not we reinvest in more (laughs).”
The classic Pink Floyd line up was four members so I asked how many members there were in Brit version. “It’s nine piece band…I play guitar and vocals, there’ a bass player who sings as well, another guitarist, a drummer, keyboard player, a multi-instrumentalist-sax, keyboards, guitar, he’s very useful…and then we have three backing vocalists.” After doing a little checking about the members on Brit Floyd’s website I found that they are actually an international band with players from the UK, US, Canada, Italy, and Poland.
Being a Pink Floyd fan myself my favorite album is Animals so I inquired about Damian’s pick. “The Wall…it’s stayed with me as being my favorite album.” That lead me to ask what his favorite song to perform live was. “Umm…probably ‘Comfortably Numb’, I get to sing the (David) Gilmour part…and I get to play that solo at the end, probably, arguably, one of the best rock guitar solos of all time…that never gets old for me.”
I was interested to find out if Darlington had ever crossed paths with any of the members of Pink Floyd. “I have met everybody except Roger Waters…I played at David Gilmour’s 50th birthday party…I also got to play ‘Comfortably Numb’ alongside Rick Wright…I have played with some of the other musicians who have were part of Pink Floyd’s touring band.”
Winding up the interview with Darlington I wondered what the audience could expect at Tuesday’s show. “We do a performance of ‘Echoes’…we’re also covering songs from many other albums whether it be The Division Bell, Momentary Lapse of Reason, The Wall…we’re doing a track off of Atom Heart Mother which we have never performed before…we’re dipping into the Pink Floyd archive.” I had to ask if they have the floating pig balloon (Algie) and he revealed that they do but only if the venue can accommodate it. “It’s a rather large pig…sometimes they don’t have quite enough space…but most of the time we manage to get it into the show.” Pink Floyd’s pig balloon famously “escaped” and I wondered as to whether theirs had as well. “Ours is firmly tethered, it can’t get away like the original one.” Damian ended our interview by telling me, “Come on out…you can experience a spectacular recreation of a Pink Floyd show…a time capsule of songs…lights, lasers, everything you would expect to see!”
If you are attending you can expect about two and half hours of Floyd favorites. To catch this Pink experience, “Run Like Hell” to TheVetsRI.com
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com