The Reunion Tour



Roger Waters’ concept for The Wall was at first an idea for a show, before the album was ever conceived. “What if Pink Floyd did a show, and during the show we build an effing great wall between the band and the audience until they couldn’t see us anymore? And we were completely cut off from them. What a terrific way that would be to symbolize the story that was beginning to take root in my imagination.” The album was then created with this stage show in mind. “I think in the very, very original plan, which shows just how screwed up I really was, the idea was just to build a wall, and that’s the end of the show.”

Pink Floyd began work on the tour two years before it even began, with cartoonist Gerald Scarfe providing the visuals, many of which appeared in the film adaptation. The group also worked heavily with architect Mark Fisher, who provided much of the concept art for the show. According to Fisher, “The original plan in fact was to knock the bricks onto the audience, so we spent a lot time looking at very light bricks that would disintegrate when the audience hit them; foam bricks and things like that.”

After the album was released in 1979, Pink Floyd embarked on The Wall tour from 1980 to 1981. The show featured the entire album, including the rejected track “What Shall We Do Now?” and the instrumental jam “The Last Few Bricks.” The show began with “In The Flesh?” played by other musicians wearing life masks of the real members of Pink Floyd. The real band came out for “The Thin Ice” and onward, and the forty-foot wall began to be constructed by roadies between the band and the audience. Giant inflatable puppet figures of the Teacher, Mother and Wife were unveiled during the songs “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2,” “Mother,” and “Don’t Leave Me Now,” respectively. By the time the end of the first set is reached, there’s one empty space in the wall left, where Roger Waters visibly sang “Goodbye Cruel World.” On the last note, the space was filled and the wall completed. The second half of the show mostly took place behind the wall, with the band completely blocked off. Visuals were projected onto the wall to provide something for the audience to look at. During “Nobody Home,” a part of the wall folded out to reveal a hotel room, where Roger Waters sat in a chair and sang. For “Comfortably Numb,” Waters stood in front of the wall wearing a doctor’s uniform, while guitarist David Gilmour stood on top of the wall to perform the choruses and his iconic guitar solos. For the next few songs, the band moved and performed in front of the wall until “The Trial.” The forty-foot wall was then torn down, after which when the band came out and performed an acoustic version of “Outside The Wall,” concluding the show.

The production was so large that they could only bring it to four cities: Los Angeles, London, Uniondale, and Dortmund. The New York Times described the show as “…a milestone in rock history though and there’s no point in denying it… the ‘Wall’ show will be the touchstone against which all future rock spectacles must be measured.” The tour was documented in the live album Is There Anybody Out There?, produced by The Wall’s recording engineer James Guthrie.

The Wall tour would be the last time Pink Floyd’s classic lineup would perform together until the Live 8 concert in 2005. Roger Waters re-did the show in 1990 on the spot of the Berlin wall a year after it came down. The event was attended by over 200,000 people, and included artists such as The Scorpions, Cyndi Lauper, The Band, Sinéad O’Conner, and Van Morrison among others. In 2010, Roger Waters took the entire production of The Wall on a proper tour, doing 224 different shows well into 2013. David Gilmour and Nick Mason joined Waters for The Wall Live show at the O2 Arena for the finale “Outside The Wall.” It was the band’s first proper reunion, albeit without the late Richard Wright, since their performance at Live 8. It has since been the last time the original members of Pink Floyd have performed together.