Roger Waters at US Airways Center Last Night

Categories: Last Night
rogerwaters1550.jpg
Luke Holwerda
Roger Waters
Roger Waters

November 27, 2010
US Airways Center

British rocker Roger Waters performed Pink Floyd's album The Wall with style at the US Airways Center last night.

It was, indeed, a "show," as much a theatrical exercise as a musical one.

Since it's safe to say that at least most of the audience was already familiar with the context of the lyrics and the material being performed, Waters was able to largely base the show on visual storytelling. From the (totally non-anti-Semitic) symbols of society being dropped by B-52 planes during "Goodbye Blue Sky" to the captivating models shown during "Young Lust," there was so much to see. At one point, the visuals were packed with symbols of society from materialism and brand names to symbols of culture, from sex and partying to news broadcasts and images of war.

The show started off with flags that had the iconic marching hammers, along with more pyrotechnics than I've seen since Paul McCartney's performance of "Live and Let Die" earlier this year.

Throughout the set, more and more of a giant white wall was assembled in coordination with the music and its story of self-inflicted isolation. By the end of "Goodbye Cruel World," the wall was completely built, and by the end of the night it had come down.

rogerwaters2550.jpg
Luke Holwerda
Roger Waters

The imagery was intense throughout: A gigantic wide-eyed marionette monster showed itself during the performance of "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2." During the song, 12 kids wearing bold "Fear builds walls" shirts sang along with the chorus on stage and shouted, "Teacher, leave us kids alone!"

With the aid of time travel, as he said, Waters picked up an acoustic guitar and played along with a video of himself singing "Mother" at Earls Court in London in 1980.

Roger played "Don't Leave Me Now" as a spotlight solo and got everyone pumping their fists like they were at a rally. A creature that was part female, part praying mantis from the 1982 film Pink Floyd The Wall plagued the audience during the song as well.

Waters air drummed and air guitared his way through an awesome performance of "Comfortably Numb." The US Airways Center got into the spirit of an arena rock concert during "Run Like Hell."

Highlights of the show included Roger Waters pretending to fire a machine gun across the sea of people in the audience during "The Show Must Go On" and the entire arena chanting, "Tear down the wall!"

Overall, the show was a grand production of illustrating giving power to the people, and the music's underlying political theme was driven home hard accordingly. Even the intermission was a war memorial-like display of a wall covered in pictures of war heroes and fallen loved ones.

Young people came out to the show to get an experience they weren't around for in 1979, and older folks came out to relive one of their favorite albums that helped them escape their teenage angst. Regardless, everyone who came out certainly got one hell of a show.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Roger Waters at the US Airways Center.

Personal bias: Not much, other than lots of excitement before the show. Pink Floyd is a rock essential, so I was looking forward to the performance.

The crowd: Mostly white guys with long hair in their 40s and 50s wearing all black. It was also easy to spot people in leather jackets.

Overheard: "That was a concert on steroids!"

Random notebook dump: Roger and his band got a little hard to see when the wall was almost completely constructed which made it hard for some people to see part of the performance. Thankfully, that was pretty much the only low point of the show. Also, while I was thrilled that the parents sitting in front of me brought their three- or four-year-old son to the show, I felt bad for how many disturbing images that kid saw last night. Oh well.

Set list:

Set 1:
In the Flesh?
The Thin Ice
Another Brick in the Wall Part 1
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Mother
Goodbye Blue Sky
Empty Spaces
Young Lust
One of My Turns
Don't Leave Me Now
Another Brick in the Wall Part 3
Goodbye Cruel World

Set 2:
Hey You
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Vera
Bring the Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb
The Show Must Go On
In the Flesh
Run Like Hell
Waiting For the Worms
Stop
The Trial
Outside the Wall


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6 comments
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Bust It
Bust It

Great show, I wouldn't say then best I ever saw or the best to ever be because I have seen so many great performances, but it's right up there .The one thing that stands out with any performance Floyd, Rogers or Gilmour do is the sound quality. The sound engineers are amazing, Why can't every concert sound as good with out the hearing damage. I mean no ear ringing at all. Sound had pleanty of punch was clean, crisp and clear. No other rock performers have accomplished this other than the Floyd machine which Waters and Gilmour are part of. Hears to the hope of a Floyd reunion. R.I.P Sid and Richard

chri$ti@n
chri$ti@n

I was 4 when The Wall came out and was obsessed with it my junior year i mean thats the only thing i listened to over and over so this concert was a dream come true and i was blown away i have never seen a live performance that amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! bravo roger

Jim Sullivan
Jim Sullivan

I have seen two Floyd concerts previously and even though this was just Roger...holy shit...this was incredible. The plane crashing, the school master, mother and the pig.....it was cool. The air was sweet, the sound was better and it weas theater. Sure wish David and Roger could do it just one more time. Best show I ever saw. Took my 16 year old and he said"I know I will never see a concert better than this one...ever. no he wont.

Doofy9110
Doofy9110

wow! I was one of the kids!! It was amazing! Fear builds walls :D gotta love it! too bad we couldnt stay for the rest of the show but you know that was something i will never forget. Especially because i have been listening to Pink Floyd from as long as I can remember and it was always one of my LIFE LONG dreams to meet him! well i got to do that AND perform with him made it 10 times better!!!

Gcgphx
Gcgphx

I consider myself a die-hard fan. With that said, I must admit that I was left rather "wanting more" from this concert. Perhaps I have become so spoiled by previous concerts of his, but there was just something missing that I can't quite figure out. I wasn't all that impressed by the back-up singers and lead vocalists. Roger has selected WAY better ones in the past. These chosen few reminded me of American Idol contestants seeking their 15 minutes of fame. I thought the end of the show came too abruptly. It just kind of "fizzled-out". The "anticipation" of an encore or surprise bonus song, just wasn't there. It felt hollow and vacant at the very end. Perhaps that was intentional by Roger to force me to contemplate what I had just witnessed prior? I'm not mad at it at all. The stage crew and their timing of "special effects" was pure perfection. The sound throughout was excellent. Props were insane. It just lacked a certain pulse, or vibe or something? Sorry. Opinions are like assholes. We all have one.

Craig
Craig

Dream come true for this 26 year old!!! NOTHING in this show was a disappointment, nothing I will ever see in the future will top this!

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