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Concert Review: Roger Waters

For any admirer of Pink Floyd, and those who have continued to follow his solo works, the chance to see Roger Waters in concert is a no-brainer. I was fortunate to attend his first night in Boston on the Us and Them tour this past Wednesday, at the TD Garden. Playing two sets for over two hours, and never once seeming to lose energy, Roger Waters captivated the audience and kept them dancing, singing, and thinking throughout an encapsulating, awe-inspiring show.

Combining classic Pink Floyd tunes with a sampling of cuts off of his latest album, Is this the Life We Really Want?, kept the performance contemporary. Highlights off the set list include allowing his two female backup singers to take center stage in “The Great Gig in the Sky” while he grooved on the guitar behind them, and the melding of “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse”. These last songs mentioned had the same seamless sound quality of the original recordings on “Dark Side of the Moon”. The all-consuming, ethereal effect of this moment was completed with a 3-D laser triangle forming above the audience, while beams of light shot through it to recreate the album cover, to the delight and awe of the crowd.

Walters fused together the classic, psychedelic imagery that Pink Floyd has been associated with from their inception, along with similar political montages that he has brought along with him on his recent tours. These details kept fresh the famous and almost cliché Pink Floyd songs he included in his set.  The most affecting scene of this was when the screens on the stage and in the crowd projected images of Donald Trump during “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and shuffled through quotes of varying ugliness by the president, at an almost strobe-light speed.  Immediately after this overwhelming moment, he knowingly transitioned into “Money”, to laughs and applause. Throughout both of these songs, a blow-up drone meant to represent ‘the piggy bank of war’ was flying throughout the Garden. Audience members were delighted, as if everyone’s expectations had been met and exceeded.

Waters seemed to enjoy himself, despite a grueling tour schedule that will last over a year. During “Another Brick in the Wall” parts 1 and 2, he brought out middle school aged children dressed in orange prison jumpsuits that they later tore off to reveal black shirts reading ‘RESIST’.  Despite only meeting them that afternoon, he happily danced backup to their choreography and ensured that they all departed the stage with a fist pound from him. The only time he stopped the music to speak during the show was to thank the children and their parents for allowing them to participate in his show. He then went on to make a point about freedom of speech and unity, which he concluded by kneeling for one minute.

I do not think it is exaggeration to call Water’s Us and Them the best concert I have seen in my life. This sentiment echoed around the stadium, and was reinforced with every flash of light and pitch-perfect note achieved. Waters and his touring band met the audience with enthusiasm and poise and treated The Garden to a wholly immersive night.

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