Last week, at New York concert by Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Roger Waters stunned fans by coming out to sing “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.” We’re very, very close and old friends,” Waters told the crowd. “Loving the show, by the way, Nick. My considered opinion is that you sounded a lot better than we did back in the day.”
The surprise reunion was the first time the two had played together since May 12th, 2011, when Mason and David Gilmour both joined Waters at a London stop of his The Wall Live tour. Gilmour played guitar and sang on “Comfortably Numb” that night, but Mason only came out at the end to shake a tambourine on the finale of “Outside the Wall.” That’s the last time the three surviving members of Pink Floyd shared a stage.
For a brief moment in 2005, however, it seemed like the band might finally get over their differences and reform for a tour. They played a short set at Live 8 that July and could have booked every stadium on Earth afterwards, but it wasn’t to be. “I decided that if anything came up in rehearsals — any difference of opinion — I would just roll over,” Waters told Rolling Stone a few months later. “And I did … I didn’t mind rolling over for one day, but I couldn’t roll over for a whole fucking tour.”
The next year, David Gilmour went on his first solo tour since dissolving Pink Floyd in 1994. He took keyboardist Richard Wright along for the ride and played a number of Floyd classics. Roger Waters went on the road that same year and played Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. It initially seemed like Nick Mason would be the only Floyd member not on the road that year, but then Waters invited him to guest at select stops on his tour. Here’s video of them playing “Time” in Cork, Ireland, on June 29th, 2006.
Two years later, Richard Wright died of cancer and a complete reunion of the Dark Side of the Moon lineup became impossible. Waters and Gilmour seemed to have at least somewhat cordial relations around the time of the 2011 02 Arena show, but Mason recently told Rolling Stone they don’t have much of a relationship these days.
“I think the problem is Roger doesn’t really respect David,” he said. “He feels that writing is everything, and that guitar playing and the singing are something that, I won’t say anyone can do, but that everything should be judged on the writing rather than the playing … I’m hesitant to get too stuck into this one, just because it’s between the two of them rather than me. I actually get along with both of them, and I think it’s really disappointing that these rather elderly gentlemen are still at loggerheads.”