On the 2nd of July in 2005, something remarkable happened. Pink Floyd, the iconic band that had been dormant for over 24 years, took the stage together at the Live 8/Make Poverty History concert in London’s Hyde Park. The event, organized by Bob Geldof, drew an estimated three billion viewers worldwide and marked a significant moment in music history.
Bob Geldof had not initially anticipated Pink Floyd’s participation in Live 8. It was a Herculean task to convince the band’s classic 70s line-up to set aside their bitter disputes and reunite for what would ultimately be their final performance.
In 2005, Bob Geldolf, who had made the historic Live Aid concert in 1985, wanted to make history again, to celebrate Live Aid’s 20th anniversary, on the other, he wanted to voice his political views. At that year’s G8 meeting, Bob wanted to show his support for the goals of the UK’s Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.
Bob aimed to open the event with Paul McCartney and U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” with the iconic line -It was twenty years ago today when Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play… At that point, Pink Floyd was not part of the plan.
However, in early May, Bob Geldof made a phone call to David Gilmour, inviting him to reunite Pink Floyd for Live 8.
David Gilmour initially declined Geldof’s invitation Although at that time he hadn’t thought of Roger Waters, his mind had only thought of himself, Nick Mason, and Rick Wright, the three of them who keep Pink Floyd alive, citing his ongoing solo album project.
Despite David’s refusal, Bob persisted and travelled to David Gilmour’s farm to discuss the concert in detail. David held onto his reservations, But Bob Geldof’s determination to have Pink Floyd on board was unwavering.
Bob Geldof then reached out to Nick Mason, who in turn called Roger Waters. The idea of reuniting the classic line-up seemed as surprising to Bob Geldof as it did to the band members themselves.
Roger Waters, who had a longstanding relationship with Bob Geldof, readily agreed to participate in Live 8. However, David Gilmour initially said no to Bob’s proposal. Roger called Bob to inquire about David’s response, and Bob Geldof provided him with David Gilmour’s contact details. This led to Roger directly contacting David, who found the call surprising yet intriguing.
After Roger Waters convinced David Gilmour to join, David approached Rick Wright. Rehearsals for the Live 8 performance commenced on 28 June at West London’s Black Island Studios. Despite some tension and clashes of ideas, the power of the music took over, and the animosity among the band members seemed to dissipate, if only for a brief period. The rehearsals marked the first time David Gilmour and Roger Waters had communicated and played together since their acrimonious split.
After the rehearsals, the band had a final rehearsal in Hyde Park on first of July. However, the schedule was tight, and they only had half an hour for the rehearsal due to delays caused by Madonna’s rehearsal running late. Nonetheless, the band members were able to feel the magnitude of the occasion and the positive energy surrounding the event.
Pink Floyd Unite at Live 8
On 2nd July, Live 8 took place in Hyde Park, featuring a line-up that included Paul McCartney, U2, Madonna, and many others. Pink Floyd took the stage as the penultimate act of the night, receiving thunderous applause from the crowd. The band’s performance was well-received, and the event itself garnered significant attention and media coverage.
The reunion had a profound impact on both the band members and their fans. For Pink Floyd, the Live 8 reunion marked a moment of closure and reconciliation. Despite the years of animosity and legal battles that had plagued the band since Roger Waters’ departure in 1985, they were able to come together for one final performance, reminding the world of their musical genius and the timeless power of their songs.
The setlist for Pink Floyd’s Live 8 performance included four songs: “Speak to Me/Breathe,” “Money,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Comfortably Numb.” The band’s performance was characterized by their signature atmospheric sound, intricate guitar work, and Roger Waters’ emotive vocals. It was a nostalgic journey for the band members themselves, as they revisited songs that had defined their legacy.
The audience at Hyde Park and the millions watching around the globe were captivated by Pink Floyd’s performance. It was a rare and unexpected moment, with fans realizing they were witnessing something historic. The band’s reunion sparked a surge of excitement and nostalgia, as generations of Pink Floyd fans rejoiced in seeing their musical heroes on stage together once again.
and The Legacy goes on
Beyond the immediate impact of the Live 8 reunion, the event also reignited interest in Pink Floyd’s music. Their albums experienced a significant surge in sales following the performance, as both long-time fans and newcomers were reminded of the band’s enduring appeal. The Live 8 reunion served as a reminder of Pink Floyd’s influential contributions to the world of music and solidified their status as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
While Live 8 marked the final time the classic Pink Floyd line-up performed together, the reunion left a lasting legacy. It showcased the power of music to bring people together, mend broken relationships, and create moments of unity. The Live 8 performance also served as a symbol of hope, as the band lent their voice to the fight against poverty and injustice, which were central themes of the event.
In the years following Live 8, Pink Floyd’s members pursued their individual musical endeavours. David Gilmour continued his successful solo career, releasing albums and embarking on tours. Roger Waters also continued to make music and tour, captivating audiences with his politically charged performances. Sadly, Richard Wright passed away in 2008, leaving a void in the Pink Floyd legacy.
The Live 8 reunion remains a cherished memory for Pink Floyd fans, a testament to the band’s enduring impact on music and their ability to transcend personal differences for the sake of their art. It serves as a reminder of the extraordinary talent and musical legacy that Pink Floyd created, leaving an indelible mark on the history of rock music.