This enabled the band to use infatables above the stage which they would have not been able to do if using a scarffold stage roof. If there was a chance of rain, the umbrellas would be deployed. Mark Fiasher took these photos when the the umbrellas were being tested in London. All Photos Below: Copyright Mark Fisher
"Sanders and Fisher sculpted the scale models for the inflatables in styrofoam and using an overhead projector, enlarged tissue paper patterns from them up to full-size cutting patterns...Park engineered the rigging and designed and built the raising and lowering systems for the inflatables." (Sutherland Lyall, Rock Sets).
Jonathan Park recounts: "And so the sequence that these things would rise up would be the... if I remember the sequence correctly, the children would rise up first. There was a boy, and then a girl with half a boy. These were just two separate objects. They would go up, and they would be followed by the television, the refrigerator, the Cadillac and then would come the wife on the sofa, and also simultaneously rising would be the father... the man, both climbing the highest. And then they would all be rising up together and this was quite difficult to achieve, because what I discovered... you know we were working right on the limits of what the electric motors could do... the electric winches could do... with these special grooved drums that I had drawn up... and we actually made them all...the family would deflate and just hang there and then expand again, with their internal lights. And in the last verse the where the man is dragged down by the stone and found dead on the end of the phone, the family would descend and he would fly across to the far side of the stage and descend over the head and behind Dave Gilmour. And in the last dying moments of the song he would crumple in a heap behind the stage." (Rogerwaters.org)Below notice the .5 child.
Below the only known photo of the "exploding" pig:
The enormous crowds on this tour began to bother Roger as he felt the crowd were there to party rather then contemplate the music and the lyrics. At the show in Cleveland, someone climbed onto the giant cable that stretched across the stadium and carried the pig. On the bootleg, an announcer can be heard pleading with the person telling them If anybody has hold of the other line on the pig up there, please let go, its very dangerous. We’re trying to bring it back in from over the audience. Please! Please let go of the line if you have your hand on the line.” Ten days later in Montreal, the famous "spitting" incident would happen, where Roger, supposedly spit on a fan who wouldn't be quite, and from his experience on this tour came up with the concept for The Wall, feeling that there was a metaphorical wall between the band and the audience. This idea came to fruition on The Wall tour 3 years later when a 40 foot wall was gradually erected between the band and the audience. The flying pig would become a concert staple for Pink Floyd and Roger Waters on all their subsequent tours. Below a photo from the Montreal concert:
©Copyright Mark Fisher
Above: sheep being unpacked before a show at Angels Stadium, Anaheim, CA.
Due to the lack of a permanent overhead stage truss, lighting was provided on pneumatic telescopic towers on either side of the stage, cherry pickers (which were also equipped with Pyro effects), and lights that were attached around the circular video screen." The cherry pickers were quire impressive as they could lower and rise above the band. Roadie Chris Cockram remembers the cherry pickers, "They were mounted on a 10 metre tractor unit that was driven in to position each side of stage. Each cherry picker traveled in its own 45ft truck. In the air they could be extended out over the entire stage, and the hydraulics, supporting the arm and cage were, smooth and responsive, they literally flew.The pilot sat in a racing car seat, and operated a single joy stick at his right hand, on the left all the switches for lights and flares, the Follow Spot was mounted to a swivel plate and sat just above his right shoulder, like some bloody great rocket launcher, theses things would glide in to position in silence, completely blacked out, the guy's wore all black, with balaclavas and gloves and then they would burst into view in a blaze of light and fly across the stage, I thought they were brilliant. There was a point in the show, with David Gilmour starting off on Steel slide guitar, the Cherry Pickers were positioned high over head, one over the Keyboard's, one over David, this thing would drop in to position to about 3 meters above his head, completely blacked out. The pilot was flying blind in a straight drop, I would count him down on the headset, that was fun, it became a competition to see how close we could get, and how quickly he could drop, but it had to be a smooth stop, H underneath was possibly one of the worlds leading musicians! Today you wouldn't get away with it."(Pinkfloydz.com)
Above Photos: Copyright Erich Biruk
As a climax to the show a huge rotating mirror fan that was built for the bands 1975 tour would rise up from behind drummer Nick Mason and spin as spotlights hit it creating prisms of lights that would reflect all over the audience and venue.
It was a race against time as we fumbled our way through trying to get it on, these things weighed a lot, steel frame, 2 meters long, and thick board with a thousand or so mirrors, just holding it up was hard, as it started to rise, we stuck 3 or 4 cable ties in each bolt hole, and slapped Gaff' across the frame, we kept at it until it was out of reach, When it started to spin, we all said a silent pray, and just hoped it would hold, underneath that was Nick Mason, thankfully it did, Forget putting tiles on the space shuttle, they should've used Gaff'!" (Pinkfloydz.com)
A video that shows good shots of the cherry pickers in action as well as the spinning mirror fan can be viewed by clicking here.
Roger was also very particular about the inflatables and other effects happening at precisely the right time. On a bootleg of the Cleveland show he is heard saying ''NOW WERE GOING TO DO ANOTHER SONG DEDICATED TO THE CREW CALLED ''WOULDNT KNOW A CUE IF IT FELL ON YOUR FUCKING HEAD'' obviously upset that they had missed a cue in the previous song.
Jonathan Park elaborates on this there was a lot of rushing around and frantic signaling to make sure that the cues took place on time, because you couldn't hear the music. What people don't realize is that when you're back stage, you can't hear the music with the same clarity as you can out front. And if you have to do a cue on a particular beat or word or particular guitar solo, then you need to be cued by the people out on the desk (the sound board usually located in the center of the audience) who can see and hear these things. So we eventually solved this by the time we did The Wall and would have a play back system in our control desk so we could hear everything, and also a television monitor so we could also have a complete picture of what was going on. So that we could keep... so we could cue things accurately. With Pink Floyd, and with Roger in particular, EXACT cueing was absolutely required. There was nothing that would make Roger more upset than if the cues didn't take place in the right place... if they just became just an effect that didn't relate to precisely to the song. There was a moment in dogs... I can't remember the line at the moment... but if I listen to Dogs... I know... suddenly my body goes into GO mode... you know, and it's counting out 20 seconds to go... 10 seconds to go... and Go... and my fingers operate, you know my eight fingers, would go into this array which would press all the buttons one by one. (Rogerwaters.org)
I hope you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to comment or write andy thoughts or with any info that I can add to this article. I will be posting some shorter pieces in the next few months highlighting stages that have gone under the radar and have been forgotten by history.