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Pink Floyd tribute band recreates ‘Dark Side’

Echoes of Pompeii — “Dark Side of the Moon”

♦ 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15

♦ Tickets, $30

Updated: December 13, 2012 10:46AM

Pink Floyd remains one of the most iconic bands in rock music, and their 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon” is hailed as one of the best rock albums ever created.

The passage of time has made it impossible for fans to ever see the original lineup perform in person ever again, but Echoes of Pompeii has kept the band’s music alive. The national touring Pink Floyd tribute band will bring its recreation of “Dark Side of the Moon” to Elgin Community College Arts Center’s Blizzard Theater this Saturday, giving classic rock fans the opportunity to experience one of the rock’s masterpieces live and up close.

Bassist and vocalist Jeremy Andrews said the band formed several years ago covering classic rock standards before devoting itself to the music of Pink Floyd. Echoes of Pompeii’s ECC show will feature “Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety along with several other favorites from Pink Floyd. Along with classic songs such as “Breathe” and “Us and Them,” the band recreates the visual experience of a Pink Floyd concert with laser lights and a large overhead video screen.

Joining Andrews on stage are his bandmates, including his brother Jason on guitar and vocals, along with guitarist Andy Hescher, keyboardist Rob Martinez and drummer Mike Perriera. For “Dark Side of the Moon,” Andrews said the band also will perform with female backup vocalists and a saxophone player to duplicate the album’s sound. “What we do is we bring in a lot of vocals,” Andrews said. “We have a great ensemble of musicians.”

The band’s musicianship is put to the test with “Dark Side of the Moon,” which Andrews said is one of Pink Floyd’s most challenging works with its dynamic chord changes and complex arrangements. Andrews said the band’s goal isn’t to copy the sound of the original album note-for-note, but rather to create a performance that evokes the energy and emotion of the original for the specific audience and venue. “We don’t play it exact, but we don’t stray too far from it,” he said. “You have to know your limitations and what sounds good to the ear and what might not.”

“Dark Side of the Moon” has become an institution since it was released nearly 40 years ago, and Andrews said that has a lot to do with the themes explored on the album. Rather than spouting the same old rock and roll clichés of drinking, drugs and sex, the album deals with more complicated ideas including mental illness, the anxiety created by modern life and materialism.

“I think for most people it’s the lyrics,” Andrews said. “They seem so simple, but they really touch life. You talk about realism, (Pink Floyd) talks about life.”

Although some might say being part of a tribute band is limiting for a musician, Andrews said he gets a real thrill from the positive feedback Echoes of Pompeii receives from its audiences. Because the music of Pink Floyd continues to attract fans young and old to this day, Andrews said Echoes of Pompeii always gets an enthusiastic reaction from audiences. “My favorite part is the reaction, the standing ovation you get when you play ‘Comfortably Numb,’” he said.

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