Roger Waters Dedicates Heartfelt Performance of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” to Palestine

Former Pink Floyd bassist and co-founder Roger Waters just delivered a heartfelt performance of “Wish You Were Here” at a London benefit concert this past Friday.

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The benefit concert Stand Up For Palestine was held at St. Pancreas Church in London. The event featured a number of popular artists, including Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Lowkey, and more.

“People sometimes think ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a lament for a dead childhood friend of mine, Syd Barrett,” Roger Waters noted before kicking off the performance. “Well, guess what? Sometimes it is, but not tonight. Tonight is for Palestine. We are also engaged here tonight in part of a larger existential battle for the very soul of the human race.”

Waters’ performance kicked off at the 1:43:00 mark in the footage from the concert below. After performing “Wish You Were Here”, Waters also performed “The Bar”, an unreleased solo track that has become a staple in his setlists since 2022.

“I’m sure many of you, like me, live on the brink of tears,” Waters said during the performance. “We live on the uncomfortable edge, on the brink of tears, because we feel empathy for our brothers and sisters in Gaza and the other occupied territories in Palestine.”

The Significance of “Wish You Were Here”

“Wish You Were Here” is the title track of the band’s 1975 album of the same name. The song itself was a collaboration between Waters and current Pink Floyd member David Gilmour. Gilmour delivered the vocals on the track.

“Wish You Were Here” is by far one of the band’s most popular songs. It’s been included on lists of the greatest rock songs of all time by multiple publications. And it’s still a radio mainstay decades after its release.

Like Waters said, “Wish You Were Here” is widely believed to be about the late Syd Barrett. However, both Waters and Gilmour have offered different interpretations of the song. Waters has said that the lyrics were about himself and being present in his own life. Gilmour, on the other hand, has said that he can’t help but think about Barrett every time the song is performed. 

Regardless, it was an apt song for the benefit concert in London.

Photo by Ethan Miller

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