Growing Speculation on New Pink Floyd ShowAugust 2, 2006
After the death of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett two weeks ago there has been growing speculation in the media and backstage music business “grapevine” that Pink Floyd could re-unite to perform a tribute concert to their former band mate later this year.
(Roger) Syd Barrett was the main creative force behind the formation of Pink Floyd in the late 60’s while studying at the London College of Art and his unique artistic attitude and persona could be seen since their early years in highly acclaimed “psychedelic” shows and stage presence. Intensive experimentation with trendy drugs of the time (notably LSD) accentuated by his Asperger syndrome personality made Syd become more and more detached from the world around him and reclusive as an individual and artist to the extent that he became completely unable to perform in what was then a growing rock band with tours, shows and TV appearances adding up every week. Pink Floyd hired guitarist David Gilmour in an effort to help and replace his friend Syd whenever he couldn’t cope. However the situation had reached the point of no return and soon Syd departed and Gilmour stayed on to become one of Rock’s legendary guitarists performing and co-writing such classic albums as “Dark Side of the Moon”, “The Wall” and “Wish You Were Here”, the latter including the immortal track “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” admittedly a tribute to Syd’s demise.
Syd Barrett withdrew himself from music altogether. His talent is clearly shown in “The Piper At The Gates of Down”, Pink Floyd’s first album. Later “The Madcap Laughs” and “Barrett” were two attempts to encapsulate a spirit that was anxious to fly away and become withdrawn from any intrusive outer look. These stand as collectors items, with moving moments and a few gems glowing by their own merit. Syd moved in with his parents in Cambridge and lived a life of self involvement, developing his artistic sense by indulging in long walks in the park, taking up photography and painting. His reputation has grown over the years and his story has inspired many tributes and great admiration (David Bowie has been known to quote Syd often).
Pink Floyd had their own share of problems. In the mid 80’s Roger Waters and David Gilmour‘s friendship had fallen apart and the press soon reported the “death” of Pink Floyd. However Gilmour was not happy with the outcome and despite Water’s opposition, he reunited drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright and enjoyed almost a decade of success recording two original albums that went multi-platinum and touring extensively under the Pink Floyd name. The gap between Roger and the rest of the band seemed impossible to bridge. Roger spent the best part of the 90’s away from the music scene, scarcely appearing live and recording only once.
However, the new millennium saw Roger Waters book a short – “let’s see if they still remember me” – tour of small American venues in peripheral cities. Sudden success stunned everyone, forcing Waters to change horses in mid race booking larger venues for the remainder of the tour. What started out as a two weeks short single leg was soon extended to a full blown world tour including Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Roger Waters was back.
In 2005 Bob Geldof called Waters and Gilmour to invite them for a one-off performance of a re-formed Pink Floyd for his upcoming Live 8 show, under the flag “Let’s Make Poverty History”. In face of the objectives of the show, both Waters and Gilmour accepted to appear on stage together under the Pink Floyd name. It was an historic performance that fans won’t forget and the highlight of the day. Immediately offers were raining on the Floyd‘s doorsteps to re-form permanently and tour the world one last time. However band members left it quite clear that Live 8 was a one-off event and that only a charitable event would bring them on a stage again. Sources near to the band have commented that a tribute to Syd Barrett could just be right event. A friend of the band told the Daily Telegraph: “They didn’t want to let Syd go without a huge send-off.”
However, nothing is yet confirmed and earlier this month before Barrett’s death Nick Mason said that there were no plans for another reformation. He said: “I think relations are much better, but I’m absolutely, sorry to say…I cannot announce the imminent arrival of another world tour. David [Gilmour] is busy with a solo project (…) [and he] really has no interest in reviving the band. (…) I have to say I’d love to do it, and Wright probably would and even Roger [Waters] is sort of more open to the idea. But perhaps it’s rather a good thing that just occasionally people won’t do things for large sums of money. It’s got to be done because people really want to and think they can do something better.”