“We don’t usually go out on Tuesdays,” one patron said before the performance at the Rococo Theater on March 10. “It’s a special night.”
It was a special night indeed. Exactly 47 years after the album’s original release, The Black Jacket Symphony’s electric performance of Pink Floyd’s classic 1973 album “The Dark Side of the Moon” shredded the silence with laborious guitar solos, powerhouse vocals and the occasional saxophone. While the group may be a professional cover band, its performance sounded as though it were Pink Floyd’s own — minus a tinge of the stereotypical rockstar flair. However, the theater’s close-quarters added a comfortable, yet peculiar intimacy to the performance.
Scott Kaye, a host for 92.9 The Eagle, kicked off the evening with a few announcements and jokes before pulsing red lights penetrated the darkness, falling in line with the heartbeat which thudded from the kick drum, signifying the album’s start.
“Speak to Me,” the overture for “The Dark Side of the Moon” slowly evolved from the beating heart into a cacophony of forthcoming sounds including clocks, unintelligible chatter, cash registers, maniacal laughter and hauntingly gorgeous wails. The seamless transition into the immediately contrasting “Breathe (In The Air)” left attendees on the edge of their seats.
The audience was alive, but not quite entranced until being confronted with “Time.” Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour and pianist and vocalist Richard Wright might as well have been lecturing attendees over the passage of time, given the nearly indistinguishable vocals presented by symphony members.
“The Great Gig in the Sky” provided an unparalleled solo vocal performance, rivaled perhaps only by Clare Torry’s original gospel shrieking from the album. The alluring, velvety wails erupting from the stage brought the room to a standstill, as the audience remained captivated by the emotion entrenched in the vocalist’s facials. In the midst of electric and avant-garde instrumentation, this vocal sensory shock served as an explicitly unforgettable reminder that the voice, too, is an instrument worthy of equal respect.
In terms of recreation, The Black Jacket Symphony flawlessly presented every facet of the album. From the soaring moans to the psychedelic ocean behind every chord, the band left no stone unturned.
Beyond “The Dark Side of the Moon,” a set of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits from “Wish You Were Here” to “Run Like Hell” sent the audience into a euphoric tailspin.
The subtly intrusive acoustic twang of the lead guitarist’s entrance in “Wish You Were Here” rendered the most genuine moment of the night.
“Yeah, baby!” cried a particularly boisterous audience member.
The guitar player smiled right back at him.
Soon after, the lead vocalist called on the audience for help with the chorus, “How I wish, how I wish you were here/We’re just two lost souls, swimming in a fish bowl/Year after year/Running over the same old ground/What have we found?/The same old fears/Wish you were here.”
There is nothing like the communal, almost tribal feeling that comes from the unapologetic belting of iconic lyrics amidst fellow fanatics.
When not relying on audience collaboration, he and the other members carried the recreations with ease.
Two songs later, a performance of “Run Like Hell” made the mood a bit darker.
“We invite you to get out of your seats and rock out with us,” the lead singer proclaimed.
The dreadlocked older gentleman next to me immediately rose to the occasion, wielding dual-peace signs and professing his relaxed admiration.
After a unanimously appreciated encore that included “The Happiest Days of Our Lives,” “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” and “Comfortably Numb,” one thing was clear — The Black Jacket Symphony took the Rococo Theatre and all its inhabitants to the dark side of the moon and beyond.