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About Roger Waters

Roger Waters was co-founder of Pink Floyd. He was the lead singer, bass player and wrote many of Floyd's hits while he was with the band. Waters messages in his songs are as important to him as the music and he is one of those rare musicians who is more than a musician, but an artist, poet, social and political commentator, and is as talented in music as he is in writing. Roger Waters and Pink Floyd were one of the biggest bands of all time, often put in the same group as the Rolling Stones and the Who. They're famous for a number of huge commercial album successes such as The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals.

Pink Floyd broke up because of personal differences - they were at each other's throats - in 1985. A court battle ensued, and David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright settled out of court to keep the name 'Pink Floyd'.

But Roger's solo career after Pink Floyd broke up was equally as prodigious, philosophical, creative and artful, while unfortunately not enjoying as much commercial success as Floyd's. Roger Waters' best solo albums were Radio Kaos, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking, and Amused to Death. If you haven't really listed to Pink Floyd's lyrics and messages, or are not familiar with Roger's solo albums, check them out, he is awesome.

 

Roger Water Concert Review for Waters' 2006 Concert Tour

As my buddy and I were leaving the Roger Waters concert this past Saturday night at the Tweeter Center (Boston) he turned to me and said, “I came thinking I was gonna see Waters, but I’m leaving knowing that I saw Floyd.” We realized once again, or were reminded really, that Waters was the beating heart of Pink Floyd.

We also agreed that Saturday night’s performance was the best live concert either of us has ever been to. And that’s a bold statement coming from two guys who have spent a small fortune on concert tickets.

While reading this review, bear in mind that Roger Waters is one of my all-time favorite artists. But even if I attempt to take a more objective viewpoint of the show, however difficult that is, I can see that it was truly extraordinary, a delight to both my eyes and ears.

Sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and politics were the name of the game Saturday night. First off, the stage had a gigantic movie screen behind it that played various movies, montages, images of joint smoking, still cartoons with word bubbles, war scenes, naked breasts, and a film shot specially for the show, featuring an old-school radio, an ever growing pile of butts in an ashtray, and a dude with straggly hair looking at the least pensive, and at the most, well …, wasted.

What made the screen so cool besides its hugeness was constant addition of actual things in front of what was showing on the screen, adding a neat 3D effect. For example, when a guy would be smoking a cigarette in the movie, real smoke machines were pumping smoke up at the top of the stage and screen so you didn't know where the real smoke ended and the smoke on the screen began. Or when there were scenes of deep space, with nefarious nebula and glowing stars adrift, actual shimmering bits of paper descended slowly from the ceiling of the venue, adding to the surreal scene.

In another cosmic scene, floating space-suited men working on a space-station on screen were accompanied by an MTV-like real man in a space suit floating out over the stage. Well, not real like a live person, but a still pretty cool.

If the visuals were a grenade, then the music was a nuclear bomb. The choice of songs was fantastic, the sound quality rocked, and the performances were awesome. Roger and his entire backup band sounded incredible.

The three black backup singers sang their hearts out and sounded like angels. When one of the Soul Sisters sang 'The Great Gig In The Sky', her performance was outstanding, and sounded like a better female orgasm than Meg Ryan's 'When Harry Met Sally' performance any day of the week. Waters stayed true to the quality of the recorded versions of the songs with the live performances, which was a treat.

Here Roger Waters' first half's set list (2006 concert tour):

  • In The Flesh
  • Mother
  • Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun
  • The Final Cut
  • Fletcher Memorial Home
  • Pigs
  • Perfect Sense, Part I
  • Perfect Sense, Part II
  • Leaving  Beirut (watch the YouTube video of this song performed live)
  • Have a Cigar
  • Wish You Were Here
  • Shine On You Crazy Diamond
 

One of the really cool things about the music was that all the sound bites and effects that you hear on the albums were recreated perfectly live.

There were some really interesting anti-Bush things going on in the show as well. Roger sure doesn't like ole' George W, that's for sure. For instance, when they performed Pigs, two guys ran out into the audience holding on to ropes flying a gigantic pink pig the size of a bus. The front guy was in a butcher's bloody outfit, holding a huge knife and screaming bloody murder. There was graffiti written all over the pig like "vote Democrat on Nov. 2". And smack dab in the middle of the floating pig's butt was written "Bush". Hmmm, I wonder what they were trying to say with that one?

When they made it to the lawn, they released the pig into the night sky. I can't help but wonder what will happen in that pig's wake. Maybe there'll be a couple bickering about the mid-term elections. The man will be screaming, "I'll vote Democrat when pigs fly!" as the pig floats by their bedroom window.

Waters performed one new original song called 'Leaving Beirut' which was about a trip a friend and he took when he was much younger. They got stranded in Lebanon and Roger was taken in by a poor family for a night. The song is more than just about those events, however. Waters' genius lies in his ability to combine music and poetry, and deliver a message that hits home in a way that no other thing can.

This song asks if these are the people we want to be bombing, referring to the kind Lebanese family that brought him in. It asks if the wars in the Middle East are our pleasure, punishment or crime? And it takes a no-holds-barred, blunt, unabashed and unshakable stance on Bush and the Christian Right. Check out these lyrics:

Oh, George... oh, George...
That Texas education must have fucked you up
When you were very small..."

"America.... America...
You've got freedom of Speech, and great beaches
Wildernesses and malls...
Don't let the might of the Christian Right,
Fuck it all up for you
And the rest of the World..."

These lines brought a huge cheer from the crowd. One of the cool things about this song was what was going on in the big screen behind the band. The story was being recreated in a cartoon storyboard complete with text bubbles over the heads of the characters. And all the lyrics to the song were written out in the bubbles.

The second set was even better than the first. Roger and company played 'The Dark Side of the Moon' in its entirety. As the music began, the corresponding image on the big screen was a large circle with extremely psychedelic imagery pulsating, throbbing, shape-shifting, and blending colors spanning the entire rainbow. Staring down and into that massive mesmerizing circle as Dark Side began almost triggered a 60's flashback.

Both 'Time' and 'Money' were played well, but they were originally sung by David Gilmore, so the guys in Waters' backup band who sang them just didn't sound the same. I am also a big Pink Floyd fan, and although the show was wonderful on many levels, the one complaint I had was that a few of the tunes could have been only improved by Gilmore's voice, and especially his six-string. In fact, there were two lead guitarists, and I couldn't think of a better tribute to David.

'Us and Them' gave me chills it was so good. The imagery on the background big screen was of all kinds of war-torn lands and peoples. There was a recurring image of a middle-eastern child getting his head bandaged in the midst of rubble. And not for the first time that night, watching this made me sad.

Except for his new tune, many of the songs Roger wrote and performed for us Saturday night were written about people and events long in our past, such as World War I and II, the Cold War and Ronald Reagan. These songs were about how horrible war is, how it doesn't solve anything, and how ridiculous violence is for a solution. Yet history just continuously repeats itself.

What made me sad was that these songs applied to the events of today as much as they did to the events Waters originally wrote about. Just change the time and place, but actions seem to remain the same.

When 'Brain Damage' and 'Eclipse' were performed, I again got chills but I realized we were nearing the end of the concert, which really bummed me out. And they did indeed take a bow after Dark Side was completed and left the stage.

The crowd cheered for more and I couldn't believe how many people hauled out their lighters to shine them like it was Woodstock. As I was contemplating whether that many people still smoked or not, Roger and his band got back on stage and played 'Another Brick in the Wall', 'Vera' and ended with 'Comfortably Numb'.

When it was all over my buddy and I walked out of there shell-shocked. Both of us were speechless for a few minutes as we trudged back to our car. I'm not sure, but somewhere along the way we both looked at each other and agreed that we'd catch another one of Roger Waters' shows before this tour wraps up. It was just too good to experience only once.

 

Roger Waters to Recreate The Wall (announced in 2010)

Incorporating his Pink Floyd heyday into his solo career, Roger Waters will tour this summer when he recreates the band's iconic album The Wall some 30 years later. Waters similarly centered a 2007-08 tour around The Dark Side of The Moon.

The Waters' Wall tour covers 36 different cities in North America. Beginning September 15 in Toronto, Waters will quickly double the previous 31 live performances of The Wall. Staging for the concerts involves a 240-foot wide, 35-foot tall wall which will be erected and torn down during the show at every venue.

One of the few back-to-back bookings puts Waters in Las Vegas on November 26 and Phoenix the following day where The Wall Tour's production team will have to make hay in their turnaround.

The 1979 album is considered by many fans and critics alike to be one of the greatest recordings of all time. Revolving around a young musician in crisis as the protagonist figure, The Wall topped the charts for nearly four months and sold over 23 million copies.

"I started to think that maybe there is something in the story of The Wall, which is about this one guy... that could be seen as an allegory for the way nations behave towards one another, or religions behave towards one another," Waters explained to Billboard.com. "In other words, could the piece be developed to describe a broader, more universal condition than we did in 1980 and I did in 1990 in Berlin? And so I started jotting a few things down on paper, and eventually I said, 'Y'know what? I'm gonna do this...' "

After the North American run finishes, Waters will take The Wall Tour to Europe in the early parts of 2011. Beyond that horizon, he's hoping to travel to other places, including South America. No matter the location, the production, in general, will be more akin to the original Pink Floyd vision than latter-day adaptations.

"Because it's so visual, it means playing to clicks a lot," Waters says. "I personally don't mind that. I'm happy to sacrifice the freedom of guitar players flailing about, doing anything they want, on the altar of creating a show that moves people and that's political and so on. It's a piece of theater, so it has to be controlled...The lighting and the visual content has to be in sync with the music that we're making. That doesn't worry me at all."

No doubt die-hard fans won't mind it either.

 

 

Roger Waters, The Wall Live Tour To Feature David Gilmour For One Night Only (2010 tour)

It's not quite as good as how Ozzy Osbourne hired Randy Rhoads or the coin toss between Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival, but it's close.

The story of how Roger Waters got David Gilmour to make one surprise appearance on his upcoming The Wall Live Tour is a classic rock and roll tale.

Gilmour had asked Waters to sing Phil Spector's "To Know Him is to Love Him" at a charity event.  The song was a tongue-in-cheek homage to the duo's rocky relationship.

Waters liked the idea of the song but not the idea of singing it.  He instead offered to perform "Comfortably Numb" and "Wish You Were Here."

However, Gilmour was relentless.  He spent weeks trying to to convince Waters to sing the Spector song but to no avail.  Waters was just too afraid of what he might do to the classic pop number. 

With the charity event looming, Gilmour made one final attempt to secure the services of his former Pink Floyd bandmate.

Here's the final sales pitch as described by Waters:

"[Gilmour said] 'If you do "To Know Him Is To Love Him" for The Hoping Foundation Gig, I’ll come and do "‘C. Numb" on one of your Wall shows'.  Well!  You could have knocked me down with a feather.  How f***ing cool!  I was blown away.  How could I refuse such an offer.  I couldn’t, there was no way.  Generosity trumped fear.  And so explaining that I would probably be s***, but if he didn’t mind I didn’t, I agreed and the rest is history.  We did it, and it was f***ing great.  End of story."

Yes, that is F***ing great.  In fact, there aren't enough "*" to show just how great it is.  When Gilmour joins Waters on The Wall Live Tour it will be just the third time the two legends of rock have performed together since their bitter split in the early 1980's.

Basically, buying a ticket to see Roger Waters perform The Wall Live in concert is like entering the lottery.  That's because Gilmour has yet to announce which show he'll be performing. 

After a three month break, Waters launches the European leg.  The string of concerts begins March 21 in Lisbon, Portugal.  The final Wall show, perhaps of all-time, is set for Düsseldorf, Germany on June 18.

Gilmour could appear at any of nearly 100 concerts.  Of course a few cities are more likely than others to witness the duo's reunion. 

Toronto is a good candidate as well as London, Gilmour's home town. 

The internet seems convinced that the western quadrant of the United States, including Texas, is out.  If that's true, that means no chance of seeing Gilmour when Roger Waters plays the Hollywood Bowl or the Roger Waters show in Houston, Texas.

That also means no luck for those with tickets to see Rogers Waters in Las Vegas.

We predict Gilmour will show up at the London concert—even someone as cool as Gilmour will take the path of least resistance when it comes to traveling.  Why fly to a show when you can drive?

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