Augusta musician Chip McDonald is ready to go to the Dark Side.
Mr. McDonald is the latest in a line of musicians tapped to bring a favorite album to life as part of the Mission's cover series. His choice is Pink Floyd's wildly popular 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon.
A dense, dark and musically complex piece, Dark Side presents many challenges, requiring a host of musicians to pull off its orchestrated arrangements, Mr. McDonald said. Still if you're going to do Pink Floyd, he said, it's an obvious choice.
"I figured of all the records, I would have the best chance of pulling this off," he said. "I thought getting people to participate, to invest the time, would be easier if I went after the iconic."
A lifelong fan, Mr. McDonald said he was comfortable with the album's space-rock anthems. He said the trick has been incorporating the small sonic cues, single beats or measures of music, that make Dark Side unique.
"It's complicated on a very subtle level, in a way that isn't that obvious," he said. "There are a lot of these very delicate touches that require kid gloves and have been the cause of much mental anxiety. Once you start playing these songs you realize that everyone really has to be on their marks or it will become a train wreck."
The number of performers participating in the project has swelled and contracted sev-eral times, so much so that Mr. McDonald has a hard time keeping track of who's in and who's out.
He said the idea of this sort of collective show has been with him for a long time and that Dark Side seemed a perfect opportunity for his musical friends to march out their respective talents.
"I've always wanted to do something that involved a lot of people," he said. "I wanted to do something, a large production, that really allows these people an opportunity to shine.
"And that's the thing, this is not a paint-by-numbers version of this album. It's an interpretive effort. I want everyone to bring their own style to the effort."
Although Mr. McDonald has no plans to re-create Dark Side note for note, he said that it's still important that the album be treated with respect.
"I want to feel that I have done a version, an interpretation, of this that does it justice," he said. "I want people to walk away believing that we did a respectful version of this record, of this music."
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: Dark Side of the Moon, presented by Chip McDonald
WHEN: 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: The Mission, 1157 Broad St.
COST: Call 722-1233.
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