“The Dark Side of the Moon,” the eighth studio album by the English rock band Pink Floyd which was released in 1973 by Harvest Records, features songs with themes exploring conflict, greed, the passage of time and mental illness.
It was a commercial and critical success, topping the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week and remaining in the chart from 1973 through 1988. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it’s Pink Floyd’s most successful album and one of the best-selling worldwide.
The Black Jacket Symphony, an ensemble of professional musicians led by musician and former radio personality J. Willoughby, comes to the James A. Little Theater on March 7 to play the entire album as well as some of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits.
“The musicians I pick to be part of the band are in love with the artist’s work they’re performing,” explains Willoughby, who founded The Black Jacket Symphony in 2009. “These guys are so professional. I’ve worked with many of them for years. They know what I expect.”
What Willoughby expects to hear is a band that plays the tunes on “The Dark Side of the Moon” exactly the way Pink Floyd did 45 years ago. He’ll repeatedly listen to the original album to make sure that The Black Jacket Symphony’s live performance is virtually indistinguishable from the 1973 recording.
“We even replicate little mistakes on the original album,” he adds.
The Black Jacket Symphony shows, which also include “Damn the Torpedoes” by Tom Petty, “Back in Black” by AC/DC and “Hotel California” by The Eagles, are often sold-out events. Grandparents attend with their adult children and grandchildren.
“At first, I thought the shows would primarily attract the baby boomers,” Willoughby says. “But there are plenty of teenagers who love this music. I love the fact that we’re drawing multi-generational audiences.”