Roger Waters has amassed over 250 million record sales during his stellar career. His previous The Wall live tour is still the highest grossing by any solo artist.
Never the shrinking violet, Waters’ current ongoing Us And Them global trek has courted controversy with its theme of resistance through togetherness.
Dressed all in black with matching aviator sunglasses, Waters presented a set of dark political polemics aimed at the greed and abuses of power by world leaders and global corporations. Inevitably, Trump came in for a broadside of satirical visual attacks during “Pigs” – with a flying pig daubed with anti-Trump imagery – in the second half of tonight’s set; a set which began with “Breathe” and a banging “One Of These Days” from Pink Floyd’s Meddle album.
The irresistible musical force of “Welcome To The Machine” preceded the stark, bleak nature of a choice of songs from his recent Is This The Life We Really Want? album. The pared-back arrangements on these songs jarred in contrast to the multi-layered sound effects on the Floyd material in the set.
Even so, Waters’ provocative prose on “Picture That” was a showstopping moment. The line ‘wish you were here in Guantanamo Bay’ was visually re-inforced to disturbing effect by a class of local schoolchildren. They entered the stage in orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their heads on “Another Brick In The Wall”. Guitarist Dave Kilminster played a beautiful bluesy guitar solo as the children opened their jumpsuits to reveal t-shirts with Resist emblazoned upon them. A theme that runs through this conceptualised show as Waters boils down the bones of his contentions.
After a breath-catching interval, the second set began with a blaring air raid siren heralding “Dogs” and the aforementioned “Pigs”; two of the strongest songs from Floyd’s 1977 Animals release. With a Battersea power station stage set complete with funnels smoking and glowing adding a theatrical aura to the Great Oak Stage, the cash register opening effect on “Money” revealed superb guitar playing from both Kilminster and Jonathan Wilson.
Recent album song “Smell The Roses” slotted in nicely between the final home run of Dark Side Of The Moon tracks. Stand out tour title song “Us And Them” floated ambiently out from the surround sound positioned speakers to warm effect on this hot summer evening.
The psychedelic effect provided by a pyramid of lasers shooting over the 65,000 strong crowd for set-closing number “Eclipse” provided a spectacular finale to this cutting-edge show production.
As they rejoiced in this overwhelming audio-visual sensory production, it’s clear that Waters’ fanatical followers share a solid affinity with his musical vision and narrative. And judging by their ecstatic reaction following an encore of “Comfortably Numb”, they most definitely fell into the Us camp tonight alongside this still provocative and distinguished artist.
Words: Paul Davies Photo: Jeff Moh
Event Date: 06-July-2018