Performing in Moscow with Pink Floyd was the absolute highlight for me. Traveling to Moscow in 1989 was a big deal. The country was still very new to Westerners and there was clearly a huge divide between the rich, the privileged and the poor. Our hotel had 3,000 rooms and although it’s no longer there, at the time it was the place where everyone stayed when visiting Moscow. There was nothing elegant about it and the technology (TV & radio) looked like something out of the 1950s, as did the cars.
Left: NICK MASON, DAVID GILMOUR, RICK WRIGHT- MOSCOW AIRPORT
Middle: DAVID GILMOUR, MARK BRICKMAN, SCOTT PAGE, DURGA, LORELEI - SHOW TICKET
Right: NICK MASON
I was told the government had spent so much money on the military, everything else suffered, including electronic technology available to the public. The most difficult thing for us was the water. There was no real filtration so when I drew a bath the first night there, it smelled rather foul. None of us bathed except with bottled water we had on our trucks, so by the time we got to Finland a few days later, we all ran for the showers. The Russian government even removed our visas when we left the country. I will never forget Durga and I leaving our change for an old woman bussing tables at a local burger joint. You would have thought she’d won the lottery. Back then people stood in bread lines. Meat was a precious community that most common people could not afford. People kept asking us for Levis to sell on the black market. The promoters hosted a special dinner for the band. It was an amazing cornucopia of gourmet delights including exquisite caviar, the finest vodka: the food seemed endless. It was hard to justify knowing the level of poverty existing out in the streets.
PINK FLOYD IN MOSCOW - LORELEI MCBROOM, DURGA MCBROOM, RACHEL FURY
When I went back to Moscow with the Aussies in 2013, it was completely different. Everything was far more modern, including the plumbing . The hardest thing about playing Moscow is the class divide. I’d been back with Rod Stewart in 2010 and I observed the same thing. The wealthy got all the good seats. The promoters charged so much for tickets, the common punters had to sit in the back of the arena. At the Aussie Floyd shows we played Moscow and St Petersburg. The crowds at the back of the room were so excited and I wished the Aussies had the clout to do what Pink Floyd had done. They forced the promoters to let “the little people” come to the front of the room during the second half of the show. It brought us to tears to feel the energy of their joy! The hats we wore in the famous photo above (seen in Nick Mason’s book “Inside Out - A Personal History of Pink Floyd”) were tossed to us by the police and military men in the crowd. They also threw money at us during the song “Money”. It was a remarkable experience. We all perform to make people happy and that we did! I knew we’d done the same for those who came to see the Aussies.
What was it like touring with Pink Floyd? Top drawer! We flew everywhere (with the exception of one bus trip in Italy), stayed in 5 star hotels and I never touched my bags except after they’d been delivered to my room. While in Italy, David Gilmour took Durga and I on his private plane which he piloted. They were absolutely lovely people and I loved everything about it, especially singing with my little sister Durga who made me so very proud! At that time I was a bit preoccupied with wanting to get another record deal, and I was far more shy than most of my band mates understood at that time. The guys were very outgoing and had a British wit I wasn’t really familiar with. Durga has always had a great sense of humor and got on very well with them all especially Guy and Rick. They all treated me with respect none the less. I got on especially well with Jon Carin and Gary Wallis. Rachel, Durga and I had a good rapport, thankfully. Backing singer drama can be a challenge, as I was to discover later in my career touring with the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart.