Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Gilmour-Led Era (1994) | Key Events
The Division Bell
In 1993 Gilmour, Mason and Wright got back to basics during early sessions for their next album by writing and recording alone. They only brought in additional musicians, like Guy Pratt, when they had a number of ideas to work into songs. Lyrically, Gilmour was assisted by his new girlfriend (and future second wife), Polly Samson. When the band had trouble coming up with a title for the new album, they turned to author (and friend of Gilmour) Douglas Adams, who suggested ‘The Division Bell’, which was a lyric from the song ‘High Hopes’. Released in March, the album, with its clean modern sound, topped the charts in the UK and the USA.
The Division Bell Tour
The Division Bell tour was sponsored in part by Volkswagen which allowed the band to finance the construction of a mammoth touring beast that included three stages, two Boeing 747 cargo planes and a road crew of around 200. The most impressive stage props were two Skyship 600 airships – one for America and one for Europe – and a vast mirror-ball. Dick Parry (saxophone), Gary Wallis (percussion), Guy Pratt (bass), Jon Carin (keyboards) and Tim Renwick (guitar) and three backing singers were on hand when the World Tour kicked off in Miami on 29 March 1994. By the time it finished in October the tour had grossed an estimated £150 million.
Despite Roger Waters’ caustic comment to one journalist: ‘Lyrics written by the new wife? I mean, give me a break!’, The Division Bell sounded like Pink Floyd wrapped in Eighties’ studio technology, but did contain strong single material. Both ‘Take It Back’ and the anthemic ‘High Hopes’ made the UK Top 30 in 1994. One of the strongest tracks on the album was Richard Wright’s ‘Wearing The Inside Out’, which was his first lead vocal in over 20 years. Wright had his full-time, band-member-status privileges returned and made a full contribution in the studio and on the road.
Earl’s Court Residency
The Division Bell tour ended with residency at Earl’s Court in London with all proceeds being given to a large number of charities. Although the first night had to be re-scheduled after about 30 seconds due to a seating collapse, the well-oiled live Floyd machine delighted audiences with a multimedia music extravaganza that paid full tribute to their past including now-iconic songs like ‘Astronomy Domine’, ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’. Douglas Adams was given the ultimate birthday present on 28 October by being allowed to strum a guitar on stage during ‘Brain Damage’.
Official End Of Pink Floyd
By leading Pink Floyd through two albums and their most financially successful tours Dave Gilmour had shown that there was life after Roger Waters. Although not known at the time The Division Bell was the final album and tour under the Pink Floyd banner. Although Nick Mason...
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