Photos from the 1977 tour
Actual stage specifications required by Pink Floyd for their 1977 concerts
Why did Roger spit in that guy's face?
When the tour commenced, each show contained all the songs from Animals and Wish You Were Here; a first for the band. As an intro for Shine On, Waters came up with the idea of putting a transistor radio on a stand next to a microphone to scan the stations for random and often comical results. The encore, depending on the mood of the band, would usually consist of Money and Us And Them, which was always accompanied by the film clips projected on the now famous circular Pink Floyd screen. After rehearsing in early November at Britannia Row and finalizing the dress rehearsals at London's Olympia Exhibition Hall. They then shipped everything to Germany for the opening show, which posed some new problems for the band, who were faced with a full scale stadium tour for the first time. While it was true that Floyd's last two tours were on a large scale, they continued to play smaller venues as recent as 1975 (many of which were almost humorous to see such a grand show in small concert halls with fold up chairs).
Now the band had to make the entire audience feel like they were in such a venue, even the ones in the cheap seats. To do this Waters, being the conceptual genius he is, imagined filling the stadium with large inflatable balloons in symbolic fashion. During Dogs, a "nuclear family" (containing a businessman, his wife on a couch and 2.5 children) was lifted above the crowd and then deflated when the song was over. Although these weren't used until the London show, when the tour made its way to the States Waters added a Cadillac, refrigerator and TV set, all relatively to scale. Most notably added was the world famous inflatable pig which was much more sinister than the one on the album cover. Its ugly snarl could be seen when it came from behind the smoke filled stage during Pigs. For the indoor shows it was trolleyed via cables across the length of the stadium but for the outdoor shows it was floated high above on steel cables, where it was detonated much to the crowd's delight. The band also utilized a "sheep cannon," which fired tiny sheep made of a tea-bag type cloth into the unsuspecting crowd.
Another stunning addition to the show was the animation films supplied by Gerald Scarfe, the English cartoonist, who most Floyd fans will recognize his work from the art of The Wall. The band first saw his work in 1972 with his cartoon parody of American life called Long-Drawn-Out-Trip. The band liked his work and hired him to do the art for their tour programs during the tours in 1974 and 1975. Scarfe's contribution to the Animals tour was for the song Welcome To The Machine, which depicted a robot-like Godzilla in a geometric landscape, a decapitated head that rots, and a metropolis flooded by an ocean of blood. The waves of blood would turn into hands that worshipped a monolith sculpture. The other Scarfe cartoon, shown during the end of Shine On, featured pinkish humanlike creatures, often seen in the art from The Wall, flipping through the air and becoming falling leaves. This astounding vision took six months to create and earned Scarfe a rumored £100,000. The animation closed with an edged mirror disc appearing before the circular screen, blinding everyone with its illuminating power. American concerts were treated to a cascade of fireworks from the top of the stage that stretched the entire length of it.
All this technology didn't occur without some mishaps. Difficulties first appeared at Wembley Stadium in England which kicked off the UK tour. The band was angry that they had to play Wembley again and instead wanted to play Earl's Court, which they felt would bring good luck. Following that they played New Bingley Hall in Stafford, which was bizarre because it was a former livestock market, and no other bands had played there. But leave it to Floyd to promote their new album about animals at an old livestock market--they even played a couple shows in a former French slaughterhouse.
When the tour reached big American stadiums, however, the real problems began. The Floyd had been used to quiet and respectful audiences allow themselves to be enveloped by the rich atmosphere they created. Listen to any early concert bootleg and it's amazing how the audience members in these small venues kept such a peaceful demeanor, in spite of such energetic masterpieces like One Of These Days or Careful With That Axe, Eugene. Now that the shows were expanded to stadiums, the personal relationship between the band and the audience, which Waters so cherished, was shattered. More and more the audience members would be whipped into a frenzy and cry out for certain songs which distracted the band, especially Waters, from presenting their performances in the way they were meant to be shown. "It was magical in the early days of Floyd, but the magic was eaten by the numbers. By '77, when we were doing the Animals tour--playing only big stadiums and selling out everywhere--all everyone was talking about was grosses and numbers and how many people there were in the house. And you could hardly hear yourself think. You could hardly hear anything because there were so many drunk people in the stadium, all shouting and screaming."
It went so far as that firecrackers were being
tossed about during the songs which infuriated Waters to the
point of absolute hatred for stadium touring which would
not leave him anytime soon.
This was all brought to a head
for the final performance in Montreal, when Waters snapped.
"I was onstage and there was one guy in the front row
shouting and screaming all the way through everything. In
the end I called him over and when he got close enough,
spat in his face. I shocked myself with that incident
enough to think: hold on a minute--this is all wrong. I'm
hating this." Interestingly, Waters infuriation had gone relatively
unnoticed by the rest of the band. "I just thought it was
a great shame to end up a six month tour with such a rotten
show. In fact I remember going off stage for the encore
and going back to the sound mixing board in the middle of
the audience to watch the encore while Snowy played guitar."
said Gilmour. Snowy remembers the incident as well. "I
was enjoying myself, and then the crew started dismantling
the equipment as we were playing. In the end Nick was just
left with a bass drum!"
Obviously ending the tour on such a sour note affected the
band greatly. Waters was nearly on the edge of a breakdown
and thought the best remedy for his frustration was to
write his feelings down in the form of music. You can see
how passionately he felt about his experiences in the lyrics
of The Wall.
Battersea Power Station