The Last Pink Floyd Reunion Ever: 7 Years Ago Today
It’s a sad thing to contemplate, but it is an unavoidable truth: Pink Floyd will never play together again. Seven years ago today, the classic Pink Floyd quartet – David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason – played together one last time. It was the first time they played together in 24 years. Sadly, Richard Wright (original keyboard player, songwriter, and vocalist) died in 2008, so a true Pink Floyd reunion can’t happen again. Luckily for us, their final 23 minute appearance was nothing less than magical.
The occasion was Live 8, a series of 10 concerts across the world on July 2, 2005. The concerts were put on by Bob Geldof, who organized Live Aid in 1985, and were intended to align with the G8 summit that year. The idea was to draw attention to global poverty and get people involved, based on the United Kingdom’s Make Poverty History campaign. I honestly don’t know how successful the endeavor was. I do know that most people I ask about Live 8 have no idea what it was, when it was, or why it was.
But Gilmour, Waters, Wright and Mason knew what it was for, and they wanted to throw their weight behind this anti-poverty effort. Collectively, they thought it was an important enough issue that they were willing to do something they hadn’t done in 24 years: play together in front of a live audience. And, oh, what an audience it was! Thousands and thousands of Brits watching one of the biggest bands to ever come out of England, drinking in every second of it. Even Waters seemed to get the import of it when he 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 everybody that’s not here, and particularly, of course, for Syd.”
The result is, arguably, among the most important 23 minutes in rock and roll history. For me, it was like a WLAV rock block (WLAV was the radio station I grew up listening to in the 80s). Four of the best known, most important, and most well crafted songs from Pink Floyd. Songs that got regular airplay in my formative musical years. They start with “Speak To Me/Breathe”, followed by “Money”, “Wish You Were Here”, and a mind blowing “Comfortably Numb”. All these songs hold such memory for me. “Wish You Were Here” was the first song I learned to play on guitar pretty much completely when I was a teenager.
I love watching David Gilmour in this video, too. He has aged the best of the four. In the early stages of balding, with close cropped hair, your attention is drawn to his face. In particular, those piercing blue eyes and that furrowed brow when he sings. Even though it’s probably the 10,000 time he’s sang these songs in front of an audience, he attacks the lyrics like they’re brand new, and infused with deep meaning. I find him mesmerizing to watch.
Pay special attention to their performance of “Comfortably Numb”. It is the strongest, video-captured performance of the song I’ve seen. Seven minutes of awesome. Those last two and a half minutes, built around a Gilmour solo that is well known to almost anyone growing up from the late 70s to at least the mid 90s, build in a rock n roll frenzy to that last note, that last chord that brings “Comfortably Numb” to a close. This time, it also marked the close of a bright, shining chapter in rock and roll history. The last time Pink Floyd played for you and me. Let’s keep remembering it.