“During lockdown, I made a demo of a new version of ‘Comfortably Numb’ as an opener for our new show This Is Not a Drill,” Waters said in a news release. “I pitched it a whole step down, in A Minor, to make it darker and arranged it with no solos – except over the outro chord sequence, where there is a heartrendingly beautiful female vocal solo from Shanay Johnson, one of our new singers.”
Ten musicians contributed to “Comfortably Numb 2022,” delivering strings, percussion, bass, guitar and more. Waters co-produced the track, as well as handling vocals. You can listen to the new song below.
Originally included on 1979’s The Wall before being released a single in 1980, “Comfortably Numb” remains one of Pink Floyd’s best-known songs. Its lyrics were inspired by an incident in 1977 when Waters, suffering from hepatitis, was injected with tranquilizers before taking the stage to perform. “That was the longest two hours of my life,” he later told Rolling Stone. “Trying to do a show when you can hardly lift your arm.”
“Comfortably Numb” also holds a unique place in Pink Floyd history: They closed a reunion show at Live 8 in 2005 with this song, and that would be the last performance for Pink Floyd’s classic quartet lineup. Richard Wright died three years later.
More than four decades after its release, “Comfortably Numb” is still a consistent part of Waters’ solo set lists. His This Is Not a Drill tour continues into Europe in 2023, with 40 shows across 14 countries beginning March 17 in Lisbon, Portugal.
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