Pink Floyd Colin Singh Vic Holder

The Music Of Pink Floyd 1992 – 2017

Back in 1992, Cairns audiences were treated to a night of musical magic, the likes of which had not previously been seen in Cairns. Cameron McCallum brought together a 27 piece band consisting of the cream of local bands at the time that drew on each member’s strengths, to put on a production of “The Music of Pink Floyd”

The Music of Pink Floyd was originally staged to a sold out house at The Cairns Civic Theatre, and went on to sell it out again in 1994. The show has become folklore in local music circles, (I am sure more people have told me they were at the first show than the 650 capacity Civic theatre could hold!). With lighting design by Peter Hassell the production was way ahead of it’s time. A VHS video was aledgedly shown to Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmore by his Australian housekeeper, and subsequently given the thumbs up.

The production was staged a few times with the lineup of artists changing slightly each time. Apart from the 1992 and 1994 Civic Theatre shows, there was also one staged in Munro Martin Park in front of a few thousand people and one to a full house at Johnos Blues Bar as a fundraiser for BarflyPink Floyd Cameron and Niki Magazine (Barfly Editor Tony Hiller was a vocalist in the show). Your writer was fortunate enough to be a guitarist in every incarnation of The Music Of Pink Floyd. Some of the other Guitar players involved include Reuben Axientiff, Ric Montgomery, Vic Holder, Ian Lewarissa and Johnny Burke. Many of the names in the original show are not based in Cairns anymore, and some have indeed shuffled off this mortal coil (RIP Pedro and Peter Skinner). However, some such as myself, Niki Doll (her version of “Great Gig In the Sky” was unbelievable) Ric Montgomery, Joe Vizzone and Ian Lewarissa are still playing around town to this day. Other notable musicians in the original show include Colin Singh, Dave Alcon, Dennis Rose, Carmal McKay, Jo O’Conor, Bluey Morgan, Jon Moy, Peter Obrien, Murray Barnes and many more that made big contributions to the show (apologies if your name was left out!).

Initially, Cameron’s lofty dream of putting together a 27 piece band Bricks In the Wallto play Pink Floyd covers was met with much scepticism (including some from your writer and Pedro, the Keyboard player in my band at the time). Nonetheless, both Pedro and I went on to become members of the show after seeing how much Cam had his stuff together at the first rehearsal, and the caliber of other musicians involved.

Around 1999 Cameron decided to leave Cairns, take a break from music, and move to Melbourne. He was not heard from in Cairns for many years.

I was more than a little surprised to get a phone call from Cam a few months back saying he was back in Cairns for a visit and wanted to come around for a chat. After a bit of a catch up on our band days Cam let it drop that in 2017, it will be the 25th anniversary of the 1992 show and he is indeed “Getting the band back together” to celebrate the occasion.

The new production will feature a handful of people from the original show, but in the true spirit of the original show, will also feature a generous helping of people from the current local scene. Cam will be visiting Cairns more frequently over the next year, and will be living in Cairns for rehearsals 6 months leading up to the 2017 show. Cameron is still scouting for a suitable venue that can hold at least 700 people, and is keeping a careful eye on the local music scene for people to play parts in certain songs.

The show at the time was a big boost to the local music scene. Several bands and collaborations happened out of having members from so many different bands all playing together in the one show. Indeed, After the 94 show, Cameron and Floyd show drummer Jon Moy went on to become the Rhythm Section in my band Crawling King Snake! The show contained members from both original and cover bands, and genres including Rock, Country, Jazz, folk and cabaret. Life long friends were made by many members of the cast, and without exception all members cherish their time playing in the show.

It’s happening again, it’s going to be huge, and if you get a tap on the shoulder from Cam McCallum – take him seriously, it could be a game changer for you!

Todd Macalpine

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