Originally Published: August 22, 2014 6 a.m.
While famous British rock band Pink Floyd may have dissolved, the ensemble's music lives on as the audience will find out Saturday when the Empty Spaces band out of Flagstaff plays at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center.
And, if it were not for a serendipitous meeting of musicians not many years ago, Prescott Pink Floyd fans may have missed out.
In a way, the story begins with musician Ken Cunningham, who left music for 20 years to pursue a career in business.
When he moved to Sedona in 1998, "I picked my music back up," he said, joining an improv group that needed his talent as a guitarist. Cunningham began plucking the strings of the instrument as a teenager in the 1970s, playing "all the usual stuff," he said.
Some years later, Cunningham came to know Les Thurman, who had been performing Pink Floyd melodies on his own.
They put their heads together to figure out what Pink Floyd songs they could play and decided to play the entire Pink Floyd catalogue, Cunningham said. "And, that's what we have been doing ever since," over the past two and a half years, he said. Saturday's show will be the second Empty Spaces has done for the TAD Management producers.
The performance begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22/$25 through the Elks box office at 777-1370 or going online to prescottelkstheater.com. Tickets will be available at the door one hour before showtime.
The band's multi-instrumentalists include Thurmond, Cunningham, Kenny Delgado, Joe McIntyre, Frank Santorelli, Andy Greider, Ceta Singley, DanicaSierra and Mary Hoxer.
"We try to hit true to form," Cunningham said of Empty Spaces' tribute show to Pink Floyd. In getting to know all about the legendary ensemble, Empty Spaces band members researched the equipment Pink Floyd used, for example.
Empty Spaces musicians have immersed themselves in three and a half hours of Pink Floyd songs and will perform a two-hour show of the favorites on Saturday, specifically tunes from "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall."
"Empty Spaces" is a song on Pink Floyd's "The Wall," which was released n 1979. At the time, B Conrad of TAD Management was promotion manager for Columbia Records and was part of the team responsible for promotion of "The Wall," he said.
"'The Wall' was commercially successful upon its release and was one of the best selling albums of 1980, and by 1999 it had sold over 23 million units," Conrad said. "Rolling Stone magazine placed 'The Wall' at number 87 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time," he said. "It's hard to describe what it was like to be part of something that huge. Here we are decades later, and I'm still in the business of helping to bring the music of Pink Floyd to the market and, in this particular case, it's performed by an incredible tribute band, Empty Spaces.
"We discovered that there are so many people out there who know the music," Cunningham said Empty Spaces enjoys the Pink Floyd's "change in styles - jazz, classic rock, opera - and the emotion" that made the legendary Brit band unique.
- Story by Karen Despain, The Daily Courier