What did Pink Floyd play at their final gig with Roger Waters?

6 September 2023, 18:58

David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright's last appearance together at Live 8 in London's Hyde Park, 2nd July 2005.
David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright's last appearance together at Live 8 in London's Hyde Park, 2nd July 2005. Picture: MJ Kim/Getty Images

The founding member of the influential British prog band quit after 1983's The Final Cut - but what was the final show he played with the Floyd?

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The history of Pink Floyd is full of twists and turns - particularly when it comes to the line-up. Members came and went during the band's lifetime, often in controversial circumstances that live on to this day.

The British prog rock giants were formed in the early 1960s when bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason met at London Polytechnic, but it was the arrival of frontman Syd Barrett in 1965 that changed their fortunes.

The original line-up of Barrett, Waters, Mason and keyboard player Rick Wright made an influential psychedelic album: 1967's The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. However, by the time of the following year's A Saucerful Of Secrets, Barrett's mental health had become a concern, meaning his contributions were limited.

Pink Floyd mark 1 in 1967: Nick Mason, Rick Wright, Roger Waters and Syd Barrett
Pink Floyd mark 1 in 1967: Nick Mason, Rick Wright, Roger Waters and Syd Barrett. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Syd's problems were attributed to over-use of LSD and his erratic behaviour meant that by April 1968 he was no longer a member - he would be replaced by guitarist David Gilmour and the "classic" Pink Floyd line-up was created.

The quartet of Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason would create some of the most enduring music of the era; from 1971's Meddle, the hugely successful Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) and Wish You Were Here (1975) to the suite of songs on Animals (1977).

The "classic" line up of Pink Floyd circa 1973: Rick Wright, Dave Gilmour, Roger Waters and Nick Mason
The "classic" line up of Pink Floyd circa 1973: Rick Wright, Dave Gilmour, Roger Waters and Nick Mason. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

However, during the making of the ambitious concept album The Wall in 1979, the relationship between Rick Wright and the rest of the band deteriorated. Friction between Waters and Wright came to a head and the keyboard player quit - but was hired as a session musician for the subsequent live dates.

The final show with Roger Waters as a full-time member of Pink Floyd was at the end of the Wall tour, on 17th June 1981 at London's Earls Court. A final string of five dates at the arena were partly intended to supply footage for the film version of The Wall, which was in production by director Alan Parker.

Roger Waters at his penultimate show as a member of Pink Floyd: Earls Court, London, 16th June 1981.
Roger Waters at his penultimate show as a member of Pink Floyd: Earls Court, London, 16th June 1981. Picture: Pete Still/Redferns/Getty Images

Pink Floyd - Earls Court, London 17th June 1981 setlist

Part 1

  • In the Flesh?
  • The Thin Ice
  • Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1
  • The Happiest Days of Our Lives
  • Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2
  • Mother
  • Goodbye Blue Sky
  • Empty Spaces
  • What Shall We Do Now?
  • Young Lust
  • One of My Turns
  • Don't Leave Me Now
  • Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3
  • The Last Few Bricks
  • Goodbye Cruel World

Part 2

  • Hey You
  • Is There Anybody Out There?
  • Nobody Home
  • Vera
  • Bring the Boys Back Home
  • Comfortably Numb
  • The Show Must Go On
  • In the Flesh
  • Run Like Hell
  • Waiting for the Worms
  • Stop
  • The Trial
  • Outside the Wall
The Wall in pieces: Pink Floyd at Earls Court, 16th June 1981
The Wall in pieces: Pink Floyd at Earls Court, 16th June 1981. Picture: Pete Still/Redferns/Getty Images

After the album The Final Cut was released in March 1983, no touring plans were announced for the band, and both Waters and Gilmour announced they were working on solo projects.

So, for a number of years, The Final Cut was The Final Pink Floyd Album. In 1985, Waters resigned as a member of the group, and took the others to court to stop any future use of the Pink Floyd, claiming that the band was a "spent force".

Waters was unsuccessful in putting a stop to Gilmour and Mason's plan to revive Pink Floyd in 1987, with the album A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. The legal battle continued for a while, with Waters threatening to sue promoters for using the Pink Floyd name and claiming the use of an inflatable pig in the band's shows was a breach of copyright.

The legal issues were later worked out and Gilmour and Mason issuing two more albums under the name - The Division Bell (1994) and The Endless River (2014) - but the experience soured the relationship between Gilmour and Waters, with many comments appearing in the press that showed the split had caused a deep rift.

Nick Mason, Dave Gilmour, Rick Wright and Roger Waters backstage at Live 8, 2nd July 2005
Nick Mason, Dave Gilmour, Rick Wright and Roger Waters backstage at Live 8, 2nd July 2005. Picture: Brian Aris/Live 8 via Getty Images

It was something of a surprise, then, in 2015 when the line-up of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason reunited for the epic Live 8 show at London's Hyde Park. A benefit show designed to aid world poverty and the follow-up to 1985's iconic Live Aid show, it was organiser Bob Geldof's idea to contact Gilmour with a view to performing. After the guitarist declined, Geldof contacted Mason, who was still on good terms with Waters. With Waters on board, it was down to the bassist to contact Gilmour and an agreement was reached.

During the short set, Waters claimed that the experience was "quite emotional" and that "We're doing this for everyone who's not here, and particularly of course for Syd."

Pink Floyd performing at Live 8, Hyde Park, 2nd July 2005
Pink Floyd performing at Live 8, Hyde Park, 2nd July 2005. Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images

Pink Floyd - Live 8, Hyde Park 2nd July 2005

  • Breathe (In the Air)
  • Breathe (Reprise)
  • Money
  • Wish You Were Here
  • Comfortably Numb

While the reunion ignited rumours that Pink Floyd would play more shows, Gilmour said that rehearsals for Live 8 had convinced him "it wasn't something I wanted to be doing a lot of." And, indeed, the rancour between Roger Waters and David Gilmour still hasn't gone away.

In 2023, Waters announce that he was re-recording the classic Dark Side Of The Moon, telling the Daily Telegraph: "I wrote The Dark Side Of The Moon. Let’s get rid of all this ‘we’ cr*p! Of course, we were a band, there were four of us, we all contributed – but it’s my project and I wrote it. So... blah!”

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