Brit Floyd stopped at the Durham Performing Arts Center on May 30th as part of its Space and Time World Tour 15, Celebrating 50 Years of Pink Floyd. For those of you who don’t know who Brit Floyd is, they are a Pink Floyd tribute band that travels the globe slaking the thirst of audiences eager for a taste of a Pink Floyd experience. Although the remaining members of the venerable Pink Floyd have not toured in quite some time, there is apparently quite a demand for their live music, as there are several tribute bands currently touring around the world.
Last Saturday night, DPAC was crowded with mostly middle-aged (hey, that’s us!) folks who appeared to be throwbacks to the 1970s. Lots of pony-tails, tie-die, and “groovy” (hey, that’s one of us, too!). The pre-concert vibe was both mellow and excited. Entering the theater, the stage was set with what appeared to be a giant spaceship portal, showing clips from all sorts of shows and movies from the era — The Wizard of Oz, Alfred Hitchcock, Star Trek (with the original Captain Kirk), and space shuttles.
Then the band took the stage, 10 deep. There were four guitars, two drummers, one electric keyboard, and three backup singers. That’s a lot of musicians. The crowd went crazy, and then the music began. Oh, God, the bass! The BASS! It shook the walls; and we could feel it in our bones, our organs. It shook our teeth. It’s a surprise that all of the car alarms in the tri-state area didn’t go off!
About that time, we realized that the portal that we’ve been watching is a time machine; and it would soon take us on a trip from the 1960s into the 1980s, showing random computer-generated and psychedelic images while the band played hits from the chosen year. The 1960s were more beatnik years. The 1970s, rock opera. The 1980s, ethereal rock. Brit Floyd played all of the expected highlights, such as “The Wall,” “Shine on Crazy Diamond” “Dark Side of the Moon,” and “Comfortably Numb”.
The musicians knew their instruments and played well, getting the feel of Pink Floyd’s music and playing solos true to the original. There was no improvisation, however, which is part of the fun of a live concert, but which perhaps would rub some Pink Floyd purists the wrong way.
Our biggest complaint, however, is that they were just too darn loud. Not only did the bass shake the building, but the music itself had to reach 130 decibels. Our ears were ringing two days afterwards. Why bands think that “loud = better” is beyond us. The music was so loud that we could not hear the lead singer; and if we didn’t already know the lyrics to most of the songs, we would have been clueless. When the band briefly lowered the volume to let the backup singers shine, their harmonies were tight; and they sounded just like the vocals from the original recordings.
The best part of the evening was the absolutely amazing light show. Laser beams shot out into the audience in an array of colors and configurations, while images of water drops and space walkers soared on the big screen. The visuals were thrilling and would have been perfect had we not been busy wiping the blood from our ears.
It’s an interesting thing, going to see a tribute band. It’s not the original group. It’s an imitation. Where is the line between artistry and mimicry? Should you love the imitation as much as the original? An Elvis impersonator as much as Elvis? How much love should one bestow on a knock-off? We’ll let you answer those questions. To us, it just feels a little uncomfortable cheering a cover-band somehow. They did not write the music, or the lyrics. They are riding the coattails of the original. But Brit Floyd are a solid band and good musicians. In the end, people who love Pink Floyd will find that this tribute band does a good, albeit loud, job with the music and provides an entertaining evening of rock.
BRIT FLOYD (Durham Performing Arts Center, May 30).
SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/brit-floyd-2 and https://www.facebook.com/events/1588330044715695/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://www.britfloyd.com/videos.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
Pink Floyd (English progressive, psychedelic, and art rock band, 1965-94, 2005, 2013-14): http://www.pinkfloyd.com/ (official website), https://rockhall.com/inductees/pink-floyd/ (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0969139/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Floyd (Wikipedia).
Brit Floyd | The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Tribute Show (Pink Floyd tribute band): http://www.britfloyd.com/ (official website), http://www.britfloyd.com/blog (blog), https://www.facebook.com/britfloydshow (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/britfloyd (Twitter page).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.