On March 4, the band The Professors will perform a collection of Pink Floyd songs in the Bottle Hill Room. For Professor of Communication Studies and lead guitarist Gary Radford, however, the show will be less of a cover performance and more of a musical biography.
Pink Floyd has been an important musical influence in Radford’s life since he first purchased the band’s “Animals” album as a teenager in 1977. The band introduced Radford to the idea of the “concept album.”
“Up until that point, all of the music I listened to was Top 40 singles on the radio,” said Radford. “The idea that songs could be connected by bigger themes was a revelation.”
Radford said that Pink Floyd’s lyrics, which addressed deeper issues like mental illness and the futility of time, combined with sound effects of farm animals and banging clocks, soon replaced the “mainstream” music in his life.
“It is not that Floyd music is intrinsically good,” said Radford. “This is not what drew me to it. Rather, Pink Floyd was able to connect with my life in different ways. It helped me establish relationships with my friends, it was ‘cool,’ it seemed to speak to feelings and events in my life at the time.”
For Radford, Pink Floyd’s final London performance of “The Wall” in 1980 was the most influential live music experience of his life.
“‘The Wall’ is perhaps the ultimate concept album,” said Radford. “‘The Wall’ show is perhaps the ultimate concept performance. There has been nothing like it since, and I always feel proud when I tell my students I saw the original Wall concert.”
Reflecting the attitude and message of Pink Floyd’s music, The Professors’ FDU performance will have a concept album feel to it.
While the group plans to play classics such as “The Wall,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Dark Side of the Moon,” they will also perform the earlier hits that originally attracted a young Radford so that students and faculty in attendance will be able to get the complete Floyd experience.
“We have arranged the songs thematically,” Radford said. “We hope to create a sense of narrative that so marks a Pink Floyd show of old.”
Radford performs in The Professors with his daughter, Meg, his wife, Marie, Peter VanEmburg, Nick Romanenko and Jennifer Zahorbenski.
The performance, “From the Piper at the Gates of Dawn to The Final Cut: The Music of Pink Floyd,” will begin at 8 p.m. There will be no charge for admission, and refreshments will be available.
Visit The Professors on the web at www.theprofessors.net.