The Gilmour Project takes on 'Dark Side of the Moon' at 50

EDITOR'S NOTE: A headline inadvertently stated David Gilmour would be in attendance at the event. He is not taking part in May 13's show.

   

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s first public performance of “Dark Side of the Moon: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics.” The first public performance took place at The Rainbow Theatre in London on Feb. 17, 1972, more than a year before the release of the album, which dropped the second part of the title and was known as “Dark Side of the Moon.”

The Gilmour Project will honor the anniversary of the historic record by performing it in its entirety at The Riviera Theater on May 13. The group gets its name from Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and features an all-star lineup of musicians.

Assembled by music producer Michael Gaiman, whose resume includes a long stint as Jefferson Starship’s manager and a close association with The Grateful Dead, The Gilmour Project provides the perfect balance between progressive rock and improvisational jam band.

“It is not a tribute band,” bassist and vocalist Kasim Sulton emphasized during a recent phone interview before heading off to rehearsals for the upcoming tour.

“We didn’t set out to recreate the records note for note, it is interpretive. Each one of us has a long career, so we are putting our own spin on the material. There are parts that need to be honored, like a signature guitar line, vocal part or sound. There are also plenty of opportunities for us to stretch out.”

Sulton is best known for his stint in Utopia, and in addition to his solo career he has worked with Meat Loaf, Joan Jett, Hall & Oates, Cheap Trick and as bassist for Todd Rundgren’s solo tours.

In addition to Sulton, the group includes former Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, Mark Karan from Bob Weir’s RatDog and The Other Ones, keyboardist Scott Guberman, from Phil Lesh’s band and guitarist Jeff Pevar, a founding member of Crosby, Pevar & Raymond, which featured David Crosby.

In addition, Pevar is the project’s musical director, and has worked with Crosby, Stills and Nash, Donald Fagen’s Rock & Soul, James Taylor, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Dr. John, Carly Simon, Kenny Loggins, Wilson Pickett and Phil Collins.

“Jeff is a musical genius,” Sulton said. “I am really lucky to be working with him. Anyone that I have told that Jeff is in the lineup, they tell me how great he is, and he is a great all-around guitar player. ...

“The entire lineup is really incredible, the material was a little bit outside my comfort zone, but it’s always good to stretch out when you have the chance. I never imagined I would be performing these songs but I have a new appreciation for the music, and a ton of respect for everyone in this band.”

After the group performs “Dark Side of the Moon,” they will tackle other selections from Pink Floyd’s extensive catalog.

Asked to weigh in on whether he prefers David Gilmour or Roger Waters, Sulton noted, “There are rabid fans of both sides of the spectrum. I tended to prefer the Gilmour driven material, but Pink Floyd were a huge influence on everyone, and “Dark Side of the Moon” is one of the best-selling ... of all-time. Every musician performed at least one Pink Floyd song in their formative years.”

Tickets for the show start at $29 and are available at the Riviera Theatre box office or Rivieratheatre.org.

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day. Contact him at ngedit@niagara-gazette.com.

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