Live 8 and Pink Floyd

The last few weeks haven’t been all bad. In fact they’ve been a bit of a rollercoaster. Just 5 days before being on the bombed Aldgate train I settled in for the day at a mate’s house to watch complete coverage of the London Live 8 concert.

Live 8 was a big event for me. The original Live Aid concerts are one of my early memories that I can appreciate (I was 7 at the time.) For some strange reason the artists I remember most from that day are Howard Jones and Phil Collins, but thankfully my music taste improved soon after!

Another reason Live 8 was a big deal to me was that I agreed with the cause. I remember from a few years back that people were talking about cancelling debt in Africa, and the unlikelyhood of it happening, but here was an event pushing for much more than this on the road to gaining real social justice across the world. People have criticised Bob Geldof for being too ‘chummy’ with Tony Blair but what’s the point of trying to change the world unless you have real influence over our leaders? And much as I disagree with Blair’s policy towards Iraq, he has always said that he feels that the situation in Africa is something that should, and can, change.

But despite all my political pretentions, the biggest reason I was so excited about Live 8 was that Pink Floyd were playing, and not just the 3 original members I had seen at Earls Court in 1994, but the complete foursome of Gilmour, Waters, Wright and Mason, something I thought I would never see. Pink Floyd are the band of my life. The Wall got me through my teenage angst years, Wish You Were Here was the album of my summer 2 years ago when I was in Boston thousands of miles from home, and so many other memories besides.

I was somewhat nervous about what they would be like. When I saw them 11 years ago they already seemed pretty old (although it was still the best gig I have ever been too) – would they still be able to hack it? Would Roger Waters throw a tantrum and storm off half way? Would the crowd stay silent wondering who the old gits were on the stage?

My fears were unfounded. Yes, they are getting old, and yes they can’t sing like they used to (to be fair they never had the best voices anyway) but they played damned well. 2 Dark Side of the Moon tracks, the crowd favourite Wish You Were Here and my favourite song of all time Comfortably Numb, with Dave Gilmour ripping his axe like he was standing back on the top of the wall 24 years ago.

Quite a day really. I thought a lot of the younger bands gave it their all, even ones I don’t like that much such as Keane and Razorlight. Madonna wins top marks for effort (plus how a woman of her advancing years can still look that good is unfathomable), and Robbie Williams, despite being a twit and not the greatest musician who has ever lived was, in a word, fabulous.

But I will never forget the sight of Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Rick Wright and (I still don’t believe I’m writing this) Roger Waters hugging and smiling on stage after all they’ve been through and all that’s been said between them. Thanks guys for putting arguments, even ones that last for decades, into perspective.

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