If you peek inside the Tonne Playhouse at the Largo Cultural Center between now and Friday, you just might see Mark Warren and his band, the Vodkanauts, putting the final touches on their show, the 30th Anniversary of Pink Floyd's The Wall.
"We're all pretty stoked. We get to pretend we're Pink Floyd all week,'' Warren joked.
The program, a fundraiser for WMNF-FM 88.5, will include a live performance of the best-selling double album The Wall. The evening also will have a stadium-style light show with multicolored, video backdrops.
WMNF is a 70,000-watt noncommercial, listener-supported community radio station based in Tampa.
Along with the Tampa-based Vodkanauts giving their interpretation of The Wall, Rebekah Pulley and the Reluctant Prophets and Rubix Cubed are also scheduled to present renditions of Pink Floyd music.
The project started several months ago when Rob Mondora, artistic supervisor for the Largo Cultural Center, invited Randy Wynne, WMNF's program director, and Lee Courtney, the station's music director, to check out his venue's offerings.
Courtney had been toying with an idea to hold a tribute to Pink Floyd for quite some time.
"We've done a lot of tribute events outside, but to do this kind of tribute to Pink Floyd, we needed to do it indoors," he said. "It's not a body rocking album, it's a thinking album. You use your head. You need to sit.''
Before heading to work one Monday morning, Wynne and Courtney headed over to Largo to meet with Mondora. They checked on seating and lights. They studied the sound system with its amplifiers, speakers and Midas mixing console.
"I had never been inside (the center) before,'' said Courtney. "We both realized it would be a great place to hold a show.''
It was 30 years ago, on Nov. 30, 1979, that Pink Floyd, released The Wall with songs including Hey You, Another Brick in the Wall and Comfortably Numb. It's based on the life struggles of Pink Floyd's bassist and lyricist Roger Waters.
Selling more than 23 million copies to become one of the top selling albums of all time, The Wall also is remembered for the concert tour, with its dramatic effects, as well as for its film adaptation, Pink Floyd: The Wall.
According to Courtney, the major Pink Floyd aficionado on board is Warren.
"He's been bugging me to do a tribute to Pink Floyd for quite some time,'' Courtney said.
What cemented The Wall in rock history?
“Pink Floyd was not afraid of grand gestures,'' Warren said. "The Wall is about space between the musical notes. They moved slow, and there's time for your mind to explore the sound.''
The theme is also timeless, said Warren, who attributes his taste in music to his European mother, who listened to Mozart and gave her son piano lessons when he was in second grade.
"On top of the great melodies, enough of the story line is spelled out in the lyrics," he said. "It was definitely a psychoanalysis session for Roger Waters, from his father dying in the war to his issues with fame, but you can take the words to another level and read your own experiences into the story.''