Tonight, progressive rock band Pink Floyd`s former bassist, lyricist, co-lead vocalist, and conceptual leader following the departure of Syd Barrett in 1968, rocks up in England`s finest second city with his latest epic 151 date World tour `Us and Them`. This segment finally reaching Europe after the tour opened on 26 May 2017 in Kansas city and is planned to roll along until it`s conclusion on 9 December 2018 in Monterrey, Mexico. This expedition is a showcase for songs from Waters’ career both with Pink Floyd and as a solo artist. But is also considered as the tour of his most recent album “Is This The Life We Really Want?”
After what felt like an indeterminable wait, the lights dim as the band take to the stage and begin with the classic `Speak To Me / Breathe` quietly opening up the show. The whole event is split into two sections and covers the Floyd masterworks from The Dark Side of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals to The Wall. The former half also includes three tracks from Water`s latest release, which blend quite nicely with the rest of the material. My all-time favourite `Wish You Were Here` is shared and the first section closes out with `Another Brick in the Wall Parts 2 & 3` which is enhanced with some local children taking to the stage dressed in Guantanamo bay prisoner outfits and singing and dancing along before uncovering and displaying t shirts with the word RESIST emblazed across the chest.
The short interval leaves the stage screen displaying a variety of statements that Waters feels quite strongly about such as on Anti-Semitism, Neo-fascism, pollution of the environment and torture. All worthy causes indeed but I find it difficult at times being lectured to, by a millionaire Rockstar who charges over a £100 a ticket for his shows and tries to peddle us shirts at £35 a pop. I like music but politics by musicians leaves me cold, just a personal quirk.
The concluding half of the show does encompass the artist`s partisan leanings with both Trump and Israel getting a fair thrashing. A double-sided screen in the shape of infamous Battersea Power Station of Animals prestige is lowered into the crowd to present the visuals for the musician`s social-political outpourings. Tracks such as `Dogs`, `Pigs` and `Money` are heightened with not only the cinematic illustrations but with an inflatable flying pig floating above the faithful. This reaffirming the album concepts where Waters saw the conditions of various classes in society as different kinds of animals: the combative dogs, the despotic ruthless pigs, and the “mindless and unquestioning herd” of sheep. The show closes out with a couple of songs that intertwine from `The Dark Side Of The Moon` with `Brain Damage` and `Eclipse` with a laser pyramid erected over the cheering crowd and an orb floating in and around. The band of splendid musicians comprising David Kilminster, Gus Seyffert, Jonathan Wilson, Drew Erikson, Bo Koster, Jon Karin, Ian Richie, Joey Waronker, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig are introduced to the frenzied audience before the show is encored with another of my much-loved songs in the shape of `Comfortably Numb`. The troupe including Waters take their bows and exit the stage to a shower of confetti with the word Resist emblazoned on it.
I have to say I did enjoy this audio-visual presentation and have no issue with the price of the ticket as it`s near enough the going rate these days and it must cost a fortune to put this spectacular show together and navigate it across the globe. But I did feel there was something missing. I`ve been fortunate enough to attend a couple of Roger Waters’ gigs before in 1987 and 2011 and maybe I’d built up too high an expectation for tonight`s event but even on reflection, I felt there was something amiss. As the Elvis Presley album states 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong, maybe 15800 Roger Waters fans can`t be wrong this evening and it`s just me.