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Pink Floyd Experience visits Vail Valley

Aaron Butzen
Daily Correspondent
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyThe Pink Floyd Experience comes to the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek on Wednesday.
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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – There are plenty of Pink Floyd tribute bands that are alive and well these days, but none are making quite as big a splash as the Pink Floyd Experience. PFX, which plays in Beaver Creek on Wednesday, started off its current tour at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, which has and continues to host rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest names – the Grateful Dead, Hendrix, the Doors, Zeppelin, the Who … even Pink Floyd itself.

Tom Quinn, bandleader and lead guitarist for the Pink Floyd Experience (the “David Gilmour” of the band), said the energy at the Fillmore was palpable.

“You get weak in the knees and you get the chicken skins just being on stage in a place like that,” Quinn said. “It’s just a magical place.”



Though it’s an impressive feat for a tribute band to play such a legendary venue, if anyone was going to do it, it would be Quinn, who has spent most of his adult life as a student of Floydian musical philosophy.

“When I started playing the guitar in 1973, Dark Side of the Moon just came out, and David Gilmour was the way I experienced everything through music. … He was my mentor as a guitar player,” Quinn said. “When I started my first Pink Floyd band, it was on the West Coast, and we were the first ones ever to do it. For the first six or eight years, we basically paid to play, and nobody else was doing it.”



Now, plenty of other people are doing it, but Quinn said what sets his band apart is their commitment.

“It’s a total commitment to the music. In terms of what sets us apart, we’re definitely in it for all the right reasons,” Quinn said. “I would keep doing it if there was no money in it.”

Although some critics are quick to write off a band that doesn’t play original music, Quinn said playing in PFX can often be more difficult than performing original tunes.



“You write original music, and there’s no other version to compare it to. So the thing is, non-musicians scrutinize this stuff as much as the musicians do,” Quinn said. “So you’d better be on your toes, you’d better be the real deal, or else people will find you out as a fraud. … Floyd fans will bust you for not having the heart, not having the chops, not having the commitment to detail that you need to have in the audio-visual world. … The bar is set very high.”

Luckily for die-hard Pink Floyd fans, PFX has heart, chops and commitment to detail in spades. The show is an immersive audio-visual experience, with high-definition video, moving stage props, a monster light show and a high-quality sound setup that includes speakers in the back of the concert venue – like “giant headphones, Quinn said.

The Pink Floyd Experience works in music from Floyd’s entire catalog, so casual fans and committed listeners (read: those who “get” Syd Barrett) alike should be pleased by the show.

“We try to get something from every particular incarnation and period of Floyd, from the psychedelic to the well-worn FM hits,” Quinn said. “You’re going to hear ‘Money’ and ‘Comfortably Numb,’ but maybe you might hear ‘Childhood’s End’ from the ‘Obscured by Clouds’ album.”

Of course, the six-piece band is top-of-the-line as well.

“The ability to play this stuff inside-out is critical to our success,” Quinn said. “Every night we play it like it’s our last night on stage.”

Aaron Butzen is a freelance writer based in Denver. He can be reached at aaron.butzen@gmail.com.


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