After 24 years Roger Water, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright reunited to play on July 2nd for London´s Live 8 concert.
Live 8 was a series of benefit concerts joining the voices of many celebrities supporters to obtain promises from world leaders regarding financial aid, debt cancellation and the fight against AIDS in Africa. It was organized and hosted by Bob Geldof who also organized Band Aid (A rock group formed by British and Irish musicians to raise money in the fight against poverty in Ethiopia.) Live 8 had the presence of many of the acts that also played on Band Aid.
Live 8 consisted of 10 simultaneous concerts on July 2nd and one on July 6th. The concerts were broadcast on 182 networks worldwide and 2.000 radio networks. More than 1.000 musicians performed in the concerts, including: in Hyde Park: an Overture by Paul McCartney with U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper´s Lonely Hearts Club Band“, U2, Coldplay, Dido, Stereophonics, Ricky Gervais, R.E.M., Keane, Will Smith was a presenter in Philadelphia, Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Sarah McLachlan, Jay-Z and P. Diddy; in Paris with Jamiroquai, Placebo and Andrea Bocelli; in Berlin with Lauryn Hill, Brian Wilson and Crosby, Stills & Nash; and in Rome with Duran Duran, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. A sixth concert featuring Annie Lennox, Dido and Travis, Jamiroquiai, Annie Lennox, UB40, The Killers, Joss Stone, an emotional performance of Like A Prayer by Madonna as a follow up to the story of a survival of the hunger crisis in Ethiopia (who survived thanks to help from Band Aid), Robbie Williams, The Who, Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney.
And although McCartney was the closing and opening act, the reunion everyone was waiting for was Pink Floyd´s first gig together in more than two decades.
PINK FLOYD – LIVE 8 PERFORMANCE
A dream came true for many music fans that night. Pigs flew again! (this time causing no trouble as on previous occasions). The news of the reunion was given on June 12th, 2005 and the entire world went into an anxiety crisis waiting to hear them. I am pretty sure I am not exaggerating there.
David Gilmour was quoted as saying: “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 reforming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.”
Like all the acts, they could only play for 20 minutes, and the delivered extraordinary renditions of the songs: “Speak to me/ Breathe,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Money,” and “Comfortably Numb.” You can see they are enjoying the gig and the moment, and it is very touching just before “Wish You Were Here”starts when Waters says:
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.
It was a fantastic 20 minutes in the history of the world. The context of the concert, knowing there were 9 more simultaneous concerts in different parts of the world, musicians, artists and regular people recognizing there are bigger things than themselves and a band quarrel, coming together for a greater good…and delivering that sound and that energy and mood that only Pink Floyd could…to think that only 3 years later, Richard Wright would die and turn this into the last time the quartet played together is sad and gives it another depth also. 20 minutes of a show that will never come again but that can never be erased.