Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Collaborative Era (1975) | Key Events
Wish You Were Here Tour Begins
Pink Floyd’s 1975 tour was confined to North America, with an additional date headlining the Knebworth Festival in England. As well as debuting ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Have A Cigar’ from their upcoming album, Wish You Were Here, they also deployed a new Roger-Waters designed, pyramid-based stage which had a revolutionary inflating Dark Side top that was intended to rise into the air during performance. Sadly, wind was a problem and on 20 June in Pittsburgh the band were, in Nick Mason’s words, ‘like Captain Hornblower faced with an out-of-control mainsail’. The floating pyramid was cut free and landing in a car park was ripped up by souvenir hunters.
Barrett Arrives At Abbey Road Studios
With ‘random precision’ during the final mixing session for Wish You Were Here at Abbey Road Studios on 5 June 1975 the band received an unlikely visitor: Syd Barrett. Waters, Mason, Gilmour and Wright failed to recognize him at first as their former leader had put on so much weight and shaved both his head and eyebrows. Barratt probably killed conversation stone dead when he announced that he was ready to contribute to the band again. Ironically, Barrett’s replacement Dave Gilmour had got married that morning and after attending the wedding reception in the Abbey Road canteen Barrett did not return.
Pink Floyd’s headline appearance at the Knebworth Festival on 5 July 1975 took place in good weather in front of an estimated 100,000 people. The live premiere of the Wish You Were Here material was marred by the sound balance having to be rushed in order that two Spitfires could fly over the crowd as a sound effect at the opening of the track ‘Breathe’. The band (not the Spitfires) were late for their cue and the first part of the set was below par. The ship was back on course for the second half, during which the band simply nailed The Dark Side Of The Moon.
Wish You Were Here
If the ghost of Syd Barrett haunted Pink Floyd, it also served as inspiration when the band finally got down to work on the follow-up to Dark Side. Wish You Were Here was dominated by the sonic suite of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, a fitting tribute to their former leader. Arranged in two parts, it was musically astounding with Gilmour’s famed opening guitar solo leading into a four-note guitar hook serving as one of many compelling strokes on this bold musical canvas. Lyrically, in ‘Part One’ Waters managed to define everything that represented the Syd Barrett legend now and then in 17 lines.
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