Earlier this month, Roger Waters told Rolling Stone that he recently sat down for a “peace summit” with his ex–Pink Floyd bandmates David Gilmour and Nick Mason that ultimately went nowhere. “I wrote out a sort of a plan because we’d come to something of a … I don’t really want to talk much about this,” he said. “But the plan didn’t go through.”
The plan didn’t involve any sort of reunion tour. “This was just, ‘Can we release the remastered vinyl version of Animals without it turning into the third World War?’ ” he said. “Wouldn’t that be nice? I actually suggested we go democratic. I said, ‘Why don’t we have a vote? There’s only three of us. Then we can decide all those things like that and at least just go on with it.’ But they wouldn’t have that. God knows why.”
The exact nature of their dispute over an Animals rerelease isn’t known, but it is their last remaining major album not to receive the super-deluxe treatment in recent years. “I think it will eventually happen,” Mason told Rolling Stone in 2018. “It’s just sort of slow because of differences of opinion about how to do it or what to put on it, but I’m sure it will eventually happen. Of all our albums that have been rereleased, that’s the one that would benefit the most from a sort of reworking.”
Sadly, any Animals reissue is unlikely to include much material from the band’s 1977 In the Flesh Tour. It’s one of the great stadium spectaculars ever staged, and the band played all of Animals and Wish You Were Here every night, but never bothered to film or even record any of the 55 shows. The only things that exist are horrid-sounding audience recordings.
“We just hit a period where everyone was paranoid about bootleggers and we didn’t tape shows,” Mason said. “It’s great we did the Pink Floyd at Pompeii thing, but I’m sorry we never filmed and recorded a Dark Side, Animals, or Wish You Were Here show, really.”
Cameras were rolling in 2000 when Roger Waters returned to the road for another tour he called In the Flesh. Every night featured an extended Animals segment where he played “Pigs on the Wing (Part 1)” and the 17-minute epic “Dogs” back to back, which is the entire first side of the record. Guitarist Snowy White, who was a part of the original Animals tour in 1977, was even along for the ride. Here’s video of this section of the show, filmed in Portland, Oregon, in 2000. (The “Dogs” instrumental section is so long that Waters and members of the band actually sit down midway through and play a game of cards on the stage.)
Unless a film of the Animals tour suddenly surfaces one day, this will just have to suffice. In the meantime, let’s hope that Gilmour, Mason, and Waters find a way to get past this impasse and get a deluxe Animals out to the public. Pink Floyd fans have basically given up any hope of a reunion or even another Waters-free tour like the ones in 1987 and 1994. At least give them this.