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Going over to the dark side … of the moon

“I remember the first time I heard anything from the album,” says Jean Meilleur of Dark Side of the Moon. “No pun intended, it just sort of hit me like a wall.”

Jean Meilleur and the Jeans ‘n Classics band take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in performances at the Centre in the Square February 19-20.[Submitted]
Jean Meilleur and the Jeans ‘n Classics band take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in performances at the Centre in the Square February 19-20. [Submitted]
Meilleur, who first encountered Pink Floyd’s most famous album in his teenage years, still recalls the effect it had on him. “I don’t really know how to explain it. I remember listening to it and it didn’t sound like anything else. It had more depth to it. Musically, it was so polished and engineered, yet it managed to still have an edge to it, which is something that’s difficult to do in a studio.”

Plenty of others have shared Meilleur’s love of the British rockers – and many more have at least tried synching up Dark Side with The Wizard of Oz like their college roommates told them to. While the band has been apart for almost two decades, Meilleur will be joining Jeans ‘n Classics, the London-based orchestral rock troupe, to revive their best-loved songs at Centre in the Square.

“An Evening of Pink Floyd” has become a regular part of the group’s repertoire, and has given Meilleur a chance to approach the familiar music from a new point of view.

“Youth has a lot to do with it,” he says. “Being a full-fledged teenager and going through teenager stuff, it was written just for me – it was that sort of album. I think it gets more thoughtful as you get older. You tend to listen to it and reflect on your life, and reflect on life in general. And death.”

He continues, “It’s not a depressing, downer situation, but the album is a lot about death, and I think that’s what makes it attractive, because it approaches it in a way that the rock and roll generation can relate to. … If you look at some of the images in it and the lyrics in it about death and growing old and loneliness and all these things that we experience as we get older.”

As with all the artists in Jeans ‘n Classics’ repertoire – Elton John, the Beatles, and David Bowie, just to cite the ones that Meilleur covers – Pink Floyd inspires emotional attachment from its fans. “We all have our own voice as artists when we perform, but especially when we’re doing somebody else’s part, it is a balancing act.

“There’s your own interpretation of what you hear in the music, so obviously you put yourself into it. And you have certain musical landmarks that the artist originally put in it that you must have, so that when people hear it they can relate to it from the point of where they began to enjoy it in the first place.”

How does Pink Floyd compare with other artists?

“With Pink Floyd, I find it’s easier than with the Beatles. With them, people want you to sound like the Beatles, they want you to sound like Paul and John, and when you don’t, they sometimes take offense. I understand that, because the Beatles are so deeply in people’s musical souls.

“With Pink Floyd, I think there’s enough room for interpretation and movement without that sort of judgment because of the nature of the music. It’s more cerebral, it’s more ethereal, and I think it affects people in a different way.”

Speaking of cerebral, ethereal experiences: Has Meilleur ever tried synching up Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz?

“I have seen it,” he laughs. “I was over at a friend’s and he was doing just that, and it’s pretty incredible – it works, absolutely. It works a lot better, perhaps, if you live in Denver or Seattle, if you know what I mean …”

“An Evening of Pink Floyd” takes place at Centre in the Square February 19-20 at 8 p.m. Tickets range are $45-$100, and can be purchased at www.centre-square.com.

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