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The band formed in August 1988 in Adelaide where the music scene was thriving. Lee Smith placed an advert in a music shop: “vocalist and keyboardist required for band. Professional attitude expected. We only play Pink Floyd.” This was before the phrase “tribute band” had even been coined – some bands just enjoyed playing excellent songs by bands they loved.
The ad was answered by Steve Mac and Jason Sawford, who went for auditions. They were a success, and the band became a five-piece, along with exisiting drummer Grant Ross and bassist Trevor Turton. They rehearsed on Saturday afternoons, learning songs such as Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Dogs, Money and Mother. They started experimenting with sound, creating contraptions like a bell machine to recreate the alarms in Time.
Around a month after their first rehearsal they had learned enough tracks to play for an audience, and decided to go under the name Think Floyd. Their first gigs were successful, with people impressed at the attention to detail in their live performances. However, the band took a break after their first taste of success.
In 1992, they reformed but replaced Trevor Turton with Peter Whiteley, who happened to have a very similar voice to Roger Waters. The new lineup decided to do everything “bigger and better”, with lighting, sound production and a quadraphonic sound system. They embarked on a tour in America to raise money to come over to the UK.
Around this time, they decided to change their name to the Australian Pink Floyd Show. The popularity of Neighbours, Crocodile Dundee and Fosters Lager reflected how marketable Australia was in the UK, and they decided to include this in their branding. Their first performances in the UK were a big hit, with Australian Pink Floyd Show tickets selling in droves. Audiences were hugely impressed with their stage presence.
In September 1994, the band had performed in Surrey and David Gilmour came backstage to congratulate them on their show. He invited them to appear at Pink Floyd’s end of tour party at London’s Earl’s Court! This was a real turning point for the band, who were of course ecstatic that they had the seal of approval from the “Voice and Guitar of Pink Floyd”. He also asked them to perform at his 50th birthday party in 1996, which culminated in original members joining the band on stage.
Australian Pink Floyd show ticket sales started to rise as the band toured regularly throughout the UK, and they even played at Glastonbury in 1998. The band have continued to tour regularly, and now they have a huge fan base from old to new Pink Floyd fans. Australian Pink Floyd Show tickets have sold increasingly year on year, and it looks like they’re set to carry on forever!
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