By TOM CHESEK
Roosevelt Stadium, June 1973. A capacity crowd in this Jersey City deco landmark is getting its first real look at a “new” band that’s somehow navigated below U.S. radar for some six years and eight LPs.
As a full moon rises in a smoggy pink sky and a specially trucked-in quadrophonic sound system beats out the tattoo of a familiar heartbeat, Pink Floyd lapses into a full-length, lip-to-label, LIVE recreation of its instant-classic new album THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, while flaming model planes spark and sizzle overhead and thousands of Boone’s Farm-stoked brains scream “This… is… our… WOODSTOCK!”
Other Floydian milestones would ensue, from treks into the city to catch “Laser Floyd” at the planetarium, to nights spent trying to sync up DARK SIDE with “The Wizard of Oz.” There were WISH YOU WERE HERE and ANIMALS; THE WALL and all of its horse-flogging spinoffs. There was the 180-gram virgin vinyl DARK SIDE reissue and the 5.1 channel DSD Surround Sound 30th Anniversary Super Audio CD. And, eventually, there were the afternoons spent minivanning the kids to their Paul Green School of Rock all-Floyd rehearsals.
With the definitive four-piece Floyd lineup of Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright having long since splintered into little more than competing oldies acts, however, what’s been missing from your life has been that definitive recapture of what you felt that night in the toxic Turnpike haze. You need the Pink Floyd experience, or at very least a reasonable simulacrum.
Enter, as if on cue, The Pink Floyd Experience, “a celebration of the music, the themes, and the theatrical experience of a truly innovative band” that makes an encore appearance at the Count Basie Theatre on Saturday, March 1.
As the Canadian-based Annerin Productions hastens to point out, The Pink Floyd Experience is NOT an impostor show. Of course, they are NOT Pink Floyd (there are six musicians on stage for one thing, none of them impersonating the late Syd Barrett), but “a truly unforgettable interpretation and celebration of one of the great musical and theatrical concert experiences of all time.” They are, to again quote their publicity material, the FULL Pink Floyd Experience.
Well, okay, there’s also another Pink Floyd Experience operating out of New Zealand, and reportedly one in Norway as well, but can those guys do THIS (cue $2.5 million worth of equipment on stage)? We thought not.
In addition to purveying letter-perfect renditions of such Floyd signatures as “Money,” “Have a Cigar” and “Another Brick in the Wall,” guitarist-bandleader Tom Quinn and his seasoned crew of cohorts also play host to a spectacular high-tech show the likes of which haven’t been seen since the halcyon days of the major record labels.
Taking the most jaw-dropping elements of several stadium tours and re-scaling them for the more intimate dimensions of the Basie and its sister auditoriums, the Experience recreates such legendary stage effects as the iconic pig balloon of the ANIMALS album cover; the eye-popping images and breakway barrier from THE WALL, and yes, the sound effects from DARK SIDE, presented in living quad.
As an extra added sideshow to the concert, the Count Basie Theatre teams up with Red Bank’s own Cel-ebration Animation Art Gallery for a special one-day exhibit of original production cels and sketches from Alan Parker‘s 1982 film PINK FLOYD: THE WALL. British illustrator Gerald Scarfe worked on the look and feel of this screen adaptation of the 1979 Floyd double LP; his contributions can be seen on display in the Basie lobby between the hours of 5 and 7p. The art is available for purchase as well, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Count Basie Theatre Foundation.
Tickets for the 8p Pink Floyd Experience show are priced from $25 to $55, and maybe reserved through the venue’s website.