The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Features

January 25, 2014

Classic rock | British band opening North American tour in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN — Brit Floyd’s extravagant show returns to Johnstown to offer the best elements of a real Pink Floyd.

Brit Floyd kicks off the second part of its North American tour with Discovery World Tour 2014 at 8 p.m. March 6 at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown.

Brit Floyd’s success has hinged on delivering the music, mood, emotion and excitement of a Pink Floyd concert.

There is little doubt about the tribute band’s success in achieving that goal.

Ian Cattell, 44, Brit Floyd’s bass player and vocalist, is the only American in the British band.

“Once we arrive in Johnstown, we will be fully rehearsed musically,” said Cattell during an interview from his Syracuse, N.Y., home.

Brit Floyd will be at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena for three days to do tech rehearsals prior to kicking off its North American leg of its tour.

“The opening show of a tour is like a giant dress rehearsal for us as we coordinate all aspects of the show, including lighting, sound and video.”

Prior to going on the road, there are months of planning that literally are right off the drawing board as all the engineering aspects are completed for the show.

The group hasn’t performed since its Dec. 21 concert in Beirut, Lebanon.

He joined the band when it was called Australian Pink Floyd in 2005. That group’s bass player decided he had had enough touring, opening the spot for Cattell.

In the years since, Cattell has performed nearly 1,000 shows in more than 40 countries, including the band’s first venture into Russia.

In 2010, the three Australians in the former group decided they wanted to leave for a different management team. They took the name, so the remaining musicians fielded a new name, Brit Floyd, but kept the old management group, which is based in Liverpool, England.

“When we perform in England, our audiences are older because the younger audiences haven’t latched onto the classic rock as much as those in the former Yugoslavia countries of Montenegro and Croatia as well as Lebanon,” he said.

In Lebanon, promoters had to designate two-thirds of the seats to youngsters 18 years old and younger.

“We didn’t know what to expect in Beirut, but were thrilled to perform for 5,000 people,” Cattell said.

Whether it’s hard-core Pink Floyd fans or the casual admirers, Cattell enjoys watching audiences sing along.

“We will be starting our North American tour with a concert in Johnstown, and we will tour the states for several months and continue the tour until the end of May,” Cattell said.

Cattell admits touring with the band is a great opportunity to see the world, but at times, it’s not quite as romantic as people may think.

“We spend a lot of time in dressing rooms, hotels and tour buses, and we find it tough to be away from home now that we are getting older,” he said.

“We do the best we can to stay in shape to do a three-hour show. We don’t live a raucous rock ’n’ roll lifestyle.”

March will be hectic as the band plays 18 more shows during the month from Pittsburgh and Detroit to St. Louis and Baltimore.

The tour ends May 23 at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix.

A new, live production will feature music from all 14 Pink Floyd studio albums, plus a new light and laser show.

“We will be doing 75 shows as new shows are added and the final tour dates are being arranged,” Cattell said.

The concert will feature a video on the big screen, which will show a retrospect of Pink Floyd’s entire career.

The visuals will feature interactive animations, colors, illustrations and vintage Pink Floyd photographs and video footage played across the giant screen on the stage.

The show will feature music from “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” to “The Division Bell” and everything in between.

The show will capture note-for-note details of favorite moments as well as a few lesser known gems.

“Many of the songs are new to us or ones we haven’t played for a long time,” Cattell said.

“I have been playing Pink Floyd for a long time, so this is nothing new to me. It’s not highly technical music, but the challenge is getting the feel right and sound correct.”

The Johnstown show will be followed by a pair of shows on March 7-8 at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh.

Tom Lavis covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.

Concert

What: Pink Floyd tribute band’s Discovery World Tour 2014.

Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St., Johnstown.

When: 8 p.m. March 6.

Tickets: At box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays; Ticketmaster outlets; by phone at 800-745-3000; or on the Internet at www.ticketmaster.com.

Cost: $39.25, $44.35, $50.50, plus fees.

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