Concert Review with PHOTOS: Roger Waters

Photos by Stephen Boxshall

Photos by Stephen Boxshall

By Jason Beardsley

Artist: Roger Waters

Date / Venue: Saturday February 10th, 2018 - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

‘Mother do you think they’ll drop the bomb?’.

After all these years, the lyrics and album concepts of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd remain relevant in todays society. Probably more so than ever. Timing is everything and the timing could not be better for Roger Waters to bring his ‘Us and Them’ world tour to Australia. Resistance is the key word that would be used to describe what the activist in Roger Waters is trying to achieve with this tour. Coincidentally, these very words flash across the giant screen at the back of the stage at the end of ‘Another Brick In The Wall’, concluding the end of Act One. In his own words Roger Waters hopes this will be an exercise in resistance, not just toward Donald Trump, but to all the despots, dictators and thieves.

Anyway to put the political side of things on the back burner for now (I tend to get caught up in and excited about these things), any musicians I have been lucky enough to meet over the years have been influenced by Pink Floyd and the songwriting god himself, Roger Waters. The first time you listen to Pink Floyd it is a spiritual and somewhat religious experience, and thats without the drugs normally synonymous with music from that era.

Would my first and potentially once in a lifetime live Roger Waters experience be the same? Yes indeed, it was that and more.

As the many generations of fans enter Rod Laver Arena the blissful sounds of the ocean and wind swirl around the arena. After the stress of battling all the traffic with the near 100,000 patrons heading into the Melbourne Olympic Parks precinct tonight for all the major events on offer, I close my eyes and these soundscapes immediately cleanse any remaining stress and anxiety in my heart and soul. On the big screen a lonely cut figure sits looking out into the distance towards the ocean. My mind wanders as I try to piece together what story is starting to unfold here before the soundscapes and vocal chants of ‘Breathe’ and ‘Speak To Me’ ring out through the arena.

The opening act is a monster, drawing a tale of a dystopian nightmare. At the age of 74, Roger Waters has a fire in his gut, maybe more intense now than back in the 70’s. The audience respond with fists in the air and jubilation at the spectacle unfolding in front of our eyes. The set takes us on a journey through hits such as ‘Time’, The Great Gig In The Sky’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’, the latter of which is very special to me after spending many days growing up with my best friend with this very song turned up to full volume after his move down under from the United States of America.

There are no breaks between songs, no silence, just theatrics and sensory overload with a spectacular set design featuring a captivating light show and film projections.

Act One ends with the famous ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ parts 2 and 3, the soundtrack to many youths and featured a glowing performance by Melbourne’s Girls Rock!, a group of youths from a not for profit organisation that aims to empower females, trans and gender diverse people through music and education.

After a short intermission, chaos envelops the airwaves as the sound of gun fire, sirens and helicopters rains down upon us, ushering fans back to their seats in a less than orderly fashion.

Lights and Sirens kick into overdrive before a wall with a pig on top drops down from the ceiling. Act two kicks of the way the night began in a politically motivated and tense hit list of ‘Dogs’ and ‘Pigs (Three Different Ones)’ featuring anti trump clips projected onto the Wall, including some of his now infamous quotes made in recent times as well as images of the Donald in some rather raunchy and less than flattering attire, ‘Haha Charade you are! and when your hand is on your heart you’re nearly a good laugh’.

Roger Waters is surrounded by some of the most talented and hard working musicians around and is simply inspiring and motivating. The music takes you on a journey. A place for soul searching and personal enlightenment. If music written and performed in this way doesn't move you and connect with you in some way you must not have a pulse. The music of Pink Floyd and the legacy of Roger Waters will live on forever such is the timeless nature of these masterpieces.

Tears stream down my face as the set concludes with the earth moving and tear jerking Comfortably Numb, performed with Harmonies and guitar solos that only the god of all gods could create, or so I thought, and I have become Comfortably Numb.