NOT many tribute acts get the opportunity to perform in front of the originals, let alone play alongside one of its founder members — and especially not at the same time.
However, that was the position Damian Darlington found himself in after Pink Floyd guitarist and songwriter David Gilmour invited Darlington’s tribute act to play for his 50th birthday party, where Darlington’s group were soon joined by another unexpected star guest.
"It was a daunting thing to do, at least initially, but fortunately I warmed up to it fairly quickly," Darlington said.
"By the end of it we played ‘Comfortably Numb’ and Rick Wright got up and quietly asked if he could join in on Hammond and play along, so I’ve been lucky enough to play alongside one of the founder-members of Pink Floyd in front of David Gilmour and Nick Mason."
However, Darlington and his bandmates had already impressed Gilmour, who became Pink Floyd’s main creative force after Roger Waters opted to leave the band in the 1990s.
"David Gilmour had come to see a gig a couple of years earlier at Croydon and out of that gig he’d asked us to play at his birthday party. He wouldn’t have asked us to do that if he didn’t like what we did," Darlington pointed out.
Back then Darlington was a member of internationally successful tribute act the Australian Pink Floyd show, which he joined in 1994, playing close to 1300 shows worldwide, including appearances at The Albert Hall, Wembley and O2 arenas in London.
The band also made a number of appearances at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness where he returns on Thursday with newer tribute act Brit Floyd.
Also helping Darlington, Brit Floyd’s guitarist, singer and musical director, reclaim the band for Britain are a number of other Aussie Pink Floyd graduates such as guitarist and vocalist Bobby Harrison, keyboard players Rob Stringer and Rick Benbow and vocalists Emily Jollands and Amy Smith.
Darlington’s own introduction to the world of Pink Floyd came when he was around 13.
"I listened to ‘The Wall’ all the way through and I was immediately hooked," he said.
Two years later he was playing with his own bands around the clubs and halls of north-west England and though Pink Floyd continues to play a key role in his musical life, it is far from Darlington’s only live outlet.
"I have an acoustic ensemble called Acoustic Unlimited, which is stuff that is not really that much like Floyd," he revealed.
"It’s Celtic music and jazz and classical and people like John McLaughlin and bluegrass groups like Nicklecreek and so on, so there’s all sorts of things going on there.
"I also tour with a thing called the Classic Rock show playing music from the classic rock era such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Steely Dan etc, etc. It’s pretty varied, the music I listen to and will play. Much as I love Pink Floyd, as a musician it’s important to play other sorts of music when you get the opportunity."
• Brit Floyd — The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show, is at the Empire Theatre, Eden Court, on Thursday at 8pm.