Faculty and students gave a fond tribute to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon by recreating the iconic album live in its entirety Monday night at Tucker Theatre.
The 10-piece tribute band “Us and Them” is made up of recording industry professors, graduate students and others, as well as frequent guest-spot from Memphis saxophonist Chris Piecuch. They’ve been performing Dark Side for nearly half a decade.
“One day I was at the practice room of the band I played with, and we were sitting around and I said: ‘You know what guys, I think one day I need to do a performance of Dark Side of the Moon,” Director of Recording Industry Brown told Sidelines. “And then the guitar player goes: ‘Well I’d be up for that,’ [and] before you knew it we decided to do this.”
The band worked “slowly and meticulously” for the next year, working diligently to get down every minute detail of the album. Brown was a teenager when he discovered the iconic album, and he knew it would be a challenge to recreate.
“The first time I heard Dark Side of the Moon was probably [in] ’73 or ’74, in the middle of the night on my radio—which I had on slowly—in my bedroom,” Brown said. “It’s been a significant part of my musical world, [but] then there’s the challenge [of] recreating Dark Side [which] is like riding the roller coaster you’ve heard about all your life.”
Graduate student Sarah Bailey provided backup vocals for the show, but says she had never listened to Dark Side of the Moon before getting involved with the project. Since then she says she’s discovered intelligence swimming beneath the surface of Pink Floyd’s music.
“It’s really interesting approaching Pink Floyd having classical music and theory in my background because Pink Floyd is very thoughtful [and] deliberate,” Bailey said. “It’s really brilliant, and it kind of affected me in some ways like opera, because it’s like there is this storyline and it makes you think you’re involved.”
The concert proved faithful to the album’s elaborate production and featured recreations of all the album’s meticulous and intricate details, including all the album’s clocks, heartbeats, synthesizers and spoken-word segments.
Additionally, many of the performances served as powerful standouts, most memorable among them being Computer Information Systems Professor Amy Harris, who lived up beautifully to the foreboding task of singing Clare Torry’s timeless and demanding vocals on “The Great Gig in the Sky.”
Vocalist/guitarist Steve Holeman acted as the night’s David Gilmour and paid justice to one of rock history’s most iconic guitar solos on the song “Time,” while Brown sang a soulful, bluesy rendition of the album’s mesmerizing opener “Breathe.”
The performance ended with a three-song encore featuring some of Floyd’s most popular tracks.