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Authentically Pink Floyd at Strathmore


Anyone who has ever worn out the grooves on Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" and imagined hearing the songs performed live will want to know about Classic Albums Live, a musical phenomenon that returns to Strathmore on Friday night.

Craig Martin, owner of Classic Albums Live and the producer of numerous shows, handpicks from his file of musicians the configuration that will come as close as possible to authenticating the sound of an original band and one of its classic recordings.

"I was driven by the need to bring this music to as many people as possible; to do it note-for-note, cut-for-cut, and without all the sales and gimmicks," said Martin, of the Toronto-based company he assembled in 2003. "I thought we were starting something new and respecting the music, so my mandate was always 'I don't care what it looks like -- I don't care about anything but to play it like the record.' "

Ironically, the show presented on Friday, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," is Classic Albums' flagship show and a recreation of the legendary band's 1973 masterpiece album, with hits like "Money," "Wish You Were Here" and "Us and Them."

Classic Albums Live: Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon'
Where: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Info: $28 to $38; 301-581-5100; strathmore.org

"The first time we did this show was 10 years ago, and none of us knew what we were doing; the only thing we knew was how to play it note-for-note, [and] that's all we had going for us." Martin recalled. "The rest was up for grabs; how the show would be sold and marketed, how much money we'd be making and how we were going to get to the gig. We had to figure all that out. But the first time we did the show, I remember thinking my life was about to change."

Now, a decade later and with many Classic Albums Live shows, including seminal works by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and the Eagles, going on simultaneously throughout Canada and America, Martin's commitment to the music is paramount.

"More than anything else, it's about authenticity," he asserted, "not in the singing so much, but in playing the music exactly as it was recorded. There's almost an undefined quality to some of the musicians' performances that ignites something in us -- the spirit; I can't even put it into words. It's absolutely about authenticity."