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Thursday, March 24,2011

Lasers and rock and Oz — oh my!

Echoes of Pink Floyd finds the ’Dark Side’ of a classic fantasy

by Rich Tupica

 


“It’s an escape from reality for people to see ‘Wizard of Oz’ set to ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ with lasers. It’s a surreal experience,” said Tom Beller, bassist and backing vocalist for Echoes of Pink Floyd, a tribute band with an enormous light show.


The band performs “Dark Side of Oz” Saturday at the Grand Ledge High School auditorium.


Since the mid-1990s, Pink Floyd fans have been syncing up the 1939 film with the 1973 concept album, creating an undeniable correspondence between the mood of the music and the film.


After the performance the band will play a second set of Pink Floyd classics from “The Wall,” and “Wish You Were Here,” as well as some of the band’s more obscure cuts.


“We have a circle screen that we fix over the band and the movie is projected on the screen above the band,” Beller explained. “You can see the movie, the band, the light show and the laser show all at the same time. It’s a multi-sensory experience.”


The Michigan-based band formed in 2003 with a focus on recreating the Pink Floyd sound.


Through vintage gear and note-for-note precision, the band has mastered Pink Floyd’s unique sound. Its growing stage show and following has allowed the band to perform over 100 shows across the Midwest.


The band includes Keith Billik (guitar, lap steel, sax, keyboards, effects), Alex Gonzalez (lead guitar, vocals), Mark King (keyboards, vocals) and Michael Lang (drums, percussion), as well as three back-up vocalists and a saxophonist. Beller said with this roster of members they are able to respectfully honor the band.


“I can’t think of another band I’d want to pay tribute to,” he said.


“I’m not really into the tribute-band genre. We don’t try to dress up like Pink Floyd or anything. Our thing is to play the music, have the energy, and have the production that Pink Floyd revolutionized the concert industry with.”


While a huge part of Echoes of Pink Floyd is its colossal laser light show, Beller said the band strays from hokey elements often associated with cover bands.


““We don’t put too much focus on the band members — we are secondary. If this were a Beatles tribute band, where we had to throw on wigs and makeup, I’d be running to the hills. We’re not into trying to look and act like the band members — that’s what makes us different.”



Echoes of Pink Floyd: ’Dark Side of Oz’


8 p.m. Saturday, March 26 Grand Ledge High School Auditorium 820 Spring St., Grand Ledge Doors open at 7 p.m. $25 in advance; $30 at door; $20 for 18 and under (800) 585-3737, or available at all Meijer stores www.pinkfloydtributeband.net





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