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Home arrow Reviews arrow Concerts arrow Pink Floyd - Earls Court, London, August 6th 1980
Pink Floyd - Earls Court, London, August 6th 1980 Print E-mail
Written by Kieran Conlon   
Thursday, 30 July 2009

Pink Floyd The Wall - 6th August 1980 Well I thought I might let you know of some concerts I attended and experiences I've had in my life as a Floyd fan. It all began in 1977 when I asked a guy at school (in Ireland) who seemed to know a lot about music to recommend to me something to listen to. He drew up a top ten list of albums of which DSOTM was number 1. So I went out and bought it without having heard it, and life changed from there on! I can still remember the passion the music aroused in me, I actually had to buy WYWH again as I had worn out my first copy.

The Wall arrived and of course the concerts in Earls Court, and I was determined to see them. So a nervous 18 year old set off on a special bus trip from Dublin which included the ferry, hotel and concert ticket which I still have somewhere.

When I was leaving the hotel that evening the manager asked me would I accompany his daughter as she had got a complimentary ticket and she was too frightened to go on her own. The hotel was very close to the arena. I could feel the excitement seeing Pink Floyd in big letters on the side of Earls Court. We ascended the escalators to the gallery surrounded by thousands of long haired leather and denim clad folk. My seat was the front row of the gallery close to the stage on the left. The girl sat about 10 rows behind me; I looked around later to see how she was getting on but the poor lass had fled.

I was amazed at the size of the place having a great view from the gallery looking over 20,000 plus folk waiting in anticipation. The stage was huge and in darkness with a little section of wall built either side with the large bricks. The lights dimmed and the screaming started, then some bloke in a tuxedo spoke to us from centre stage welcoming us to Earls Court and asking us not to use flash photography - at which point a couple of thousand people took a photo of him! Then he said "And another thing..." and at that point "In The Flesh" began with a deafening crash and burst of light and the gig was underway.

I obviously won't go through the whole concert as memory fades and I'd be here all day, but needless to say it was the best live show I have ever seen. What struck me was the quality of sound, massive blocks of speakers suspended over the stage and around the auditorium for the Quad sound. How come Floyd and Roger produce the best live sound of any band I have ever heard? And no one else uses the Quadraphonic sound effects.

The wall was being slowly built through out the show by men dressed in black putting up the bricks, and when it was built turned into a screen for Scarfe's wonderful animation. The 40ft puppets that walked on stage ie the teacher with eyes as spotlights leaning out over the audience waving his cane and the audience in the stalls jumping up trying to grab it. At one point a deep loud rumbling sound began and Roger said "we thought we would show you our pig, he is an old pig but a big pig". It was a buzz to see this massive pig appear from right stage again with spotlight eyes and suspended on chains move slowly over the audience about three foot above the heads of those in the stalls. This pig was at least 4 times the size of the one used in Roger's latest shows.

The highlight of the gig for me was when the wall was fully built and the band were behind the wall and playing "Comfortably Numb", Gilmour appeared above the wall with a silver looking strat playing the solo while a super trooper spotlight shone on him and he sent reflections throughout the arena. The ending was spectacular as the wall came tumbling down to a deafening noise and falling bricks sound effects. I loved the show but would have loved to have heard just one other floyd track but alas! I was one of the last to leave, I wandered down stairs to look at the massive array of sound and lighting desks. I remember there was an old hippy sitting on his own in the empty stalls and the the security was asking him to leave and he kept saying "Wait man, I need to get me head together".

I had the pleasure of seeing Floyd again in Wembley Stadium in the Eighties, at the Silver Cleft Awards concert in Knebworth and at the London Arena.

I had a free pass for the Friday night at Wembley Stadium as my mate was working at the stadium so I stood at the stage watching the sound check but could not attend that night's show, I was coming on the Saturday night. When I was leaving I bumped into a couple of young lads who were on the way in. One of them was crying as he had lost his ticket, so I gave him my pass. I don't think anyone has ever been so grateful to me in all my life. That night my mates were wandering around the crowd before the gig and met Gilmour who it seems likes to mingle with the crowd before shows often going unnoticed. They chatted and shook hands. When I heard this I was gutted. On the Saturday night they went off wandering again but I stayed in my seat by orders of my girlfriend at the time, and they met him again and chatted like old friends. You can imagine how I felt when I heard this!! A great gig but stadiums are stadiums and not the best venue for a gig.

So I still love the Floyd, seen Roger 5 times on his last tour. I had the pleasure of seeing him on the opening night at the Rock in Rio festival at a huge natural amphitheatre in Lisbon, a spectacular show. Sadly it's only memories now and DVD's of shows, though I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Roger live.

Finally I'm convinced that there is something special about Floyd fans, something different than any other music fan I have yet to meet. We share something unique and you Floyd fans out there will know what I'm talking about!

 
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