YouTube Live: Pink Floyd “comfortably numb” at Live 8

There are those that say classics never die – and they probably figured right when The Rolling Stones were still making albums in the 2000s (no Keith and cockroach cracks, please).

Sadly, the one band I wish had stuck around did not.

Pink Floyd ended officially in 1994, but prior to that Roger Waters gained an activist’s ego akin to Bono and Syd Barrett became a drug-induced hermit (RIP).  Minus the aforementioned two, Gilmour, Wright, and Mason continued on in the new incarnation of Floydian bliss until they finally disbanded.  Gilmour and Waters began solo careers amidst all of this, each accompanied coincidentally by Wright and Mason respectively.

Then, in July of 2005, Bob Geldof – who ironically played the part of Pink in The Wall’s film production – organized Live 8, a world-wide charity concert event set to coincide with the G8 summit.  The idea is essentially to end poverty and hunger, or at the very least subdue it as best they could.  A slew of artists performed their free sets everywhere – from Will Smith in Philadelphia to Renee Olstead in Berlin – but England got the surprise of a lifetime when Wright, Mason, Waters, and Gilmour somewhat buried the hatchet and performed together as Pink Floyd for the first time in 24 years.

Their setlist was comprised of “Speak to Me”/”Breathe/Breathe (Reprise)”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here”, and “Comfortably Numb”.

I am aware that the idea of YouTube Live is to critique or herald a live performance that is linked on the infamous viral video site, so I bring to you the final song the aforementioned listing – “Comfortably Numb”.

Sue me for being slightly biased, because it is well-known by all who know me that I am a huge Floyd fan.  As we begin watching their set, a familiar calming aura presents itself in the introductory chords.  Haunting yet pleasing melodies wash over a more-than-happy crowd welcoming these prog rock vets home.  Almost all that can be said about watching Gilmour and Waters plucking strings together in harmony on stage could be stated with absolute euphoria – while gentle cymbals and kaleidoscope screens prevalent at any Floyd performance send all who see it into a mild zen.

I remember thinking once that I would sell any limb to see them live and in person, and while I’ll probably never get that chance, this and the P.U.L.S.E. DVD – along with Live From Pompeii – are fragments of experiences that still give me chills.

The finale track came to a close that evening with cheerful applause, a giant wall with the word “Poverty” written in true Floyd font, and the tragic foursome unified as they bowed graciously to an audience of thousands.

Comfortably numb, indeed.


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