The Machine has played a lot of different kinds of shows in 20 years of being a Pink Floyd tribute band, from clubs to the main stage of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.
But the New York-based group has never played with an orchestra — until this weekend, when it joins the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for a program that will include the landmark “Dark Side of the Moon” album in its entirety.
“We figured, ‘Why not?,’ ” says singerguitarist Joe Pascarell,
who formed The Machine (whose name comes from the Pink Floyd song “Welcome to the Machine”) in 1987 with drummer Todd Cohen. “I’m not comparing Pink Floyd to Mozart by any stretch, but I think there’s a similar quality there.
“There’s a reason why people pay money to hear Mozart’s music 200 years later; it’s a quality product that, as each new generation discovers it, it enjoys listening to it. The same thing happens with Pink Floyd. And it has a symphonic quality to it, as well.”
Pascarell, 45, says The Machine has spent six months working on orchestrations with Maxim Moston (from the New York group Antony & the Johnsons) and U2 arranger Nico Muhly. And if the DSO experience goes well, he figures it will open new opportunities for The Machine’s performances in the future.
“It’s always funny to me, ’cause we didn’t start this like, ‘We want to be a Pink Floyd band,’ ” Pascarell says. “That was never the intention. We used to do some (Pink Floyd) songs in our sets and an agent heard about us and approached us with the idea. We were so excited about the prospect of being able to play a lot that we didn’t think much about it.
“And here we are 20 years later, still doing it — nothing we ever would have expected.”
The Machine performs with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Saturday (July 7th) at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $23.50-$58.50. Call (313) 576-5111 or visit www. detroitsymphony.com.
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