Pink Floyd in Moscow (1989) - The band's first performance in Russia

A landmark event for the entire USSR.

First performance of Pink Floyd in Moscow (1989)

The first Pink Floyd concert in the USSR took place on June 3, 1989. It was a significant event not only for the world of music, but also for Soviet society as a whole. For the first time in the country, rock musicians at the peak of their careers performed.


The multi-day performances of Pink Floyd, which began on June 3rd and ended on the 8th, seemed like a real miracle. Back in 1988, when the group came to the USSR on an excursion, its members were not sure that they would ever visit the country with concerts. The situation was aggravated by the exchange rate of the ruble, because of which the musicians would have to perform practically for free.

However, Gosconcert and Barrucci Leisure Enterprises Limited teamed up to organize a series of concerts in Moscow, and it caused such a huge stir that they even filmed an advertisement inviting to a concert in the city - buying tickets already turned into a fight from time to time.

Pink Floyd on tour in Moscow, 1989. Roger Waters left the band 5 years ago...
Pink Floyd on tour in Moscow, 1989. Roger Waters left the band 5 years ago.

The organization of such a large-scale concert turned out to be a new task even for the Olimpiyskiy. Employees studied technical solutions at performances in other countries, and in order to ensure their implementation on the Soviet stage, they were forced to order Western equipment. Before Pink Floyd, a plane flew to Moscow with a multi-ton cargo - props and equipment for the concert.


Only three Pink Floyd musicians arrived in Moscow. Syd Barrett and Roger Waters left the band at that time, so David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright performed at the concert.

At a press conference in Moscow. June 3, 1989
At a press conference in Moscow. June 3, 1989

On June 2, 1989, they spoke at a press conference where they were asked questions about their attitude towards the USSR, the perception of rock and the organization of upcoming concerts. At the conference, the band members emphasized that the performance in Moscow for them is, first of all, a way to share creativity, and not a commercial project.


A Momentary Lapse Of The Reason cover
A Momentary Lapse Of The Reason cover

The group came to Moscow to present the new album "The momentary lapse of reason". It was the band's first album recorded with the new line-up, without Roger Waters, and the musicians wanted to showcase it to as wide an audience as possible.

The old hits of Pink Floyd were not forgotten either, most of which the listeners knew by heart. Songs from the legendary album "The Dark Side Of The Moon" were performed here. Those who attended the concert say that the crowd sang along so actively that at times they drowned out the most powerful musical equipment.


Finding tickets for the concert almost immediately became impossible. Even the most inconvenient free space seemed to the buyer a huge success. Speculators raised the cost of overbought tickets by 10 times or more, veterans of the Afghan conflict, who were entitled to preferential purchase of tickets, sold them immediately after purchase, also significantly increasing their cost.

On the day of the first concert, a crowd of people wishing to get to it could be met already at the metro station. In the last minutes, the price of tickets increased even more and reached incredible amounts. There were not enough places in hotels - fans from all over the Union arrived in Moscow. Many initially understood that they would not get to the concert - it was enough for them to stand at the entrance to the Olimpiyskiy and, perhaps, accidentally see their favorite group.

The program made a strong impression on the listeners. It was a new level of performance: both from a vocal point of view and regarding technical solutions. Huge scenery, a light show, huge figures flying around the hall, flashes of light, heavy guitar riffs - all this was so new for the Soviet listener that many experienced a state that is called close to catharsis. It was getting harder and harder to contain the crowd. The combatants had to constantly make sure that no one got injured, but they could not completely avoid conflicts - so the crowd from the back rows still broke closer to the stage, pushing the owners of the seats bought in the front rows. Special barricades were even built to contain people, but sometimes they could not withstand the pressure of the spectators.

The enthusiasm from the performance turned out to be so strong that after the final concert in Moscow, a crowd of fans literally took the bus with the members of Pink Floyd into a cordon, and they had, against their will, to give the audience a lot of autographs.

The performance of Pink Floyd became a symbol of the changes taking place in the USSR. This event remained in the memory of the listeners not only as a bright show, but also as the beginning of the destruction of the curtain that closes the country from new cultural phenomena.

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