Pink Floyd’s official farewell arrived in 2005, a time they appeared at Hyde Park for Live 8, and it also marked their final performance before the death of founding part Rick Wright. However, a few years later, the group’s surviving members would reunite once more.
When Roger Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985, it was under a cloud of acrimonious circumstances, and it looked impossible that he’d ever step foot on-stage with David Gilmour ever again. However, when Bob Geldof came calling, the feuding musicians put their differences aside and reunited for a cause more significant than themselves.
Following that show, their relationship remained hostile, with Waters and Gilmour still publically sparring. It looked improbable for the two ever to repair their issues which had been brewing for decades, yet, charity again would be the necessary spark to put them back on the same stage.
Both men are prominent supporters of Palestine, and Gilmour was involved in 2010 with assembling a line-up for the charity Hoping Foundation. He ignored his personal problems with Waters and asked his former bandmate to perform with him at an event in Oxfordshire.
Waters leapt at the opportunity, although he was reluctant to cover Teddy Bears song ‘To Know Him Is to Love Him’ because of his vocal range, and in response, Gilmour made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse.
“Some weeks passed with David cajoling me from time to time, telling me how easy it would be, but I clung resolutely to my fear of failure until one day he made one final entreaty,” Waters later reflected. “I quote ‘If you do ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’ for The Hoping Foundation Gig, I’ll come and do ‘C. Numb’ on one of your Wall shows’. Well! You could have knocked me down with a feather. How fucking cool! I was blown away.
“How could I refuse such an offer. I couldn’t, there was no way. Generosity trumped fear. And so explaining that I would probably be shite, but if he didn’t mind I didn’t, I agreed and the rest is history. We did it, and it was fucking great. End of story. Or possibly beginning.”
They both stayed good to their word, and Gilmour joined him for ‘Comfortably Numb’ and ‘Outside The Wall’ at the O2 Arena the following year. While this cameo was announced before the show, they didn’t tell fans that Nick Mason would also be joining them to play the tambourine during the finale and instead kept that as a secret surprise.
The show was a powerful way to bring the Pink Floyd era to a definitive close, but it didn’t have to mark the end. Waters’ comments about it representing a possible new “beginning” confirms that he’d have been thrilled to have kept the train rolling.
Unfortunately, they’ve only continued to drift apart further in the years since they last performed together, and now it seems things have become unrepairable. However, at least, this footage is a poignant reminder of happier times.