Is it a case of life imitating art? Or in this case, life imitating artists?
Since 1988, The Australian Pink Floyd Show has not only been the world’s No. 1 Pink Floyd tribute show, but the best tribute show in the world for any band. Period. The show is endorsed by David Gilmour himself.
For two decades, TAPFS has not only been re-creating the Pink Floyd sound on stage to perfection with vocals and guitar parts so close to the original you’d swear you were listening to a Pink Floyd album, but the stage show with its elaborate lighting and props have come as close as one can to replicating Pink Floyd’s original concerts. Many of the props and equipment used for TAPFS shows were actually first used by the original band.
But just as Gilmour and Roger Waters famously split, creating essentially two touring Pink Floyd shows (Waters is currently touring the United States performing “The Wall” in its entirety), so now is Aussie Floyd.
In 2011, there will be two ultimate Pink Floyd tribute bands: one with mostly original members sticking with The Australian Pink Floyd Show name, and the other calling itself The British Pink Floyd Show.
“It’s been an interesting time,” guitarist Damian Darlington admitted recently during a phone call with the Deseret News from a tour stop in California.
Darlington, who has been with TAPFS since 1994, will become part of Brit Floyd after the band’s current run of North America ends in November.
“We’re not at each other’s throats. We’re just going to get on with it,” Darlington said of the feelings from both camps over the split. “It’ll all work out, I’m sure.”
As TAPFS became more and more popular and the demand for shows increased, some of the original members, all Australian, started opting out of tours to North America. As more and more musicians started coming into the mix for touring, Darlington said there were “precious few” on the North American tours that were Australian anymore.
The band that is playing at USANA on Saturday to close out the amphitheatre’s season features all the same performers who have been in Utah the past couple of years. And they’re all very good!
The Aussie Floyd show has become a widely popular annual favorite among Utah fans. The band first performed to a half-full arena in Utah in 2004. The popularity of the show has grown dramatically each year since.
“It’s one of the highlights of the tour when we play there,” Darlington said. “In 2004 we had about 2,000 people. Last year we had about 9,000 watch the show.”
Fans going to this Saturday’s show should expect the same outstanding quality they’ve come to expect from Aussie Floyd over the years. Darlington’s guitar playing and vocals on “Hey You” and “Wish You Were Here” are always highlights of the concert. And I haven’t been to an Aussie Floyd show in Utah yet where his solo on “Comfortably Numb” didn’t get a standing ovation.
Ian Cattell is also with the soon-to-be Brit Floyd group and has delivered very strong Waters’ vocals in the past, particularly when doing songs off “The Wall.”
While past tours have focused on album sides or entire albums, such as “Dark Side of the Moon” or “The Wall,” this year’s show will be a package of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits, Darlington said.
Original members Steve Mac and bassist Colin Wilson (both also very talented) haven’t played in Salt Lake City since 2006. They, along with Jason Sawford and Paul Bonney, will continue as Australian Pink Floyd with a full tour in 2011.
Meanwhile, Darlington, Cattell and Bobby Harrison also have their own busy tour schedule in 2011 as Brit Floyd, both in the United States and Europe.
“You never want to become complacent about it. We’re always trying to improve,” Darlington said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to play some amazing music. And we get to play it in all these amazing places around the world.”