What About The Pig?

Years ago I saw Pink Floyd play live at Madison Square Garden. The real Pink Floyd, that is. The band that contained all members — especially the brain child of the band, Roger Waters.

I was a teenager naive, excited and alone in the Big Apple. Sitting in excellent seats while the band performed the entire works of both the Wish You Were Here and Animals albums. For encores they performed classics including Us And Them and Money.

The city air in Madison Square Garden had a strange but familiar odor. My senses elevated as the endless stream of second hand smoke made contact with my olfactory organs. Ahhh. Pink Floyd.

So when the band ripped into Pigs Three Different One's a giant inflated pig emerged from behind the stage and soared over the crowd. It's eyes glowing red, perhaps its eyes too sensitive for the smoke filled garden. Pig noises circled the venue through Floyd's massive quadraphonic sound system. The pig spun slowly on its axis, tilted and beamed its mug on the stoned crowd. My friend Rob and I sat transfixed on the huge flying pork. This effect was followed by floating a floating car, washing machine and husband, wife and two kids. A huge mirror ball at least two or three stories high rose from the stage during Shine on You Crazy Diamond. But none of this ancillary effects had the impact on me or the crowd as the flying pig.

Years later I saw Pink Floyd again playing huge stadiums including Oakland Coliseum and Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. Even a stint at the 100,000 + seat Los Angeles Coliseum. The band, sans Roger Waters performed the pseudo Pink Floyd album, Momentary Lapse of Reason. Imagine my confusion when during the bands attempt at Run Like Hell from The Wall when a huge swine spun out from the stage and hovered over the crowd. I thought to myself, “What the hell is this?” Run Like Hell and a Pig. Apples and Oranges. They just aren't meant to go together. I left the arena thinking that even though Dave Gilmour's guitar was awesome and the stage show entertaining, it was a farce. It simply wasn't Pink Floyd. Great David Gilmour concert. And very enjoyable.

But the pig?

Well when my friend John forwarded me an article about how the manager of String Cheese Incident purchased the Floyd Pig, I have to admit I was jealous. What if I wanted to buy it? I could fly it behind a plane along the Southern California beaches. Or, I could see if the any of the auto dealers along the 405 (San Diego Freeway) might need something different than inflated balloons, gorillas or banners.

[…] he got the prop, introduced into Floyd lore on the cover of 1977's “Animals,” from a former Floyd stagehand. The first zeppelin was a female, but after Roger Waters left the group in 1984 and tried to block them from using the Pink Floyd name, the band created a male pig […]

But I'm too late. I didn't even know the pig was for sale. And what's with String Cheese Incident? Are they trying to transition into being a Floyd cover band? Or simply a PR stunt? No matter what, I wish I could have seen how they used when they performed at Austin City Limits Music Festival several weeks ago.

[…] After a video of the pig's history was shown on the jumbo screen during the String Cheese set, break spotlights hit the reconstructed pig as an eight-man crew walked it through the disbelieving crowd. Then the band played “Another Brick In the Wall” to send the moment into the stratosphere. […]

Apparently all was not well in the Pig's camp, however. It took quite the effort to revive the 1970's art rock icon.

[…] The band took it to the country's top hot-air balloon shop, which is in the band's hometown of Boulder, Colo., and was told it couldn't be repaired. “When pigs fly” went back to being a way of saying, “Not gonna happen.” […]

If you were in Austin for the show, then you'd see that Pigs Fly. But for me, some pieces of history are best laid to rest or put in museums. I'm steering clear of anything that resembles “fromage de chaîne de caractères” or however you want to translate “string cheese.”

Related Articles on The Digital Tavern: Gilmour & Quicktime | Floydian Slip

And the gossip on Rog's departure is here.

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