Roger Waters In The Flesh
Monday 24th June 2002
The Point Depot
There's a chance that any die-hard Roger Waters/Pink Floyd fans might want to stop reading about now.
This was another Dr. J recommended gig, and I was looking forward to seeing the great Roger Waters in person. Dr. J had been through a serious Pink Floyd phase many years ago so I was aware of the band's significance. I was familiar with the "popular" Pink Floyd tunes, but had never listened to one of their albums all the way through. This would effect my interpretation of the concert in question.
We went to The Point early, intending to go front row so we could lean on the friendly metal bars (to take the load off our feet). It seems that we didn't go early enough, and "the others" had already arrived in great numbers. We still managed to walk straight up and stand in "second row" position. The view was perfect, but our knees got a bit of a hammering.
Atmosphere: was weird. What is it about The Point these days? Furthermore, why was this gig attended by so many Americans? Call us cynical, but we spent a reasonable amount of time bitching, although there were also the usual "concert" discussions, and then we cursed a little just for fun. The crowd was odd, with too much dedication floating around for my liking. I admit that I've been to plenty of other "we love you" gigs, but when you're not in touch with the band it's alienating. Double standards aside, it was a little weird.
The band came out first, and Roger walked out a second later along the raised platform at the back of the stage. He looks just like Richard Gere. Its uncanny.
But he looked well, looked lively, and somehow his voice seemed in excellent condition. The band were pro, but didnt excite me greatly. They werent as pro as Brian Wilsons band, and seemed to lack the vitality and life of bands like The Attractions and Ron Sexsmiths band. But they were good and started off with some perfect tracks like "The Wall". I was pretty impressed
They really did play forever. And if you dont really know Pink Floyd, forever is a very, very, very long time. Songs would start, then travel to some separate land of Floydian Music, and then Id forget what song was being played, only to realise (about ten brain minutes later) that they were actually playing the same damn song. And I think they did this a couple of times. Admittedly, the fans seemed to love it, but I was getting slight scares from the guy playing air-guitar in front of me, whilst Dr. J was receiving a serious gas warfare attack from some guy to his right. I could smell him too, and for a young guy he was pumping serious air.
Yeah. Then there was an interval before they came back and played their (holy shit) "second set". The second set was a nice thing to do, and Roger gave these people serious bang for the hefty buck that the tickets cost. During this interval the folks to our right (including the guy who stank) actually cracked some BO jokes on a separate matter. We couldnt believe it, although by then we were openly discussing how bad he stank, but substituting the word "stinks" with "Rocks!!!". It passed the time
The second set was "Dark Side of the Moon". I dont really know this album either. They played and played and played, and I think they did some of that time travel shit again, blurring the boundaries of my reality with confusingly long guitar solos. Roger, in case I didnt mention it, might be out of his mind. At the very least he lives in a world that many of us dont occupy. I think its probably a more enjoyable world that the one Im in.
blah blah blah, it did actually manage to get weirder. They produced a fantastic "Spinal Tap" moment by raising a giant flat multi-faceted "Ultimate Mirror Ball" slowly on the rear stage wall. Now this was just a little too retro for me, and normally Im one who welcomes mirror ball visits. The crowning moment was the finale guitar solo. Both guitarists ended up on the raised (about ten feet) platform at the back of the stage doing a (wait for it) Guitar Dual (with alternating spotlights). Great guitar playing, but a little over my head.
Anyhoo. Roger Waters. It was a good gig, but you really had to like Pink Floyd and Roger Waters prior to going. Im sure I just didnt understand what was happening and had no appreciation for the music, but all I do here is tell how the gig was for me. If anyone was at this gig and wants to tell how it was from the other point of view mail it in and Ill put it up.
And tomorrow Im going to see David Byrne from Talking Heads.
Im reasonably confident that hell kick ass.