Most everyone seems to have gone through a Pink Floyd phase. The Wall is one of those incredible albums with universal appeal, if not for the music then for the way Pink Floyd created something truly groundbreaking. Likewise, the movie aimed to go where no other music-inspired film had gone before, and while it left the band unsatisfied, it justifiably became a cult hit. Add an unprecedented stadium show, and it’s pretty clear how Pink Floyd really made its impression on the generation growing up during the 1980s.
Of course, I wasn’t one of those people. I listened to the album, the show never made it to Maui and I never got to watch the movie until at least a decade after its release. But I will be there to see Murray Thorne’s solo acoustic version of that music, complete with theatrical lighting by Epic Lighting and an original, accompanying film by Thorne, all showing at Stella Blues on Thursday and Friday.
The show is more than a tribute to The Wall. In fact, Thorne says he doesn’t want you to think of it as a tribute show.
“I decided to play solo to further my challenge,” he says. “It has pushed my boundaries of selection. I thought, ‘How do I play the trial?’ If I would’ve put together a band, then it would’ve really been a tribute more than my own interpretation. Pink Floyd’s sound is so unique that I’m not trying to copy it.”
The concept for the show was born out of Pink chemistry between Thorne and Keith Langlois that first appeared when they were working on the 2011 Zeptember show at Mulligan’s on the Blue. Langlois’ company Epic Lighting has been creating theatrical lighting environments on the island, and Thorne is a well-known musician on Maui, both as a solo artist and as the front man for the Celtic Tigers. Together they make up some of the island’s biggest Floyd aficionados. Later, they teamed up with Scott Johnson of Dogtowne Designs to plan “In the Flesh,” which has been in the works for the last nine months or so.
“I would always throw in a Floyd song or two, and The Wall was always a favorite,” Thorne says. “One night that was really dead while I was playing solo I did a complete set of Pink Floyd. Creating this show is an exhibition of Floyd, with all the bells and whistles. I never had the means, but with this joint effort I feel so lucky to be doing this.”
The show itself promises to be so compelling that you don’t even need to be a Floyd fan. The boys are creating one of the most interactive, visually exploratory and theatrical shows Maui has seen. Langois’ talents precede him, having worked on the touring arena circuit with various celebrity acts.
“Keith Langois can spin the room with his lights,” says Johnson. “Epic is also a green lighting company, using LED lights, which brings it to a new level. You can literally put lights anywhere. Keith is a composer on the light board. His instrument in this performance is the light board.”
In the Flesh will have 360 degrees of concert lighting that will surround the audience, creating a more interactive surrounding that’s comparable to the stadium shows The Wall was known for. The private setting at Stella Blues has allowed the team a controlled environment to pour the show into your senses. Thorne created the original video that will be projected during the show.
“At first I thought I would have someone do the video, but then I realized the whole thing was in my head!” says Thorne. “I had to learn Final Cut, find the images I wanted, incorporate old film footage. It’s my story of Pink, song by song. The war story is a big part of it.”
The team brought in Bennett Yashon from Event Horizons to project the film onto the large screen. Adding another dimension is the Stella Blues dinner theater itself: three fabulous courses served while violin virtuoso Wenlu Duffy warms up the crowd. For those catching the show only, a prime intermission menu will be available, too.
“There haven’t been any corners cut in creating this show,” says Johnson. “We sacrificed nothing. The video is spot on. I can’t wait to see the audience react to it. We are all really happy with what we have put together. It’s going to go right up to Wednesday night with ‘How can we make this incredible?’ People will walk away with their minds blown, thinking we’ve never seen anything like this.”
The Wall sold more than 11.5 million albums in the US as of 1999 and was one of the best selling albums in 1980. Released in November 1980, it spent 15 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. Rolling Stone named the album number 87 in its list of the top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
But Pink Floyd nearly imploded after the album, huge stadium shows and movie became such a phenomenon of the ‘80s. In fact, after Roger Waters and Richard Wright left the band in the mid-80s, it took more than two decades for them to perform together on stage again.
The contribution Pink Floyd’s The Wall gave the music world may have been at the expense of the artists involved, but those making “In the Flesh” hope to show a new inspiration and interpretation of the classic.
“It’s a personal story we can all relate to,” says Thorne. “We all build our wall around ourselves. That’s the message. Especially in this internet generation we really do it tenfold. We don’t even have to see each other in this digital world, and the war theme from the 80s remains important and significant to this day.”
Tickets are available for both nights by calling Stella Blues at 808-874-3779. You can purchase tickets for the dinner show that starts at 6pm for $60 or for the show only at 7 pm for $30. Check Facebook.com and search for “In the Flesh” for more intimate details.