THE Australian Pink Floyd Show (TAPFS) may not be the real Floyd but they come as close as you will get these days.
The group, that first formed in Adelaide in 1988, has gone from strength to strength and they will make their presence felt with a UK tour this month.
Australian Times asked the rhetorical esoteric Pink Floyd question ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ and got an answer from original TAPFS founding member Jason Sawford.
So Mr Sawford, what’s on the cards for March?
“We’ll be doing a very representative set of music of all the greatest hits and some unusual ones as well. We’ll play some early Pink Floyd, bits of Darker Side [Of The Moon], Wish You Were Here and The Wall right up to the Divisional Bell. There will be the inflatable pig, the same one that was used by Pink Floyd and a newly designed light show from the one we had last year.”
British soil is something Jason and TAPFS are more than familiar with.
“We sort of developed our career in the UK. We came here from Australia back in ’92 and that’s where we really developed the show so it’s always good to come back to England and tour.”
The Aussie Pink Floyd Show may be a tribute band but they are not just any old tribute band.
The band was notoriously requested by David Gilmour himself to play at the original Floyd member’s birthday celebrations.
That must have been something, hey Jason?
“Yeah that was a big memory, he asked us to play certain songs and we played a really great set list to all these famous people. We were really nervous but it was a great experience and afterwards David Gilmour and Rick Wright [the real Pink Floyd rockers] came up on stage and played hand instruments.”
Sawford, the 44-year-old TAPFS keys player, clearly began to grow in confidence during our interview and he soon reflected on the increasing success of the ‘most famous tribute band in the world’.
“I think we put on a bloody good show now. It’s a huge show, musically we try and get things note for note. I think a lot of people come out feeling that it sounds just like a Pink Floyd show which is what we aim to do.
“Coming to see our show is probably the only way you are going to see a Pink Floyd concert.”
So how did it all start? Didn’t you ever feel restricted just playing one band’s repertoire?
“I had finished a degree in biochemistry and pharmacology and then I went on and started doing music but that’s when the band started getting serious. I had started doing this music thing as a kind of hobby but then it kind of took over.”
Very Brian May-esque?
“Brian May [guitarist for Queen] was an astrophysicist but yeah I’ve got an interest in science.”
Sorry Jason, pray continue…
“When I joined the band years ago I was just a Pink Floyd fan really and it was an interesting project just to play the music of this great band and that’s how I got into it.
“It’s always nice to play other things but it’s pretty varied in itself and for a musician there are a lot of things to play, so I don’t feel restricted in doing it.”
Sawford and TAPFS have now been around for some time and the Aussie musician certainly got some stories to tell.
“One of the biggest memories I’ve got is when we played in Malta the first time. It was almost a national event and we got escorted from the airport by these big hairy bikers on Harley Davidsons. They escorted our limo to the hotel! I remember seeing we were front-page news.
“Another time, we had to stop a show because some guy in the audience -his wife was in hospital in labor at that particular point. We had to announce that this guy was having to go to hospital because she was having a baby so of course we had a big cheer from the audience and we went back to playing, so that was interesting.”
What venues have stood out for you?
“We’ve done a lot of impressive venues, we’ve done the likes of the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Montreal Bell Centre in Quebec —we played to about 10,000 people there.”
Indeed TAPFS has become rather well acquainted with the larger venues as their success has rocketed.
“During the last ten years it has become basically an arena touring band.
“It is the full Pink Floyd Show.”
It may be too late to see the real thing but The Australian Pink Floyd Show doesn’t sound like a half-bad alternative, not by a long way…
Don’t miss The Australian Pink Floyd Show at Hammersmith Apollo on 24 March.