My ears are still ringing. Even the one that’s mostly deaf.
Last night, in an ongoing effort to expand my cultural horizons, I attended a concert by “The Australian Pink Floyd Show” at the Durham Performing Arts Center. For a variety of reasons (family, work, graduate school, being Baptist?), I missed much of the music scene during the 1970s and 80s — at least, anything with a much harder edge than the Captain and Tenille.
Hard rock, acid rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, alternative rock — they’re all lost on me, even those that have morphed into “classic rock.”
So, it should come as no surprise that experiencing Aussie Floyd’s high-octane sound and light show quickly overloaded the occipital and temporal lobes of my brain, where such things are processed. I’m not sure my neural synapses have ever stayed quite so busy for quite so long.
I knew very little about Pink Floyd before going, despite the band’s iconic status. I watched a “Dark Side of the Moon” concert video on YouTube to warm up, and learned from Wikipedia that the funky name was created on the fly from the first names of Piedmont blues singers Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, whose records were in creative leader Sid Barrett’s collection. Apparently, the group was called the “Tea Set” until one night when they were booked for a multi-band gig that included another act by the same name.
The “Tea Set”? Really? Their tea must have been spiked with mushrooms. It’s good for them they ran into the other band: I suspect the more whimsical and curiosity-inducing “Pink Floyd” moniker probably contributed greatly to the group’s success.
Pink Floyd’s tightly choreographed concerts were known for lots of instrumental solos, plus the creative use of lights, pyrotechnics, videos, and giant stage props, including a flying pig. Original band members are either aging or dead now, but Aussie Floyd is a whale of a cover band, having sold over three million tickets over the course of many tours. They add a few “down under” touches: while the pig made an appearance during the encore, their trademark prop was a prodigious pink kangaroo that rose during one of the more tuneful songs and towered over the band, grinning and bouncing in time to the music before taking a bow when it was done.
Stetching boundaries can be both educational and profitable. So, despite the ringing ears and residual jumpiness, I’m grateful for the experience. I do resonate with something my father once said, though. After being dragged to New York City for a three-day visit, his evaluation was “I’m glad I went, so now I don’t have to do it again.”