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Pink Floyd tribute at Englert

BY RYAN FOSMARK | OCTOBER 08, 2009 7:20 AM

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UI Homecoming is about more than football and festivities. People come back to Iowa City to experience the scenery of their pasts, live a bit of the lives they used to know, and reacquaint themselves with the town, and thanks to the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., they will also be able to sing along to their favorite oldies.

The 97-year-old Iowa City landmark will host its own musical homecoming, inviting the psychedelic sounds of yesteryear’s Pink Floyd via present-day tribute band, Eclipse.

Englert CEO Sean Fredericks said Eclipse will provide a nice alternative to the other events downtown on Friday night. The show will start at 10 p.m. The $5 cost of admission was set to make the show as accessible as possible.

“Pink Floyd’s music is kind of timeless — it appeals to people of all ages,” he said. “You’ll see Pink Floyd T-shirts on freshmen in college and on 60-year-old former hippies.”

Eclipse’s guitarist/ vocalist Tod Weidner found the sonics and lyrics of Pink Floyd absolutely captivating in his younger days.

“I’ve listened to Pink Floyd since I was old enough to tune a radio,” Weidner wrote in an e-mail. “It’s an excellent group for disaffected teens to latch onto; all that dark goodness, or good darkness, is something most adolescents can relate to.”

Audience enthusiasm has soared beyond the Nashville-based band members’ wildest expectations.

One man flew from Belgium to Florida in order to see Eclipse. Weidner attributed this interest to the passion the seven musicians have for the music they play.

“You can’t fake enjoyment of playing — the crowd always knows,” he wrote. “We’re passionate in our performances, because each of us in the band had the same connection with Floyd growing up that I did.”

Like all cover bands, though, Eclipse must fight an uphill battle.

“We’re aware of the tribute-band stereotype — all the fat guys in Elvis suits and what not, the cheese factor,” Weidner wrote. “And that skepticism can be hard for the public to overcome. All we can do is give them a show they will never forget. Ultimately, that’s all we have control over.”

Well, not entirely. There is always the chance that someone in the audience may black out and not remember a moment of the night, especially considering Pink Floyd’s reputation in the drug culture.

“It’s true that the music of Pink Floyd does have a reputation for ‘druggy’ music, and we would be kidding ourselves if we tried to put forth the notion that every member of our audience is sober as a judge at our shows,” Weidner wrote. “We, as a band, neither condemn nor condone the use of, shall we say, ‘less-authorized’ substances. We just want our audience to be careful, have a great time, and come back and see us again. Is that innocuous enough?”

All seven members are involved in other musical projects of various sorts, ranging from gothic world beat to classical opera. However, the psychedelic nostalgia of Pink Floyd’s tunes brought them all together.

“We’re all used to having to get up there and sell our material to the audience,” Weidner wrote.

“We’re doing the same thing in Eclipse, just with music from a band that means a lot to us.”


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