If you’re reading this, you may be wondering aloud why the world needed yet another touring act dedicated to keeping the music of Pink Floyd alive and your cynicism wouldn’t necessarily be unwarranted. Between Brit Floyd, The Machine, The Australian Pink Floyd Show, and WNY’s own The Floyd Concept, this material has been covered ad nauseum for what feels like a longer period of time than the actual band could stand being in the same room together.
What makes The Gilmour Project different, though, is that they’re not interested in recreating every solo, chord change, and vocal inflection with a Marine Corps attention to detail. They’re just five top-tier musicians jamming through the music they love with the sense that not everything needs to be just so to have a great show.
Comprised of Jeff Pevar and Mark Karan on guitars, Kasim Sulton on bass, Scott Guberman on keyboards, and Prairie Prince on drums, they served up a saucerful of gems inside the Riviera Theatre on Friday night during a set that featured The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety as well as assorted pieces from throughout Floyd’s illustrious career.
Highlights from the first half included scorching guitar work from Pevar on both “Time” and “Money” as well as a collective squall on “Us and Them” that captured the emotion of the original beautifully. The absence of a female singer meant that “The Great Gig in the Sky” had to suffer slightly, but, given the sanctity of what Clare Torry laid down on the album, the band was better served by not trying to recreate that magic.
Following a brief intermission, the band jumped into “Comfortably Numb” and “Learning to Fly,” the latter of which I could have easily done without due to the whole “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” period being tepid at best, but the gathered loved it anyway. I was much more intrigued by the inclusion of Kate Bush’s “Running Up that Hill (A Deal With God),” but the crickets from the crowd suggested that she’s still not as appreciated in America as she should be.
The stunner of the evening came when they fused “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “One of These Days” with The Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star” to give us something we truly hadn’t seen before from one of the aforementioned tribute acts. Fans also popped hard when Guberman rose up from the floor to play his keyboard parts on the venue’s Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, which made for a cool localized moment.
Ultimately, it was the universality of the music that resonated most and it’s that universality that justifies the plethora of tribute acts that continue to draw from the creative well on a yearly basis. Pink Floyd wrote about life, death, love, and war like no other band from that era did, so, when Steven Wilson told me in 2018 that he no longer needed to listen to them due to how intimately woven their music was into the fabric of his life, he could have been speaking for all of us in attendance.