Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is such a work of art that to split it up into nine tracks–like classic rock radio has done for years–always sounds nonsensical. How can you just end “Breathe” on that final chord and not follow it with the analog drones of “On the Run”? How can you play “Brain Damage” and not end with “Eclipse”? And how dare you fade the long coda of “Money” and segue into a car commercial?
You can’t, morally speaking, I’m telling you.
So that’s why I like the cut of the jib of the Martin Miller Session Band, who commit to covering the entirety of Dark Side of the Moon in this one long studio performance. According to Miller’s Patreon page, this is the only full album they’ve covered so far, and they pull through admirably.
And the thing that is refreshing here is that the band covers the album up to a point, but not slavishly. It’s not the Flaming Lips’ deconstruction or the surprisingly still listenable 8-Bit version, but neither is it the kind of tribute band like Brit Floyd (below). When Miller solos, he’s not aping David Gilmour. The keyboardist Marius Leicht has his own knobs to twiddle, so to speak. And drummer Felix Lehrmann will never ever be confused for Nick Mason. (In fact, he gets a lot of grief in the comments for being too flash, but when you watch Miller’s other videos and see him giving Stewart Copeland a run for his money on their Police medley, you see where he’s coming from.)
Knowing what you’re in for, questions arise: are they going to include the various spoken samples sprinkled throughout (“I don’t know I was really drunk at the time,” “There is no dark side of the moon really…”). Answer: yes indeed, and funny they are too. Does a saxophonist turn up for “Money” and “Us and Them”? Answer: Yes, and it’s Michal Skulski. Who can possibly match Clare Torry’s pipes on “The Great Gig in the Sky”? Jenny Marsala does, thank you very much.
So I would settle in and try to unlearn your memory of every note and beat on the 1973 classic. By doing so, you’ll hear the album anew.
And after that, if you’re still hankering for that “even better than the real thing” vibe, enjoy this full concert, circular projection screen and all, by the aforementioned Brit Floyd, playing Liverpool in 2011.
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.