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‘Comfortably Numb’

A look at the dark side of the band and glimpses of a brighter future as Roger Waters revisits classic material with a possible special guest.<br />

1965:
Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason and Richard Wright form The Pink Floyd Sound, the name based on two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Their sound quickly veers away from blues and into psychedelia. Barrett, the band’s original frontman, embraces psychedelia the most; one component of adopting this movement was that he reportedly dropped a ton of acid.

1968:
The band’s 1967 debut “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” receives positive reviews. But because of Barrett’s increasingly unreliable guitar playing (possibly due to all the aforementioned LSD), David Gilmour is brought in as a second guitarist for live appearances. Gigs continue for the next few months, sometimes with Barrett, sometimes without, until April of that year when he is officially fired.

1973:
After six more semi-successful art-rock albums, the band redefine success in the music industry with “The Dark Side of the Moon,” which stays on the Billboard charts for 15 years. One of the prevalent themes of “Dark Side” is descent into madness, presumably the influence of watching Barrett do the same.

1975:
During the recording of the follow-up, “Wish You Were Here,” much of which is a tribute to Barrett, the former frontman shows up at the studio. He’s overweight, bald, confused and nobody even recognizes him at first.

1979:
After years of success, band tensions mount and keyboardist Wright either quits or is fired, depending on who you ask. His name does not appear in the credits for the 80-minute concept album, “The Wall.” However, he’s hired as a musician for the tour, a theatrical production so elaborate that it only plays at four venues.

1984:
Waters tries to prevent the Pink Floyd name from being used on new releases. The courts deny his requests. He quits the band.

1987:
Gilmour, Wright and Mason release “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” as Pink Floyd. Waters threatens legal action, and both parties trade insults and criticisms through the press.

1994:
The same Pink Floyd who made the previous album release “The Division Bell.” For the European leg of the tour, they invite Waters to join them. He declines.

2005:
Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright play a one-off performance as Pink Floyd for the LIVE8 concert in London, a “Make Poverty History” initiative by Bob Geldof (who played the lead in the film version of “The Wall”)

2006-2008:
Barrett dies in 2006. In 2007, Pink Floyd and Waters both perform at a tribute concert to him, but separately. Wright dies in 2008.

2010:
Waters performs at a charity event with Gilmour, who had played the event the previous year. To thank Waters, Gilmour agrees to play “Comfortably Numb” at one of Waters’ performances of “The Wall.” Will it be tonight? If so, you’ll probably wish you were here.

 
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