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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisTwo years ago at the Live 8 benefit concert, it appeared as though Pink Floyd was officially back together. But fans' wishes only came true for that single day as guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour quickly released a solo album and toured without the band, followed by singer/bassist Roger Waters hitting the road last summer. Though Gilmour's tour was hugely successful, Waters' billing as "the creative genius of Pink Floyd," plus his performance of the band's The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety has sold out all across the globe.
That historic album, along with other Pink Floyd and solo hits, once again filled up the United Center as Waters and his nine backers unloaded nearly three hours of psychedelic masterpieces. Yet faithful fawning to hear the entire Dark Side disc had to wait until the second half, following treatment of other career staples such as the opener "In the Flesh," the hypnotic "Wish You Were Here" and the flying pig enhanced treatment of "Sheep" to break the ice. And then the epic album came nearly 90 minutes into the evening, unveiling with the "Speak to Me/Breathe" suite and ending a 30 year silence since Waters originally performed the project on tour with the complete Pink Floyd line-up. Though that opener and the subsequent "On the Run" were packed with dreamy, euphoric instrumental sequences, accessibility soon set in with the familiar, bubbling over crescendos of "Time" and later "Money" (complete with electronically generated cash register sound effects).
As Waters and company continued with the sax-streaked softness of "Us and Them" and the distortion drenched "Any Colour You Like," it was evident the Dark Side disc still holds up in modern contexts, despite being cut back in 1973. Enrapturing renditions of the spacey "Brain Damage" (flanked by a laser enhanced prism mirroring the album cover) and its follow-up finale "Eclipse" provided additional portals for the audience to be transported into another dimension.
Even after that disc's triumphant presentation, there were still a few Pink Floyd classics left for an even more riveting conclusion. No Waters show could be complete without the mega hit "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2," which was also the night's most vibrant adaptation from the band's seminal The Wall soundtrack CD. A ten-minute version of "Comfortably Numb" rode out the evening on a cloud of classic rock perfection, merging Waters' haunting bass lines with dueling guitar solos from session players that aptly upheld Gilmour's performance integrity. And though it's unlikely the two figureheads will ever reconvene again, this particular concert was the next best opportunity to experience Pink Floyd's undeniable legacy.
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