BY TOM LAVIS
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.
Brit Floyd kicks off its world tour with a concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown, with its “P-U-L-S-E 2013, The Pink Floyd Ultimate Light and Sound Experience.”
The band, which will remain on tour through June, is highly regarded for featuring note-for-note performances of five full album sides from “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “The Wall,” “The Division Bell” and “Animals.”
Ian Cattell, Brit Floyd’s bass player and vocalist, is the only American in the British band.
“Our first tour concert is in Johnstown, and we will tour the states for several months and continue the tour until the end of June,” Cattell said.
“The venues we play can range from 1,000-seat intimate theaters to arenas holding 10,000 people.”
Cattell hails from Syracuse, N.Y., and has been performing Pink Floyd’s music for years.
“I have a terrific job,” Cattell said. “I shouldn’t say that because, for the three hours I’m onstage, it doesn’t seem like a job.”
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 700 shows in 40 countries, first with Australian Pink Floyd, and now with Brit Floyd.
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 tend to be a little older,” Cattell said. “But when we are touring the U.S., we see a lot of teens and those of college age.”
Whether it’s hard-core Pink Floyd fans or the casual admirers, Cattell enjoys watching audiences sing along.
“We performed in Beirut (Lebanon) to a shockingly young, enthusiastic crowd who have discovered the music after a time when Pink Floyd’s music wasn’t allowed to be played there,” Cattell said.
Having performed to more than half a million fans around the world since its first show in Liverpool in January 2011, Brit Floyd will deliver a stunning three-hour show.
Inspired by the record breaking 1994 “Division Bell” tour and including the trademark Pink Floyd arch and circle light show and brand new Floydian animation and projection, the concert will be Brit Floyd’s biggest show yet, Cattell said.
Pink Floyd’s combination of music and visuals set the standard for rock musicians. Brit Floyd will re-create the legendary Pink Floyd in its many forms – from ’60s psychedelic pop band to ’80s stadium-filling juggernaut to being reunited with London’s Live 8 in 2005, which was Pink Floyd’s first performance together since June 17, 1981.
One of the most difficult tasks Cattell and the band has is deciding what songs will be performed during each concert.
“That’s one reason we do not have an opening act when we perform,” Cattell said.
“Because of the large number of songs available, if we only did an hour and a half concert, we feel like we would not only be cheating ourselves as a band, but also the people who come to hear it.”
Critics have said Brit Floyd sounds better than the group to whom it is paying tribute.
“I don’t buy that for a second,” Cattell said.
“It was their own music and each live performance had little nuances we can’t duplicate.
“We just have an obligation to play the music to the best of our ability and represent this phenomenal music in a professional manner,” he said.
What: “P-U-L-S-E 2013, The Pink Floyd Ultimate Light and Sound Experience.”
Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St., Johnstown.
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 28.
Tickets: At box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 or on the Internet at www.ticketmaster.com.
Cost: $29.50, $34.50, $40.50, plus fees.
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