Roger Waters in the Flesh
"So you thought you might like to go to the show."
The first (and last) time I saw Pink Floyd in concert was when they were promoting The Division Bell, in 1994. The band comprised of David
Gilmour (guitars), Nick Mason (drums), and Richard Wright (keyboards) (and a whole bunch of supporting musicians), but Roger Waters, one of
the lead architects of the band, had left years before. When I heard that Waters would be playing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View,
CA, a couple of days before it happened, I couldn't wait to "complete the circle". As usual I thought I'd go over to the venue and deal with scalpers,
but I checked at the ticket window and to my surprise was able to get surprisingly good seats in the centre section in the reserved seating area.
"To feel the warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow."
It was an amazing show that raised goose bumps (though that partly had to do with the coolness of the evening), thanks to Waters' defining vocals
and lyrics. Waters and his band opened with In the Flesh, and went on to play a most excellent set consisting of The Happiest Days of Our Lives,
Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2), Mother The Final Cut, Dogs, Pigs on the Wing (Part 1), Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (a
welcome delight), Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Wish You Were Here, Breathe, Time, Money, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Welcome to the
Machine, and Comfortably Numb.
The sound was incredible! Waters fully utilised the capability of the many speakers and often the effects were such that it seemed as though the
sound was travelling around one's head. The visuals themselves weren't the greatest (and I'm being kind). There was a screen (which looked like a
bed sheet) upon which images were constantly projected, some of which were slowly animated. This was most effective when scenes from The
Wall were shown and were most mundane with the oil-in-water type of effect.
Even though I'm very familiar with Pink Floyd, I'm not very familiar with Waters' solo material. Having heard some of it live, I have to say that it
sounds a lot like Pink Floyd (of course) and I definitely must check it out.
"Tell me is something eluding you, Sunshine? Is this not what you expected to see?"
One of the most interesting things was that Waters worked as much as any of the other musicians. He played bass and guitar throughout the show,
besides doing the vocal duties. The band, consisting of two lead guitarists, one rhythm guitarist, one keyboardist and one drummer, were competent.
The keyboard work by Jon Carin was particularly good. The guitar work wasn't as emotive as Gilmour's (how could it be?), but there were high
points (particularly in the solo to Comfortably Numb, where the guitarists played off of each other which worked brilliantly). Gilmour's playing
isn't necessarily technically hard, but it is so expressive that it is difficult to reproduce.
The backup singers were terrific! They improved on the existing tunes and were better than the ones that performed with Pink Floyd in concert.
There was a lot of jamming going on, and at times, I felt as though I was in a serious rock show compared to what one would expect from listening
to the cerebral music put out by Pink Floyd. This illustrates the nature of the music by the band: even though a lot of it is mellow, and dare I say,
spacy, parts of it are very aggressive and intense, on par with the heaviest of music.
"If you want to find out what's behind these cold eyes, you'll just have to claw your way through this disguise.
There has been a lot of talk about the rift between Waters and the other members of Pink Floyd. While I was up to now willing to give the members
of the band the benefit of the doubt (the court case he brought about against the band didn't help), I do have a new view of Waters. Waters' show
was received extremely warmly and enthusiastically by the crowd, and he's not the depressing git I thought he'd be. In fact, the performance was
quite optimistic and hopefully, almost preachy at times. Waters is a powerful and moving writer of both lyrics and music, even when he is not in his
prime. (The same also applies to Gilmour, particularly with regards to his guitar work.) The last song (the one encore) they played was a new song,
Each Small Candle, about a Serbian soldier helping an Albanian woman. This was clearly not Waters at his peak musically, but the lyrics were
poignant. What he needs to do is work on that song with Gilmour since the guitar work definitely doesn't do the song justice.
Waters mentioned during the show that he was bemoaning the fact that Pink Floyd had lost its connection with the audience (apparently he has
mentioned this at almost every show). That was certainly true when I saw them at the RFK Stadium. They put on a spectacle, but Gilmour barely
cracked a smile. I personally feel such a "connection" is over-rated. The bigger the spectacle, the better, and it pleased me to no end to see a show
where the music and the light show were bigger than the band itself. That wasn't the case with Waters--he constantly made contact with the audience,
and he definitely basked in its applause and mentioned at the end that there indeed was a connection (also said at all shows).
The reason I say all this is because it is strange to me that Waters, the conceptual mastermind of the band, would be the one to embrace a route that
favoured audience connection (as much as that can happen in a large venue like the Shoreline) compared to Gilmour and Co.
While I've not seen Pink Floyd in one of its original incarnations (I think few people can lay claim to having seen them with Syd Barrett, one of the
founding members), I am very pleased that I've seen the two major facets and in a way, that's an added plus: I get to see two of the driving forces of
the band perform the tunes live in somewhat novel ways.
» Hollywood Heavyweights Launch New Christian Music Label
» Round Hill Music And Zync Sign Madge To Joint Venture
» YG PLUS and Gracenote to Bring K-POP to Fans around the World
» Lithuanian Band Grabs Bronze at the Silk Road Indie Music Festival 2017
» HBC Fall Festival Celebrates 12 years of HBC Fest
Music Spotlight Directory
» [2018-09-16] Live Nation Electronic Asia Inks Deal With Budweiser For Creamfields Festivals; Together, Creamfields And Budweiser Will Focus On Building Entirely New Content For Dedicated Electronic Music Fans Throughout Asia
» [2018-08-23] Andy Ma Appointed Warner Music China CEO; Andy Ma Has Also Been Appointed EVP, Commercial And Business Development For Greater China
» [2018-08-23] IndieOn Connects Music To The Blockchain; IndieOn Is Confident Of Creating A "music Miner" Who Listens More And Grow Their Token Value
» [2018-06-23] The 2018 MIDEM Silk Road International Music Alliance Signing; International Music Industries Signing Of A Mutual Resource Sharing Agreement With Shanghai Conservatory Of Music & The China Records Group
» [2018-06-06] Screen Music Connect To Explore The Music Of Film, Television And Interactive Media; Created By James Hannigan, Award-winning Composer And Game Music Connect Co-founder, Screen Music Connect Builds On The Success Of The Sold-out Game Music Conferences
» [2018-06-05] Fred Casimir To Develop BMG's Global Recordings Business; As Well As Building BMG's European Infrastructure, Casimir Was Instrumental In Developing BMG's Recordings Business
» [2018-06-03] 13 Music Label Sold To MTN; DSN Music Spins Off Record Label To Albuquerque Music Entrepreneur's New Group
» [2018-06-02] CISAC 2018 Annual Report; A Comprehensive Overview Of The Confederation's Work To Serve 4 Million Creators And 239 Authors Societies Across The World
» [2018-06-02] MusicDish Announces A Love Electric 2018 China Tour; The Tour Will Crisscross Through China With 12 Shows In 8 Cities, Including Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Kunming, Jiaxin, Wuhan And Beijing
» [2018-06-02] Darcus Beese Named President Of Island Records; Renowned U.K. Music Executive To Join Universal Music Group's U.S. Label Leadership
» [2018-05-17] Avant-Garde Label Maybe Noise Launches In Beijing; The Official Launch Will Be On May 26 At Magnet Theater With A Performance Supporting Its First Vinyl Release: Píng Zè
» [2018-05-04] Award-Winning Lithuanian Rock Band Colours Of Bubbles "She Is The Darkness" 2018 China Tour; The Tour Will Kickoff In Shanghai Where The Band Will Represent Lithuania During The Country's Signing To The Silk Road Music Alliance
follow MusicDish on