Extraordinary circumstances can make extraordinary events happen. Just ask the members of Pink Floyd, who made not only their final appearance onstage on July 2, 2005, but their first with a classic line-up in more than two decades.
What got David Gilmour, Roger Waters (who exited the band in 1984), Richard Wright and Nick Mason back on stage? Credit goes to Bob Geldof, who organized Live 8, a multi-continent concert series and sequel to 1985's Live Aid events. The goal of raising awareness of poverty, inequality and health crises in developing nations was noble enough for the estranged Gilmour (who'd continued recording and touring with Pink Floyd) and Waters to put aside their differences. "Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context," Gilmour told the Associated Press, "and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it's going to be worthwhile."
The mostly-peaceful reunion - only clashing briefly when Gilmour refused to include the Waters-penned "Another Brick in the Wall" in their brief, 20-minute set - included stirring renditions of Dark Side of the Moon classics "Breathe" and "Money," the title track to Wish You Were Here and Waters' "Comfortably Numb," from The Wall.
"It’s actually quite emotional to be standing up here with these three guys again, after all these years – standing to be counted with the rest of you," Waters said during the set. "We're doing this for the people who are not here - and particularly, of course for Syd" - referring to the band's original frontman Syd Barrett, who died the following year.
And that was it for the classic Pink Floyd line-up. Gilmour reportedly turned down a $150 million deal to tour with Waters (who, to his credit, seemed open to the idea). Wright's passing in 2008 further stonewalled such discussions; one last Pink Floyd album, 2014's The Endless River, served as an epilogue to the group, utilizing tracks Gilmour, Mason and Wright completed in the '90s. Waters, for his part, found peace in his last outing with the group he co-founded. "It was an extraordinarily moving experience for me," he told the BBC in 2010, "and if that's the way we draw a line under Pink Floyd, so be it,"