There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're sayin'.
If you’re wondering what I’m shooting my wad over, you can watch the entire Pink Floyd set from this site.
I woke up Saturday morning and popped right out of bed, which is unusual for a Saturday. It felt like Christmas morning (circa: 1988) and I knew what was under the tree. I’ve waited 7 years for what I was about to see and one month ago even the most informative insider would’ve easily said that Roger Waters playing with Pink Floyd would never happen. Some people would even say that Pink Floyd would never perform again.
Today, Roger Waters and Pink Floyd were hours away from playing for the first time in 24 years!
I got out of bed and turned on MTV to see the other acts. After about twenty minutes of listening to VJ’s and commercials I figured that AOL would be the only alternative.
Luckily the connection worked and luckily AOL has their shit together because you could watch all seven concerts at one time (if you had 7 browsers/tabs open). You can still watch the concerts at www.aolmusic.com (you don’t even need to register, I don’t think).
I witnessed Annie Lennox sing a great version of Sweet Dreams, I saw the Canadian fans boo the crap out of Celine Dion, and I also watched Dion give the crappiest fake sympathy I have ever seen. It was just like the Saturday Night Live sketch except more exaggerated.
It was great watching the wrap up in Rome at 3pm and the different acts in Paris!
Anyway I was pretty much wallowing in my own feces the whole day by drinking gallons of pop, stuffing my face with Doritos, and chewing my nails because I just couldn’t wait. I was perusing all the message boards I knew of just to read about others in my same position
I had some precooked hamburgers from grilling out at work the other day and immediately knew that I didn’t have any ketchup (or ‘chup, if you will) so I had to wipe myself off and grab some ketchup at home just down the street.
So I came home and my parents thought I was on drugs because my hands were slightly shaking and my lack of eye contact.
“So what are you going to do the rest of the day?” asked my Dad.
“I’m ah, gonna go back to my place and watch live 8” I replied
“Ah, Live 8 huh?” as if he knew what it was (he couldn’t know what it was, he doesn’t know anything in terms of current entertainment).
So I took my ketchup and booked out of there before they started calling the ‘nine line’ or some shit. I came back to The Who being introduced.
And my good god did The Who rock. I had the TV coverage on, but I was listening to the AOL coverage through my headphones, so I could see how/if MTV/VH1 screws up the upper tier acts.
First was “Who Are You” and Townsend was killin on guitar. Roger Daltrey was superb on vocals too! Next was Wont Get Fooled Again and that, whoa THAT was probably the best I have seen all day! These remaining Who band members are definitely holding their own.
So this classic Who song starts and MTV/VH1 decides to cut away…yadda yadda yadda (I ranted about that yesterday)
They only played those two songs but I was starting to worry about how in the living fuck could Pink Floyd top that performance.
Now was the setup break and the AOL camera was showing a long view of all 200,000+ people waiting for the reunion.
I was in the fetal position on the floor holding my neck breaking out in a cold sweat.
I took a piss just to make sure the next 15 minutes wouldn’t be ruined by all the pop I had consumed.
And there I was, staring at a 14” screen wearing headphones on one of the most beautiful days the Twin Cities has seen.
I was rocking back and forth until….
Thum-thump, thum-thump, thum-thump
OOOOOOHHHH HERE WE GO!!!!!
And there they were, Roger Waters with the rest of the members of Pink Floyd. Just the sight was all I needed and they proceeded to play Breathe, a slow melodic tune of interesting lyrics and wavy slide guitar, which is best known as the start of Dark Side of the Moon.
Gilmour’s voice seemed pretty good although it clearly wasn’t what it was back in the 70’s or 80’s
Good overall performance, nothing too great, but good.
Nick Mason did NOT have a backup drummer either!
Next was Money and Nick Mason was slow to start this song off. All the other members were obviously slowed by the error until Mason got his timing back in time for the first verse. This time Gilmour sounded a little better than the previous tune and I was interested in seeing if they would play the whole tune instead of an abbreviated version of Money.
[EDIT: Apon further review, it was Roger Waters who played too fast]
When it came to the solo of money, and the famous change of beat, things became interesting. Gilmour was kicking ass on the guitar going up and down the fret board. Just when solo reached a crescendo everything got turned down about ten notches. You could hear the faint sound of Water’s bass and a couple strums of the guitar. It was quite relaxing and gave the message that ya don’t have to constantly solo the shit out of every song.
Then he went back to the solo and the change in tempo really spiked up the intensity of the song. These guys were playing like 60 year olds with a point to make.
After Money all the band members switched to acoustic guitars for the heartfelt, Wish You Were Here title cut. Waters then acknowledged how emotional it was to play with the three other members.
I never thought I would EVER him (of all people) say something like that.
This version of Wish You Were Here would give the biggest asshole tears. It was beautiful and gave most people shivers. I have never been a fan of such a song, but it seemed all too appropriate on this night.
A lot of people talk about how Waters’ voice is now shot, but it was always shot. Not to mention that many singers sound like shit standing next to David Gilmour, even if he is 59.
After WYWH the band was now comfortable due to the 200,000 + fans cheering them on. Now they were starting the song that should’ve ended the Live 8 concert, Comfortably Numb. The band had never played this song together as a traditional four piece (during The Wall concerts Gilmour would be featured on top of the wall and Waters in a doctor’s lab coat in front of the wall while the others were unseen and behind the wall).
Waters’ sounded a little better during his ‘doctor’ part, but he could’ve been fighting back some man tears in the process. Gilmour shocked me though.
Gilmour’s voice was as good as I have ever heard it. Again, beautiful.
Waters’ loved it too he was stepping around the stage waving his arms! Gilmour even broke from his intense singing to wave and smile to the crowd (he never acknowledges the crowd!) These guys were noticeably having fun (compared to past PF performances).
Then game the first solo, which was stunning. Mason even looked like he was on cloud nine with his actions (he never looked interested in the past!).
Then came the main solo which really gives a great ending to such a great set.
Of course at this point I’m wondering,
‘Gee, I wonder what MTV/VH1’s VJ’s think about this performance’ and lone behold they cut away to the VJ’s going crazy about the song currently playing in the VJ’s background. I had to hold back laughter just so I wouldn’t miss the rest of the song (I was listening to the online, uncut version).
The solo was superb as always and the last shot of Waters’ getting the band together for a group pose was precious. The fans loved it!
Pink Floyd found a way to compete with The Who and any other band that performed at Live 8.
Now came Paul McCartney to try giving the audience something half as good as the previous band.
The energy was totally gone from Hyde Park and even ‘Hey Jude’ at the end was painful. The chanting even seemed to die out in the middle.
Clearly Numb should’ve closed out the show.
The rest of the day I couldn’t figure out what to do. I had a severe Pink Floyd hangover and it was the only day I never felt compelled to leave my apartment.
They totally screwed me up!
Despite the great performance I would say that this show could easily mark the end of Pink Floyd. They came back together, out performed all the popular acts of today, and went out with a bang. I can’t think of a better way to close the Pink Floyd chapter.
Some say that they’ll do something in 2007 making the 40th anniversary of the band, but in two years one of these guys could easily pass. I treated this day as if it were the swan song to my favorite band.
It certainly could be too.