Damian Darlington’s first exposure to Pink Floyd was hearing “Another Brick in the Wall” in 1979. “That was an unlikely song to be number one during Christmas in the U.K. Hearing the chorus of ‘We don’t need no education’ really interested me.” A couple years later when he was thirteen and had started playing guitar he heard the full album of The Wall and — like so many before him — was hooked. Now as the musical director of Brit Floyd he travels the world playing the music of Pink Floyd at as many as 150 shows a year. And this Thursday, July 16, Brit Floyd will come to the Fillmore Miami Beach.
“You can expect the full Pink Floyd concert experience,” he told New Times on the phone from his home in England. “We have a big screen, lasers, an inflatable pig — if we can fit it in the venue. We try to give you two and a half hours of everything you would experience from Pink Floyd back in the day.”
The most important aspect of that experience is of course the music. With over a dozen members taking the stage throughout the evening, Brit Floyd does its best to replicate the classic rock songs, but not necessarily the studio cuts from the albums. “If I think a live version works better for the show, we’ll do that."
"Sometimes we’ll mix studio versions with live versions and sometimes we’ll even play Roger Waters’ solo live versions of the songs.” The tribute group plays everything from the early 1967 Syd Barrett tunes to tracks from Pink Floyd’s 2014 release, The Endless River, an album Darlington called wonderful. “It’s a cool album to listen to and it’s wonderful we get new material to work with. It’s clever how they brought it all together.”
The warm feelings are mutual as actual members of Pink Floyd have embraced the work Darlington and Brit Floyd are providing. “In the ‘90’s I met David Gilmour and played on stage with Rick Wright and Nick Mason. In L.A. on this last tour we met with [Pink Floyd saxophonist] Scott Page and he played a few songs with us.”
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As a man who has studied the intricacies of Pink Floyd like few others, we couldn't help but ask Darlington's opinion on whether the song “Us and Them” was about the difference between people who trip on LSD and people that don’t — like a high school buddy of mine once vehemently insisted.
Darlington would neither confirm nor deny. “The beauty of Pink Floyd is people come to the lyrics in all these different ways. You could say it’s about the rich and the poor or having empathy for other people. The different interpretations are a testament to how cleverly written they are. It’s a feast for all your senses.”