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Pink Floyd and lasers are a match made in heaven
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17
Where: Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Tickets: $30; 520-7469, pikespeakcenter.com
The producer of the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular didn’t even know who the English rock band Pink Floyd was at first. He also didn’t know anything about lasers. That didn’t stop him.
Steve Monistere was running the Woodlawn Theatre in San Antonio, when a local man approached him about doing a show that combined those two unknowns. It was 1986. Nobody knew anything about lasers yet, and the music of Floyd was nowhere on Monistere’s radar, he says. But he agreed to give it a shot.
It was a hit.
“I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a freak incident,” Monistere says, so they took the show to Houston and Dallas, and it did equally well in those cities.
“I realized this is something people want to see,” he says.
The spectacular exploded into 80 dates a year from 1987 until four or five years ago. That number is down to about half now, he says, due to the decline of the entertainment industry in general, he says. The show will be at the Pikes Peak Center on Sunday.
Pink Floyd is known for their psychedelic, ominous-sounding rock music. On the website allmusic.com, Richie Unterberger wrote: “‘Dark Side of the Moon’ made their brand of cosmic rock even more approachable with state-of-the-art production; more focused songwriting; an army of well-timed stereophonic sound effects and touches of saxophone and soulful female backup vocals.”
Something about that just goes hand in hand with lasers, fog and special effects.
“The music of Floyd works so well with the visuals that we put to them,” Monistere says. “If you didn’t have any lights and lasers and just sat in the dark and listened to the music, you kind of see things anyway. We’re adding to those visuals in your mind.”
It’s like a night at a rock concert, but minus the band, he says. Audience members are given glasses to wear that multiply the laser beams, making one beam look like seven. Fog machines create a murky haze in the theater, all the better to see the laser light show, and three gigantic screens flicker with 60-by-30-foot images. Humanistic and irregular laser shapes are also projected onto the screens throughout the songs.
The first half of the show features their entire 1973 album, “The Dark Side of the Moon.” After intermission, the second half is devoted to the early music of the band and hits from their 1982’s “The Wall.”
“We interpret each song in a different way,” Monistere says. “You’re surrounded by lights and lasers, and most people don’t get to hear Floyd’s music on a 50,000-watt sound system. You’re hearing it so in your face, it’s a concert experience.”
The most bizarre image?
“At the end of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ there’s a song called ‘Brain Damage.’ I developed a storyline about a guy whose head is shaped like a crescent moon, and he’s sitting on the end of a crescent moon drinking.”
Jennifer Mulson may be reached at 636-0270.