It’s as certain as death and taxes: Classic Pink Floyd albums such as 1979’s The Wall and 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon will each continue to sell roughly a million copies a year. “It makes me happy that something about the music still resonates with successive generations,” says ex-Floyd bassist, vocalist and composer Roger Waters. The chief architect of The Wall, a concept album about a rock god who goes insane, Waters says the opus was influenced by his father’s death during World War II and the mental collapse of Floyd founder Syd Barrett. Sadly, Waters no longer sees Barrett, who lives in seclusion. “Contact with anyone from those days upsets him,” he says.
Now, two decades after The Wall’s minitour—the band staged an elaborate show in only four cities—comes Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81 (Columbia). And though Waters has been estranged from the other band members since he lost a 1988 lawsuit that sought to bar them from using the Pink Floyd name, he can still laugh at some of the more bizarre moments of their Wall gigs, which featured a 30-ft. wall that crumbled at the show’s climax. On opening night, he recalls, fireworks set the theater aflame. “Chunks of burning curtain were falling onstage,” says Waters, 56, who lives in Hampshire, England, with his wife. “I yelled, ‘Stop!’ But the crew thought they were hallucinating. After a few tries, they finally said, ‘I think he really means stop.’ ”