Thursday, November 17, 2005

Waiting for Pink Floyd memories

Nobody can accuse the legendary Pink Floyd and ex-bandmate (think: leader) Roger Waters of haste. Both have prominently resurfaced as rock icons due to the release of new material which has been years in the making.

Waters spent ten years working on "Ca Ira," an opera about the French Revolution which has quickly became a top selling classical title.

Pink Floyd, meanwhile, on Dec. 6 will release the "Pulse" DVD chronicling their final tour in 1994.

Much to the surprise of fans, Pink Floyd and Waters-- who talk to each other only through their lawyers-- reunited on July 2 at Hyde Park in London for a brief set during the Live 8 concerts. Waters announced, however, there would be no permanent reunion.

The four disc Live 8 DVD preserves their new performances of "Speak to Me," "Breathe," "Money," "Wish You Were Here," and "Comfortably Numb." The last time Pink Floyd had performed with Waters was during 1983's "Final Cut" tour. Sadly, the 22 years since have been filled with legal and personal feuds.

That wasn't the case when "Dark Side of the Moon" (DSotM) was released on March 2, 1973. The entire band contributed songs to this classic concept album which dealt with the pressures of life and proved very popular with radio programmers.

In fact, generations of fans are familiar with this album. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard magazine album chart and is the second best selling disc of all time, with an estimated 40 million copies sold worldwide. Even at this late date, the album sells a phenomenal 8,000 copies a week. It's said one in every 14 Americans under the age of 50 owns a copy.

The group followed up in 1979 with another opus, a two-disc multi-million selling set titled "The Wall."

With that back-drop, Pink Floyd fans from the Upper Peninsula traveled by bus on July 3, 1994 to see the band perform at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. Without Waters, the band played uncompromising versions of songs from the then-new "Division Bell" as well as DSotM in its entirety.

Despite rain, the crowd enjoyed a great show featuring David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and an eight-person back-up band. The "Pulse" DVD will feature the concert's back-screen stage projections and numerous videos.

Our willingness to endure long hours of bus travel was primed by Pink Floyd's classic albums as well as an incident from the early 1990s.

It happened on a forgotten date circa 1993. Two well dressed women entered the Record Rack, then located at 1107 Ludington St. They looked around and complimented owner Sue Seymour on the collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia displayed on the walls. The women, with British accents, mentioned they were "on holiday," traveling from Detroit to Minneapolis by car.

A few minutes after they left, a man wearing a brown leather bomber jacket, entered the store. He checked under "P" and "W" in the compact disc section (presumably for Pink Floyd and Roger Waters titles) and looked about. He then approached Sue at the check out counter and mentioned the store's display of signed photographs.

"I see you have a lot of autographs," the man said. "Yes, I do," Sue responded. "Would you like mine?" the man asked. "O.K., but who are you?" Sue replied.

"Give me a piece of paper and pen," the man said. He scribbled a note and quickly left. It read: "You're not just another brick in the wall. (signed) Roger Waters, Pink Floyd." Sue later confirmed Waters' identity through photos and comparisons with other autographs.

Meeting Roger Waters and seeing Pink Floyd perform would probably top any fan's want list. Now we've finally got the music and video to back-up the memories.

No comments: