Pink Floyd tribute band brings out ‘Dark Side’ of the Orpheum


Andrew Linnabary

The Black Jacket Symphony covered Pink Floyd’s “dark Side of the Moon” in full on Saturday at The Orpheum Theatre.

I’ll admit to being skeptical of cover and tribute bands.

It’s the feeling of inauthenticity and the lingering thought of “man, I wish I were actually listening to the guys who made this music, not an imitation” that gets me.

Thankfully, the Black Jacket Symphony’s performance of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” Saturday at the Orpheum did not feel like an imitation.

Sure, the first impression wasn’t great. As I arrived at the Orpheum, I had one initial thought — this place is full of middle-aged men with greying ponytails. I was worried.

Once I arrived at my seat, though, I felt like I’d taken a trip back to the ponytailed men’s heyday, one where laser shows, stage fog and a fleet of Fender Stratocaster guitars were unquestionably cool. The old school feel of the Orpheum, a piece of Wichita history since 1922, only added to the effect.

Despite being a concept album that is — in a nutshell — about insanity, “Dark Side of the Moon” certainly works as a live show. From the breezy, relaxing notes of David Gilmour’s guitar that lead “Breathe,” to the quick hi-hat hits, electronic riffs and swirling voices, footsteps and feedback during “On the Run,” all the way to the reverb that blankets almost every song, the album has many textures, no easy feat to remake in full.

The Black Jacket Symphony, which has recreated over 35 albums in a live setting, played “Dark Side of the Moon” front to back, note-for-note, sound for sound. It felt like reliving a piece of history.

The accuracy was uncanny. If you didn’t pay too much attention to the individual performers, but rather took the sound and show in as a whole, it was the next best thing to a Pink Floyd performance circa 1970.

There was the shrieking female vocals in “The Great Gig in the Sky,” provided by a musician handpicked for the show who also performed the sax solo in “Money” while, fittingly, swathed in green light. She received a standing ovation.

There was a colorful, strobing laser light show that accompanied the entire experience, helping you enjoy the music and forget that you’re not actually listening to Pink Floyd.

And there was the crescendoing finality of “Brain Damage/Eclipse,” where lunacy was bid farewell, for now — “see you on the dark side of the moon,” the crowd sang with the band. It was a “cover band,” sure, but the crowd was convinced. As was I.

Comparing recent live shows from members of Pink Floyd to the Black Jacket Symphony performance of “Dark Side of the Moon,” it almost begs the question — which one’s Pink?