Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Waters-Led Era (1977) | Key Events
Like the flying inflatable pig Floyd, too, had become untethered from their usual working practices. In 1976 they had upgraded their rehearsal space in Britannia Row, Islington, into a 24-track studio and between April and November laid down and mixed Animals. Two tracks that had previously been aired live as far back as 1974 (‘Gotta Be Crazy’ and ‘Raving And Drooling’) formed the basis for ‘Dogs’ and ‘Sheep’. As sessions dragged on, Waters’ lyrical themes, combining allusions to George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945) and his own cynicism with the failings of capitalism, and political and moral authority, came to dominate proceedings. Musically, the album was as barbed and direct as Meddle had been dreamy and allusive. The sonic torpedoes were book-ended by two short Waters haiku entitled ‘Pigs On The Wing Parts 1 and 2’, which may have seemed out of place but formed his best love song since ‘Stay’ on Obscured By Clouds.
In The Flesh Tour
Although the Pink Floyd touring beast was well-oiled to the extent of travelling with their own generators, a 10-m (32-ft) back projection screen, a 5-m (17-ft) tower to show Ralph Steadman cartoons commissioned specifically for the tour, a giant glass flower and huge human inflatables they fell foul of the Greater London Council (GLC) when preparing the In The Flesh concert at Wembley Empire Pool in London. Their fears that the inflatable pig may become untethered (again) annoyed Roger Waters who now took the lead role in choreographing performances. Sound engineer Brian Humphries told Melody Maker that he preferred the floating porker to the aeroplane crashing into the stage, ‘Funnily, the GLC gave us fewer problems over that than this pig.’
When the punk-rock movement emerged in London in the summer of 1976 some audience members showed appreciation by spitting at bands. Roger Waters turned this on its head on the final gig of Floyd’s 1977 American tour in Montreal by spitting in the face of a member of the audience. That Waters now actually felt personal animosity towards his mass audience after a decade of touring was the germ of the entire The Wall concept. Saying that, when discussing the event with radio DJ Tommy Vance in 1979, Waters – perhaps unwittingly – mixed up the role of the protagonists: ‘What he wanted was a good riot’, he said, ‘And what I wanted to do was a good rock and roll show.’
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