Brit Floyd - The World's Greatest Pink Floyd Show, returns to the UK in 2015 to present its Space & Time World Tour, its most ambitious show to date; with a spectacular new light show, and an even bigger stage production.
Celebrating five decades of Pink Floyd; from their creation in 1965 right through to the release of their brand new album, 'The Endless River’; this amazing new show includes performances from all Pink Floyd's biggest selling albums, including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall and The Division Bell plus a host of other Pink Floyd musical surprises.
Following last year's critically acclaimed 'Discovery World Tour’, Brit Floyd lead vocalist, guitarist & musical director, Damian Darlington, said, “The audience reaction has been phenomenal. Absolutely amazing everywhere. Thank you to everyone who came to see the show. We can’t wait to get out on the road again in 2015!".
Prior to us seeing them play in Plymouth, we wanted to have a chat with Damian about the band, how he manages to remain sane during the lengthy legs of the world tour and a few other things that we hope you'll find of interest, here's how we got on....
You were a part of The Australian Pink Floyd Show for 17 years and and now you’re heading up Brit Floyd which formed in 2011, why did you create Brit Floyd in the first place?
Having been there for 17 years, I felt it was time for me to do my own Pink Floyd show, I think it gave me more freedom to do things in a slightly different way and the chance to work with different musicians, we played our very first show at the start of 2011.
Do you find that both bands attract the same audiences?
Obviously, the 2 acts will attract a similar audience as people love Pink Floyd’s music and they want multiple opportunities to be able to see their favourite music being played.
You played at David Gilmour’s 50th birthday party and I’ve heard how Rick Wright joined you on stage for Comfortably Numb, I’m sure you’ve told the story a thousand times already, how did the gig come about?
It was an invitation back in the very early days of playing with the Australian Pink Floyd Show, David Gilmour had come along to a show in 1994 whilst they were still touring, I recall it was before they did the run of shows at Earls Court (The Division Bell tour). We received an invite to go backstage after one of the Earls Court shows and a couple of years later, out of the blue, we received an invite to play at his 50th, I think it was orchestrated by Polly Sampson (David’s wife) and David hand picked the set list from the songs that we had in our repertoire and he decided which ones he wanted played at his party, it was quite an interesting thing to do.
That’s quite a claim to fame, has anything ever come close to topping this?
In the context of what I do (playing Pink Floyd's music), it doesn’t really get any bigger than that!
Were you more nervous at the time knowing who was watching?
I certainly was at the time! I remember it being 10 or 15 minutes into the set until I settled down, relaxed and started to enjoy it
Did you receive any feedback from David after the show?
Yes, he did speak to us after the show, what was amusing for us was that during the last song (Comfortably Numb), we had a mirror ball that opened up during the guitar solo and David really wanted to activate the mirror ball so he was up there, at the mixing desk, waiting for his moment to make it happen. It was quite a funny moment, he was really enjoying it from the other side of the mixing desk instead of actually being up there playing it himself!
Roger Waters has been touring The Wall for some time and David Gilmour has recently played a number of dates after releasing his latest album, do you find that your audience levels drop slightly when they are actively ‘on the road’?
No not really, in my experience over the years, when Pink Floyd play, take 'Live 8' for example and also when Roger Waters is on the road playing his solo tours, it seems to up the profile of the band and seeing as there is a huge appetite for this music, people enjoy seeing the original band and also seeing us perform the music.
My dad saw Pink Floyd in Coventry in 1967 alongside Jimi Hendrix, The Move and Amen Corner (and another couple) and remembered it being very surreal, lots of dry ice, trippy visuals etc, how do you think the band and more importantly the music would have evolved if Syd Barrett had remained?
It’s so difficult to know what would have happened, it’s safe to say just how important Syd Barrett was, if he wasn’t there, the band would never have formed. What would have happened had he have carried on? I guess it’s fate that things turned out the way they did and it certainly transformed the band, mainly when Roger Waters took the helm, I think it would have been a much different direction had that not happened.
You have played all over the world to over a million people, which country would you say gives you the warmest welcome?
With it being fresh in my mind, we recently did some shows in Eastern Europe and the highlight from those gigs would have been one that we did in Slovenia, it was an amazing show and what was so wonderful is that it was mostly young people in the audience, all 20 somethings going mad for the music, for whatever reason, we seem to get the best reception there.
I checked your website and can see that you played over 100 shows on the North American leg of this world tour between March and August, thinking about the logistics of the show, how does it all work whilst overseas?
Touring in North America is very similar to touring in Europe, apart from the distances being a little wider. We take a truck for the gear and a tour bus for the musicians, it get’s a little bit trickier when you start playing places further afield like South America, hiring gear from city to city and the band flying in and out, when we play in Brazil you can’t go on the tour bus so, little things like that that all contribute. We hire a lot of the equipment locally so we don’t have to load it and carry it around everywhere.
What about the crew, you must need quite a few bodies to load, unload and get the stage put together, do you have a static group of people that tour with you or do you hire local help?
It’s a bit of a mixture, we have a group of people that have worked with us for a number of years and in Europe, we regularly use the same PA and lighting company, the same applies for North America, wherever you are, you need local crew to come and assist.
Quite a bit of planning required I guess?
It’s a major logistical challenge!
Your shows on average are around 3 hours a night, doing this non stop for months on end must really take it out of you, how do you relax and recover whilst on the road?
The tour bus is equipped with TV’s and Playstations so we're never bored, if we’re in a town or city with a bit of history and you can be bothered it’s good to get out and do a little sightseeing and fortunately, we’re an easy going bunch and all get on so one way or another, there’s always plenty of things to do to relax whilst on the road!
I see you played Red Rocks in Denver, I have fond memories of watching U2 rocking the venue back in the early 80’s when they toured as part of their ‘War Tour’, how was it to play there?
It’s definitely a spectacular place to play a concert, as I understand it, it’s pretty much untouched as it was when it was originally located, just one of those quirks of nature. I recall that U2 video as well and never imagined that I’d be playing there one day! We’ve played there 4 times now to 10000 people overtime, it’s certainly one of the most unique places that I’ve ever played
What’s the sound like there?
It’s wonderful, there’s something special, no echoes, just a wonderful, crystal clear sound!
Your sound and the stage setup is clearly replicating Pink Floyd as closely as it can, have you ever considered ‘looking’ the part as well as sounding like them? I guess this may involve a few costume/wig changes?
No not really, it’s not something I’m a big fan of, wigs and costumes just don’t cut it for me, I think that when it comes to their music, Pink Floyd are very much individuals and they never really had a ‘look’ in the same way that T-Rex or David Bowie had, we focus more on the show, the production, lighting and that is what we strive to emulate and we do that in a modern manner.
How do you go about selecting your track list for a tour? Do you play the songs in a chronological order?
Trying to do things in a chronological order doesn’t make for the best setlist, for whatever reason, there are tracks that sound better as opening or closing songs, it's an art in itself trying to piece the setlist together as you are taking people on a musical journey and it’s so important to get it right!
What do you think makes the Pink Floyd songs so enduring?
There is a definitely a timeless nature to their music, the lyrical content that Roger Waters was exploring back in the day are just as relevant today as they were back then, 30-40 years ago. I certainly find that throughout the world, there are loads of young people discovering this music, these people may not have been born when they last toured let alone in their heyday of the 70’s! People find magic in the music and I think it’s safe to say that the enduring appeal of this music is going to keep it going for a long long time!
A tough question but if you were to name just one PF song as your all out favourite, which would it be and why?
I’m going to have to say Comfortably Numb, it comes from The Wall album which was the first album I heard by them when I was about 13 years old and introduced me to their music, it has it all for me, compelling lyrics, the beautiful melody that David Gilmour sings in the chorus and one of the, if not THE best rock guitar solo that has ever been created!
We thanked Damian for his time and wished him well for the rest of the UK dates.
You can see Brit Floyd at the following UK dates;
Fri 20th Nov Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Sat 21st Nov Plymouth Pavilions
Sun 22nd Nov Birmingham Symphony Hall
Tues 24th Nov Portsmouth Guildhall
Weds 25th Nov London Eventim Apollo
Fri 27th Nov Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Sat 28th Nov Gateshead The Sage
Sun 29th Nov Liverpool Echo Arena
For more information and tickets, please visit their website
Interview by Steve Muscutt