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ROGER WATERS Liverpool Echo Arena 15 May 2008
Which one is Rog?
First of all a confession. I first went to see Floyd play at the Liverpool
Empire in 1975, so it was a belated return for the Floyd impresario. Many of a
certain age will still get dewy eyed that those four chums fell out over
contractual handbags at dawn. But the best way to view such inconvenience to
your listening pleasure is to review your own hissy fits over the years and then
multiply that by the stresses and strains of running a business empire.
For an artist as politically charged as Roger Waters, it’s little wonder that
Floyd survived as a creative four piece until Animals. In a sense Dark Side of
the Moon which we came to witness in its entirety tonight ended Pink Floyd as a
I sat for the first time Liverpool’s new showpiece 10,000 capacity waterfront
Liverpool Echo Arena with an open mind about what to expect from the more
abrasive force in the Pink Floyd chemistry. Now one thing I didn’t expect was a
stage show. Dunno why. I’d just got it into my head that Waters, like Gilmour,
had decided that age and circumspection had led to a more sedate waterfall of
I'd always seen Gilmour and Waters a similar yin and yan balance as Lennon and
McCartney. Anyway, the yin part put on a show of immaculate dexterity and
co-ordination, if a little self indulgent at times. But that's our Roger in a
nutshell. The Hannibal Lecter of rock. Would we have him any other way?
The backdrop, the cornerstone of Pink Floyd iconography, showed a forties style
radio, a bottle of bourbon and a model bomber sitting precariously on top. As
the lights went down, a hand (ours?) reached out for the dial to alter the
station. Elvis kicked in and then…Abba. A cheer went up when the hand swiftly
grasped the dial to spare us from Dancing Queen. Radio KAOS. Tongue in Cheek.
Very Rog. Very Floyd. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.
Early in the first half we welcomed a very considered and orchestral treatment
of Set the Controls which lit up these eyes, especially as it was punctuated by
some rare footage of the four piece Floyd with Syd Barrett still being revered
as the dynasty's first pharaoh. Leaving Beirut was never designed to be a crowd
pleaser but those whose obsession wasn't to grab another three scoops from the
bar, stuck around to discover that Roger's politics may be sourced in the mind
of 17 year old who was touched by the generosity of a challenged Lebanese
When the Tigers Broke Free and Fletcher Memorial Home further underlined Water's
approach to the establishment and its propensity to wage wars and scar families
for life. Sheep was a reminder that Waters' intention was always to concentrate
on disturbing us. Apart from one or two gems, the Waterless Pink Floyd lost that
Roger Waters was the first punk. Discuss.
For Wish You Were Here, Have a Cigar and Shine, Waters was more than happy to
intersperse vocal chapters with the amazingly talented ten piece band which
included lieutenant from The Wall, Snowy White and the rock star stance of Dave
Kilminster. If I have a criticism and a compliment at the same time, Kilminster
handled Gilmour's vocal passages and guitar signatures with immaculate aplomb.
But perhaps some of his own interpretations might have added to the mix.
A graffiti pig, and an astronaut enjoyed a journey across the whooping
Liverpudlians who were trying to catch them before they landed safely back
stage. The European Capital of Culture was in full swing.
And so to that album Dark Side of the Moon. Even a satirist like Waters could
never have expected that 10,000 people could sing every word to every track
except On the Run of course. Although not to be denied his contribution to the
ensemble during the sequencer classic, I did witness one inebriated punter going
Whatever our social backgrounds, our football teams, our age group, our
political allegiances and our musical tastes Dark remains a reference point for
any of us who have been cast aside during life's rocky journey. Doesn't that
include all of us? It was delivered with the reverence it undoubtedly deserves
by the handpicked team of musicians and techies on duty.
It would have taken a martian not to predict that Another Brick in the Wall and
Comfortably Numb would provide the encores. It came to pass on that balmy night
in Liverpool that Roger Waters can make humans laugh and cry within eight bars
of each other. And that's what made Bach, Mozart, Puccini and Beethoven
Review by Keith Thompson
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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty
damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly
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