Over the years, Pink Floyd gave us memorable concertsPresentations that completely fell out of everything we had seen before. But despite everything, none will be as special as the show they gave in 2005 as part of Live 8, because in addition to being a presentation that humanity had been waiting for years, it was the last time we saw the band’s most popular lineup.
In 1983 and after all the success they had received from The Wall, the band released The Final Cut, a new studio album. However, the frictions that came from the previous sessions were increasingly latent. For this new album, Waters practically worked solo and if it was not enough, had run keyboardist Richard Wright, who by then was a session musician hired by Roger.
Although the album was well received, Gilmour and Mason could no longer cope with the tension of dealing with WatersBecause he felt that he was the only one who could carry Pink Floyd forward, from here everyone took different paths. The worst came in December 1985, when Roger himself announced the separation of the band, saying that the group was an exhausted force.
Those statements for many were taken with the end of the band, Gilmour and Mason began recording a new album in 1986 under the name Pink Floyd. This started a huge legal battle with Waters over the group’s name, claiming that it should have been abandoned when he announced his departure.
But Nick and David claimed that they had the rights to continue with that name arguing that Roger had left by his own decision. In the end and after involving a lot of lawyers, the drummer and guitarist kept the rights to the band, ending with a final separation between them and Waters that lasted a very long time.
During all that time, David Gilmour, Nick Mason –And again next to Richard Wright– released a new Pink Floyd album in 1987, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, which meant the return of the band members to the tours and seven years later came The Division Bell. For his part, Waters began a solo career with albums like The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Radio KAOS and Amused to Death, so a meeting between them was impossible.
In 2005, Bob Geldof –Who had organized the Live Aid 20 years before–, had the idea to put together another charity concert, which he called Live 8. Unlike the previous version, this show was not intended to raise funds as such, but to raise awareness in societies –Especially those who live in countries belonging to the G-8– on the poverty that exists in the world and in one of those, pressuring its rulers to help with this problem.
Just like in Live Aid, Geldof would present simultaneous concerts in different parts of the world, such as London, Paris, Tokyo, Philadelphia, Toronto, Berlin, Moscow, Cornwall, Rome or Johannesburg. Here he also had a dream lineup, with huge bands and artists the size of Paul McCartney, The Who, U2, Elton John, Sting, The Cure, Stevie Wonder, Björk, Pet Shop Boys and more. However, Bob wanted a specific band.
Due to the multiple conflicts that existed between Roger Waters and his former colleagues, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason at the time of the Live Aid, it was impossible for Bob Geldof to have Pink Floyd on the bill. But 20 years later and after having a good friendship with the members – after starring in the film version of The wall-, found the perfect opportunity to try again to reunite the band with a unique performance during the benefit concert.
They say that time heals everything, and after a lot of talks with the members of the band, Geldof did it, although it was not easy. To begin with, he gave them complete control over the duration of the set and the songs they would play, and the latter was the biggest problem among them, since Gilmour did not want to play the world famous ”Another Brick In The Wall Part. II ”and Waters did the same with the songs of Pink Floyd where he did not participate, like all the ones that come on the records A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell.
In the end, Bob Geldof had to step in to pick a setlist that everyone agreed with and above all, they could play in 20 minutes their presentation would last. After many rumors, Pink Floyd was announced – indirectly – as the lead act for Live 8 on July 2, 2005, bringing all the amazing artists that were already confirmed to the background with the reunion of the legendary band.
The day finally came, as night fell in London’s Hyde Park and with Speak To Me background, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and Roger Waters took their places to give us the most watched show of the entire concert. As the audience continued to listen to the sampled heartbeats and sounds of the iconic introduction Dark Side of the Moon, the screams that led us to “Breathe” were heard, where the band sounded like the old days, coordinated like a creative and powerful machine.
After so long waiting, the audience was thrilled when the voices of Gilmour, Wright and Waters came together to sing the powerful phrase “Breathe, breathe in the air”Well, actually that was the presentation of Pink Floyd at Live 8, a breath of fresh air from all the problems in the world, making everyone forget for a moment what was happening around them to give their full attention to one of the most legendary bands in all of history.
After playing the reprise of “Breathe that sounds at the end of” Time and with no time to lose – because they already know that they have the minutes counting – the band continued with “Money”, where David Gilmour made his guitar cry, Waters played spectacularly, and Wright took over the keyboards, while Dick Parry replayed the epic saxophone solo. which he recorded in the studio version.
Little by little the public was remembering the powerful show that Pink Floyd gives live, that unlike previous years, they did not need visuals or stagings to get everyone excited. And without a doubt The moment that gave Chinese skin to most was when the sound of a radio changing stations from “Wish You Were Here” was heard., which finally stopped and many already knew what was to come.
While listening to the acoustic guitar in the introduction, Roger Waters dedicated a few words to the founding member of the band, Syd Barrett: “It is very exciting to be here with these three boys after all these years. Stand to count on the rest of you. Anyway, we do this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd. ”
It was thanks to this song that a communion was finished between each one of the members of the band, all while a pig flew through the sky. As if it wasn’t special enough – and as a symbol of reconciliation – David Gilmour shared the vocals for the song with Waters, as the bassist sang almost the entire second verse., and when I wasn’t in front of the microphone, Roger looked quite enthusiastic, singing loudly.
To end, Pink Floyd did play a song on The Wall, but not the one Waters wanted, one that truly represented the majesty of the moment they were living. Suddenly and without warning, Nick Mason marked the time and everyone started playing “Comfortably Numb”, another part where you can feel that Roger and David work together to present us with one of the most beautiful songs of their entire discography.
With the huge guitar solo by David Gilmour –which is always on the list of the best of all time–, accompanied by ldrums accurate from Nick Mason, Wright’s wonderful harmonies along with Waters’ bass line, And just like the song says, the dream is over for everyone in Hyde Park.
After playing four songs for 24 minutes and with emotions on the surface, Richard Wright, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Gilmour himself said goodbye to the public, merging in a hug and with a smile from ear to ear. Yes, his set had not lasted almost at all (because after so long there was a lack of songs from his extensive discography), but It was long enough to leave us one of the most important presentations in its entire history.
Months passed and a billionaire came up with the great idea of offering him an unthinkable amount for the band to go on a reunion tourHowever, they cared little about money. Unfortunately this was the last concert with the complete lineup, as on September 15, 2008 the great Richard Wright died, completely closing the possibility of seeing Pink Floyd together once again on stage.
After that, we can count on the fingers of one hand the times they have shared the stage again. But despite everything, with just a few minutes of show, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, David Gilmour and Richard Wright demonstrated why they are one of the most important bands in history.
24 minutes was enough for the world to remember how much it was strange to see them live and unfortunately, the sea of people who were in Hyde Park are the only lucky ones who can say they were at the last concert in Pink Floyd’s history.