Wish You Were Here recaptures Pink Floyd spirit
Fans can relive Floyd's music at an upcoming event in Cleveland.
CLEVELAND -- For many Pink Floyd fans in Northeast Ohio, June 25, 1977, is the day when pigs did fly at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
The strongest memories for what was perhaps largely an altered audience are the inflatable pig, the jet plane buzzing the stadium just as the band snuck on stage and the mind-blowing concert that ensued, thus solidifying Pink Floyd's classic rock legacy and its Cleveland legend to a then-world record crowd of 83,233 fans.
To celebrate the illustrious concert, which by the way still exists for some fans as an oft-bootlegged show, Pink Floyd cover band Wish You Were Here is restaging the event Saturday at Scene Pavilion with an exact set list and its own version of hovering pork, but without the dangerous aviation tricks.
"We've always looked for different angles for our shows here in Cleveland, and we thought it would be cool," said bassist/vocalist/bandleader Eric "Eroc" Sosinski, who, when not visiting the "Dark Side of the Moon," can be seen performing live with Michael Stanley's The Resonators. "This will be our biggest concert we've ever done here in town. And I always thought that the 1977 show at Cleveland Stadium, it was pretty much a momentous concert."
One person who remembers the performance fondly is WNCX-FM 98.5 midday disc jockey and program director Bill Louis. "There are certain concerts in one's lifetime that you walk away from feeling somehow changed and that Pink Floyd show at the stadium on the 'Animals' tour was one of those," Louis said. "The show really galvanized the younger Floyd fans at the time because we didn't get a  'Wish You Were Here' show. They played Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. So, this was the grand experience of Floyd fans to come together and coronate their band. It was just remarkable."
In addition to the floating eye candy -- the hovering swine was joined by an inflatable family and a car -- there was the light show, a screen with film footage and a set list of gems -- "Wish You Were Here," "Shine on you Crazy Diamond," "Money" and "Us and Them" -- that acts as the foundation of classic rock radio.
To ensure the accuracy of its set and presentation, the members of Wish You Were Here will be performing some of the same arrangements that Pink Floyd orchestrated during the tour, including extended versions of "Pigs on a Wing, Pt. 2" and "Sheep," as well as having an 8-by-12-foot inflatable pig custom-designed.
"We'll be the only Pink Floyd tribute band to utilize such a thing," Sosinski said proudly.
The timing of the special Wish You Were Here show is germane considering the members of Pink Floyd -- Roger Waters with David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright -- reunited for the first time in 24 years recently for a London performance at the Live 8 charity concert.
"This is the biggest news out of the Floyd camp in years," said Sosinski. "It's something none of us thought would happen. Hell won't freeze over and Roger won't get back with David. But it's just a one-off. I'd be surprised if anything else further happens."
"My sense is that it's more of a goodbye than an extended reunion," Louis said.
Whether or not this reunion blossoms into a full tour remains to be seen. In the meantime, Floyd fans looking to relive history have the opportunity to do so with this upcoming special show.
"Wish You Were Here are ambitious in their presentation, they're good musicians and they have an incredible product," Louis said. "The music is what the people are coming for and they slave to make things as accurate as possible. And going out to buy an inflatable pig is incredible."