Which One’s Pink

I’ve seen The Wall three times now, once at Earls Court in 1980, the Tacoma Dome in Dec 2010 and again last night. Each time has been an emotional experience. The first one was watching a band we did not know was in the the final throes of it’s own demise, yes I know Floyd went on through the 80’s and is not officially over but lets be honest they were a pale shadow of the original, the second time was my friends birthday and then last night was a concert.

The amusing thing is that of all the Pink Floyd albums The Wall is my least favourite, even after The Final Cut. It never makes the same sense as a record as the live show, it does not have the emotional intensity or connection with the audience. It’s just poor fucked up Roger whining. The live show at least in this incarnation is poor fucked up Roger raging against the machine of which he is a part. It takes you from the tears of Bring the Boy’s Back Home to the creepiness of 20,000 chanting Roger after Run Like Hell. This is the point of the show in my opinion, we are all being manipulated by governments, the media and rock stars. The crowd cheers at the mention of pinhole burns and cocaine without remembering the fear, paranoia and sadness that inspired the lyrics, and then they all run for the exit without looking back. There is a forum on Roger’s site with one of the topics being how are you going to dress up for the show, who has the most authentic hippy tye-dyes. I know Roger sees the irony in all this but do the audience and poor old fucked up me went anyway.

Today was the first time I experienced someone not knowing who Pink Floyd were, for most of my childhood, teenage years and adulthood if that is what I can call it they have been a presence. I guess that presence is now waning which may be alright, they are no longer relevant to the youth  of today. They really have become the dinosaur punk tried to make them. The difference is all those punk artists had listened to Floyd or secretly continued to do so, now there is a good chance that an artist has not heard Animals or Atomheart Mother, they may know The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon but more as brands than relevant artistic statements. Music has moved on from Floyd but you can still hear Floyd in the music of others. The Flaming Lips sounds-capes owe a lot to Floyd as does the violence of Jack Whites guitar.

Something totally different is the sound of Floyd from the early 70’s prior to the monster they became. So from my favorite Floyd bootleg which is the Electric Factory in Philadelphia here is Fat Old Sun which has more passion in the solo than the two hours of the wall. Sorry it is audio only but search out the bootleg. It is Floyd at the beginning, Interstellar Overdrive, Green Is The Color and a massive Astronomy Domine.

Don’t get me wrong though I loved Roger’s Wall. I’m not going again though. I miss those four guys who knew how to jam instead of staging a spectacle, who dressed the same as their audience and sang about children’s laughter and holding hands. Floyd along with Caravan, Procul Harum, Fairport Convention, Gong and Soft Machine defined the very Englishness of the 70’s, gentle pastoral landscapes overseen by the dark satanic mills. Blake would have recognized fellow travelers in Floyd, well at least until Roger took the lyrical reins.

Fat Old Sun

When the fat old sun in the sky is falling
Summer evenin’ birds are calling
Summer’s thunder time of year
The sound of music in my ears
Distant bells, new mown grass
Smells so sweet
By the river holding hands
Roll me up and lay me down
And if you sit don’t make a sound
Pick your feet up off the ground
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange
Sing to me, sing to me
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling
Summer evenin’ birds are calling
Children’s laughter in my ears
The last sunlight disappears
And if you sit don’t make a sound
Pick your feet up off the ground
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange
Sing to me, sing to me
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling
No it’s not hippy shit it’s that English pining for the summer we all remember but are not sure will ever happen again or think that someone is going to take away from us if we admit to being at peace.

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