After getting his first guitar for Christmas at just 11 years old, Damian Darlington never imagined he would one day find himself following in the footsteps of one of the greatest bands to ever reach the dark side of the moon.
As musical director, guitarist and vocalist for Brit Floyd — The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Tribute Show — Darlington has gone from growing up in Middlesbrough, England, to travelling the world, playing some of the most iconic music of his generation.
But long before the spotlight and packed stadiums, it all started with a little album called, The Wall.
“It’s still my favourite, and it was definitely my introduction to Pink Floyd,” he said. “It was the first one I heard when I was 13-years-old, and it sort of captivated me and drew me into the world of Pink Floyd, which led me to discover all the other amazing albums they had produced at that stage.”
It wasn’t long before Darlington was performing in pubs and clubs all over the North West of England, playing all sorts of music — even a little country and western for good measure, thanks to dad.
In 1994, after performing with several original bands over the years, the young musician soon found himself auditioning for the Australian Pink Floyd show.
“It was really just a chance opportunity that came my way originally,” he said. “It was just one of those things . . . I heard they were looking for a new guitarist and I went for an audition. I was already certainly a fan of Pink Floyd, and had been since I was a young teenager, so I had a head start on all of the songs because I had been playing them for some years when I was learning to play the guitar, so it was a natural fit for me.”
Darlington would go on to perform close to 1,300 shows over 17 years with band, playing arenas like London’s Wembley Stadium and the Bell Centre in Montreal.
By 2010, Darlington had formed Brit Floyd, who played their first gig in Liverpool just a year later.
And the music hasn’t stopped since — not when there’s so many fans out there.
“There are just so many ingredients that come together to create this music, so it’s still relevant today and still fascinating to people,” said Darlington. “Some fans, they’ll tell you stories about how they saw Floyd in ’73 or ’77, but an appreciation of this music is also coming down the generations as there’s plenty of young people who come along to the show as well.”
Now, having played to over one million fans around the world, the band is still going strong with their latest tour, Brit Floyd — Space and Time CONTINUUM, which features a new million-dollar light show and state-of-the-art video design, not to mention an even larger stage production.
Creating that kind of spectacle is an important component for Darlington, who explained replicating each nuance of every moment, both musically and visually, is incredibly important in order to give fans a truly authentic experience.
“Pink Floyd were famous for their visual shows, alongside the music, and they were very much pioneering all these things we take for granted these days in concerts,” he said. “They were always pushing the boundaries, so (every part of the performance) is a very important component to putting on a proper Pink Floyd show, so it’s a feast for all the senses.”
Floydian fans of the Forest City will get their chance to experience the fully immersive sound and light experience on March 21, at the RBC Theatre, Budweiser Gardens.
It’s a show Darlington can’t help but look forward to.
“It’s always funny from my perspective to get up on stage and say it’s great to be back in London, as well,” he said with a laugh. “But honestly, I never get bored with playing the music; I still love it, enjoy playing it, and appreciate it. They key is to be performing it in front of an audience . . . feeding off their appreciation for what you’re doing. It’s been a soundtrack to so many peoples’ lives, along with a lot of other great classic music from that period. There’s definitely something special about it.”