When Pigs Fly…Pigs Have Flown!
July 2, 2005: Live 8
On 2 July 2005 Pink Floyd performed at the London Live 8 concert with Roger Waters rejoining David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. It was the quartet’s first performance together in over 24 years — the band’s last show with Waters was at Earls Court in London on 17 June 1981.
Gilmour announced the Live 8 reunion on 12 June 2005:
|“||Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world. It’s crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.||”|
The band’s set consisted of “Speak to Me/Breathe/Breathe (Reprise)“, “Money“, “Wish You Were Here“, and “Comfortably Numb“. As on the original recordings, Gilmour sang the lead vocals on “Breathe” and “Money”, and shared them with Waters on “Comfortably Numb”. For “Wish You Were Here”, Waters sung half of the verse’s lyrics, unlike the original recording. When Waters was not singing, he was often enthusiastically mouthing the lyrics off-microphone. During the guitar introduction of “Wish You Were Here”, Waters said:
|“||It’s actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we’re doing this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.||”|
They were augmented by guitarist/bassist Tim Renwick (guitarist on Roger Waters’ 1984 solo tour, who has since become Pink Floyd’s backing guitarist on stage); keyboardist/lap steel guitarist/backup vocalist Jon Carin (Pink Floyd’s backing keyboardist from 1987 onward who performed on the 1999–2000 North American leg of Waters’ “In the Flesh” tour, his 2006–2008 “Dark Side of the Moon Live” tour, his 2010–2011 “The Wall” tour and David Gilmour‘s 2006 On an Island tour); saxophonist Dick Parry during “Money” (who played on the original recordings of “Money”, “Us and Them“, and “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”); and backing singer Carol Kenyon during “Comfortably Numb”. During “Breathe”, on the screen behind them, film of the iconic pig from the Animals album was shown flying over Battersea Power Station (itself visible on the horizon in television broadcasts of the performance), and during “Money”, a shot of The Dark Side of the Moon record being played was shown. During “Comfortably Numb”, the three giant screens showed the Pink Floyd Wall (from the cover of The Wall), and during the final guitar solo, the words “Make Poverty History” were written on the wall.
At the end, after the last song had been played, Gilmour said “thank you very much, good night” and started to walk off the stage. Waters called him back, however, and the band shared a group hug that became one of the most famous pictures of Live 8. As they proceeded to walk off, Nick Mason threw his drumsticks into the audience. With Wright’s subsequent death, in September 2008, this was to be the final concert to feature all four bandmates playing together.
RIP Syd Barrett and Richard Wright!
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