There are other Pink Floyd tribute bands out there, but few with the attention to detail of PIGS.
On a spring tour that includes an April 2 concert at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre, the Vancouver Island-based band works to replicate a mid-1970s show by the British prog-rockers, with sounds and visuals of the “Wish You Were Here” heyday and latter-day songs added in.
PIGS studied Pink Floyd’s live albums and bootlegs to create their tribute.
That riff played by David Gilmour at Knebworth Festival in 1975? Check.
The light show that tripped out fans at Cow Palace? Could be.
The kind of bass Roger Waters played at the Pacific Coliseum? Considered.
“Everything we do or play or say up there is something they really once played or did or said on stage,” explained bandleader Josh Szczepanowski (pronounced Shep-a-nowski).
“We’re performing a role, right, and playing a real rock show,” he added. “It’s live, and we don’t have click tracks and all that crap. We don’t have pictures of Pink Floyd or album covers up on the screen, and everything on there is either what they really had or imagery that I have put together to match the style of what they had.”
The production has evolved since the first PIGS shows, circa 2008. Szczepanowski, the band’s “Gilmour,” has sung and played guitar on the national tours that followed for the band, which has seen members come and go over those 15 years.
“It’s kind of like real life where our Roger (Waters) leaves every once in a while, and we always get a new one,” he said with a laugh.
A Grade 12 English teacher in Victoria, Szczepanowski said he wasn’t much of a Pink Floyd fan growing up, but the music has certainly grown on him.
“They were my dad’s favourite band,” he recalled in a phone call. “I never really listened to them, but I actually won tickets to see a Pink Floyd tribute act. I went on a first date, and we left at the intermission because it was bad. I won’t name names, but it wasn’t great, I didn’t love it. But then I thought about it, thought about what could be better and what would make it all a bit more authentic for the audience. I talked to my band and it morphed into a Pink Floyd tribute, there you go.”
The band’s current “Fearless” tour involves nearly two-and-a-half hours of music, with expected songs and also unexpected ones. Tour dates and ticket details are posted on canadapinkfloyd.com, or call 604-507-6355 for Surrey concert info.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s landmark Dark Side of the Moon release, and boy, does Szczepanowski have something to look forward to later this year.
“That’s one album close to our heart, for sure, and I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve heard it, played it, enjoyed it,” he started.
“I happen to be going with my other band over to England, and we’ll be recording in Abbey Road, which is thrilling. So in the 50th year of that album, I’m going to be in the place where it was recorded.”
“Yeah, it’s a bar band (The Temps). Our singer (Justin Hewitt) is quite a talented songwriter, and we’re recording his new album there. We did his last album, too, here, and how could we say no to going to Abbey Road, right? I’m going to spend the first day crying, of course. It’s going to be emotional.”
“He just went there last week for some pre-production and sent some pictures,” Szczepanowski continued. “I’ll be sure to play a little bit of Floyd in there. I hear the piano they used on Sgt. Pepper’s (the Beatles album) in still there in the studio and I’m going to get to play it, so that’s amazing.”
Looking ahead, the Bell is a busy stage for other ’70s-era tribute bands this spring, including Take it To The Limit (Eagles) on April 22 and ABRA Cadabra (ABBA) on June 14. Both are Moon Coin Productions.
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