Song Thoughts: Comfortably Numb

       The friendships that last for decades are truly precious. I’ve known my dear friends, Ruth and her husband Mark, for over forty years (Really? It’s been that long?!). In a recent conversation, she reminded me that the song “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd is one of her favorites. 
“Throw me a song!”, read my text.
“There are too many out there to choose! Okay, here’s one: Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb,” came her texted reply!
Not surprising to me as we share a lot of the same musical tastes and have musical history together. In fact Mark used to be the lighting engineer for a band called Astra and he let me hang out and help with some roadie duties once or twice! And she can correct me if I have a faulty memory, but I am sure she was part of the group that made the drive into AT Town and saw the 1982 movie “Pink Floyd The Wall” together back in the day!
Great song “Comfortably Numb”. The lyrics, written by Roger Waters, weave us through childhood anxieties to the pressures of being an adult floating on a most surreal and singable melody. And, of course, the bookend guitar solos by Davild Gilmour are seared with emotion. Those two solos are epic and the second solo in the song is often at the top of lists of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded. I never had the opportunity to hear Pink Floyd live, but I did attend a 2010 Roger Waters show in Oakland, California. Melissa and I had a great time and Waters performed "The Wall" in its entirety. No Gilmour for "Comfortably Numb", but it still rocked!
As we talked of late, Ruth and I reminisced about those old school days in Kansas, how our families are doing, and how the world has changed since those times. Perhaps that is why, out of so many out there to choose, that “Comfortably Numb” rose to the top. It is a type of reminiscence, in a way. The perceived notion is that the song is about drug use, but Waters has stated for the record that it is not a song about using drugs, but a song about childhood illness and experiences and how those experiences affected his adult life.
I can’t speak for Ruth, but when I’m overcome with stress and anxiety, I often don the headphones and plug into Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” as a way to escape the present reality. Living overseas away from family and friends can be a stressful and lonely experience and sometimes all we have is music to lean on. It is comforting to know the people we share history with rely on that same music as a vehicle to the past. “The child has grown and the dream is gone”…BUT they remember! Roll the sound effects!

© 2022 Gregory Vessar. A Thousand Miles from Kansas. All Rights Reserved.

Pink Floyd performs “Comfortably Numb” in 2005 at London’s Hyde Park. Courtesy of the Pink Floyd Channel.
My t-shirt from the Roger Waters tour.
Categories: Friendship, MusicTags: , , ,

1 comment

  1. I saw that Roger Waters show, too. Best concert ever!

    Liked by 1 person

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