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Roger Waters

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Posted (edited)

T-Mobile Arena - Las Vegas, NV. Friday 6/16/17

T-Mobile Arena - Las Vegas, NV. Friday, 6/16/17

Edited by luvlz2

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Take the Stage Las Vegas Spotlight Kids Performing with Roger Waters

T-Mobile Arena - Las Vegas, NV. Friday, 6/16/17

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Roger Waters performs Us + Them tour in T-Mobile Arena

By Robin Leach Niche Division of Las Vegas Review-Journal

June 20, 2017

 

Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd, brought his angry Us + Them tour to the T-Mobile Arena and contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was up front to capture the outrage as Roger let loose his flying inflatable pig and on his new solo album "Is This The Life We Really Want."

 

Don't expect Donald Trump fans to welcome Roger with open arms. As great a guitarist and lyricist that he is, Roger mixes some pretty dark accusations at President Donald Trump who turned up as a cartoonish image on the pig balloon. Roger even slams The Donald over his Atlantic City casinos in "Money" from "The Dark Side of the Moon."

 

It's a bruising attack on America's 45th president -- yet one that didn't seem to upset the fans that packed our stadium here. One critic went as far as calling it an "onstage skewering of the president." Fans of Roger and Donald in other cities may side more with the president than they did here. Roger certainly speaks his mind through the music to topple the walls of politics.

 

However, he's still a pop-music superstar albeit a renegade and as our photographer said "He does make incredible music and the fans loved it."

Las Vegas Review-Journal

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7 hours ago, luvlz2 said:

Roger Waters performs Us + Them tour in T-Mobile Arena

By Robin Leach Niche Division of Las Vegas Review-Journal

June 20, 2017

 

Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd, brought his angry Us + Them tour to the T-Mobile Arena and contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was up front to capture the outrage as Roger let loose his flying inflatable pig and on his new solo album "Is This The Life We Really Want."

 

Don't expect Donald Trump fans to welcome Roger with open arms. As great a guitarist and lyricist that he is, Roger mixes some pretty dark accusations at President Donald Trump who turned up as a cartoonish image on the pig balloon. Roger even slams The Donald over his Atlantic City casinos in "Money" from "The Dark Side of the Moon."

 

It's a bruising attack on America's 45th president -- yet one that didn't seem to upset the fans that packed our stadium here. One critic went as far as calling it an "onstage skewering of the president." Fans of Roger and Donald in other cities may side more with the president than they did here. Roger certainly speaks his mind through the music to topple the walls of politics.

 

However, he's still a pop-music superstar albeit a renegade and as our photographer said "He does make incredible music and the fans loved it."

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Oh come on, does this reviewer not get satire that by the way is all in the visuals, nothing has changed in the music/lyrics. A blind concert goer would not have a clue Trump was being mocked. 

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FIVE THOUGHTS: ROGER WATERS AT T-MOBILE ARENA (JUNE 16)

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Roger Waters performs at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas on Friday, June 16, 2017.

1. Roger Waters has no trouble leveling a crowd. He's accomplished it through masterful musical execution (his live recreation of Pink Floyd's 1973's Dark Side of the Moon album exactly 10 years ago at MGM Grand Garden Arena), jaw-dropping visual spectacle (his 2010 gig at the same venue for his reinterpretation of another Floyd tour de force, 1979's The Wall) and, as evidenced June 16 at T-Mobile Arena, grandiose thematic presentation. No matter your political views, Friday's 140-minute presentation was such a broadside of political invective and social criticism that it's impossible to fathom anyone having left the arena unprovoked in some manner. It's also hard to imagine a show more relevant to or reflective of our turbulent times. Surely many among the nearly sold-out crowd sought musical escape, but instead they got catharsis.

 

2. Of all the subjects addressed and projected during the show--which included economic disparity, drone warfare, the refugee crisis, among others--none burned an impression more than Waters' lacerating disparagement of Donald Trump. During a fiery suite compromised of "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Money," the former Floyd songwriter/bassist/vocalist skewered the billionaire president with perverted, Warholian imagery (Trump giving the Nazi salute, holding a giant dildo, wearing a Ku Klux klan outfit, driving a child's Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, et cetera), a slideshow demonstrating human greed, a barrage of embarrassing tweets and a giant, screen-filled projection of the phrase "Trump is a pig," the  latter earning one of the loudest roars of the night.

 

If more conservative onlookers closed their eyes, they would have least been able to appreciate the skillful work of pianist/organist Drew Erickson and keyboardist Jon Carin, Waters' steady basslines and, especially during "Money," that sax solo from Ian Ritchie. But then they would have missed the iconic, inflatable pig--branded with an image of Trump and the words "welcome to the machine" and "piggy bank of war" -- looping the arena above the crowd.

 

3. The drone-controlled blimps and omnipresent screens--one backdropping and spanning the entire stage, and several shifting above and bisecting the arena audience, often taking the shape/look of England's Battersea Power Station (depicted on the cover of 1977's Animals) -- dominated a stunning production display that would seem to have no equal in live music. Waters used the enormous, high-resolution stage screen to show either simple images (a woman on a beach used multiple times, a mesmerizing tapestry of stars during "The Great Gig in the Sky"), illustrated graphics (the cascading clocks during a rollicking "Time") or videos complementing the songs' narratives (harrowing and cross-haired drone footage during the new "Deja Vu"). The laser-and-light recreation of the prism from Dark Side during "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse" was particularly stunning. And even Waters himself isn't above a confetti drop, though he subverted the practice by printing the word "RESIST" onto his pink tissue slips.

 

4. Normally, all that would be enough to overwhelm the rest of the show. But Waters never lets the audible element play second fiddle to the visuals--and the surround-sound system he has employed for this tour makes sure of it. The impulse to turn around and see where various samples and recordings were coming from arose several times during the show. The clarity of the acoustic guitars featured in "Wish You Were Here," "Vera" and "Bring the Boys Back Home" brought intimacy to the cavernous T-Mobile. You could easily discern each guitar during the exhilarating instrumental "One of These Days." And there was no straining to understand Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig (who comprise the remarkable duo Lucius) during their rafter-busting, wordless vocal passage in "The Great Gig in the Sky,' enhanced by Erickson's gorgeous piano melodies.

 

5. Anyone looking for Waters to take a deep dive into his older solo or Floyd material was likely disappointed. That being said, the setlist was clearly thematic, curated from the most philosophical and politically charged portion of Waters' considerable oeuvre. The welcome inclusion of "Pigs" and "Dogs" from Animals befit the concert's strident polemics--as did the handful of songs from recently released album Is This the Life We Really Want?, including the funk-tinged "Smell the Roses" and the snarling, climactic "Picture That." "Welcome to the Machine" soared, as did an otherwise despondent coloring of "Us & Them."

 

And to prove he's up for a good time, Waters ended the first set with the groove-accentuated "Another Brick in the Wall" trilogy, highlighted by a chorus line of local kids wearing prison jumpsuits. After tearing off the prison garb to reveal black "RESIST" shirts, the kids bellowed the famous choral refrain from "Part 2" and danced alongside the Lucius singers and Waters himself. It was an absurd sight that nonetheless provided some celebratory relief. It took some edge off the evening's unrelenting dystopia--and suggested to those in post-election despair to heed the buoyancy and idealism of our youth.

 

Mike Prevatt

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Las Vegas Weekly

Edited by luvlz2

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Roger Waters Storms Staples Center

By Scott Feinblatt

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Roger Waters at Staples Center.

Rock titan Roger Waters is at it again. The former "creative genius of Pink Floyd" (as he is referred on his concert t-shirt) has put together and entertaining program for his Us + Them tour. The current tour features enough of Pink Floyd's greatest hits to satisfy most Floyd fans and a handful of songs from his newly released album Is This The Life We Really Want? to satisfy Waters enthusiasts. Last night, Waters played the first of three dates at Staples Center, and it was good.

 

The outside of Staples Center was a bit of a mess. There was a metal and plastic wall that ran throughout the LA Live complex. No, this was not part of the theatrics of Waters' show; it was a barrier to separate the crowd from the BET Awards (and whatever else they've got going on in there while the wall still stands). The existence of the wall created a bit of a bottleneck to get close to the Staples Center, especially since there was a general checkpoint there, at which the outermost tier of security was checking tickets or waiting to hear: "My tickets are at the will call!"

 

As the venue filled up with predominantly middle-aged fans, an image was projected on a large screen behind the stage. The image was of a girl sitting on the beach, staring out at the sea. She didn't move, but it was not a still shot; the wind was blowing the grass next to her, and the waves ebbed and flowed. The effect was tranquilizing. At showtime, the image transitioned to some interesting graphics, which could have been pieces of coral or brain matter floating around. Then the band opened with the first half of "Breathe."

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Roger Waters performs "Time" at Staples Center.

Next came "One of These Days." For the first half of the song, it was hard to tell what was being performed live and what was being played off of a tape, as the band was in silhouette, and the performance sounded exactly like it had on Meddle (including the recording of Floyd drummer Nick Mason's distorted voice saying the one lyric in the song: "One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces"). At the song's peak, the lights went up on the band, and they began to play, visibly. After that came "Time," "Breathe (Reprise)," "Great Gig in the Sky," and "Welcome to the Machine."

 

During most of these songs, the show was good, but the whole thing didn't really gel. The images on the screen during the first several songs were sort of low-fidelity  video images, some cartoons reminiscent of the work of Gerald Scarfe (Scarfe illustrated The Wall, and these may have been his designs) visually mixed with images of the band playing. The songs themselves are all classics, of course, but when Floyd tunes are performed, there is no real room for improvisation, and given that Waters plays bass and sings about half of the material, his live contribution seemed much like the tunes: pure nostalgia. The arrangement for "Great Gig in the Sky" was switched up a bit (at least since the last time this reviewer saw the Water-less Floyd perform the song in 1994); here the virtuoso moaning portion of the song was performed by not one but two ladies with blonde Betty Page hairdos and matching black outfits that conjured the image of a dominatrix. The performance of the ladies came off like a duel, which was a nice twist. Another audience member reported that this feature has been used during Roger Waters' sets at last year's Desert Trip music festival.

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Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig performing with Roger Waters at Staples Center.

Then came the handful of new tunes. As per most anything that Waters has produced since The Wall (with the notable exception of his opera, Ca Ira), his solo work is more focused on telling un-nuanced stories, which illustrate his passionate feelings on various social and political issues, than it is on creating catchy numbers. It's a bit jarring, and probably a buzzkill for the folks just there to get high and listen to a live performance of "Comfortably Numb," however given his new work is a scathing indictment of the Trump administration, lyrics like: "Picture a leader with no fucking brains, no fucking brains, no fucking brains, no fucking brains" went over fairly well. It is likely that some of the other lyrics from the song "Picture That" didn't resonate their irony with the crowd -- lyrics like: "Follow me filming myself a the show / On a phone from a seat in the very front row." During these songs, the backing film depicted a homeless hippy girl dancing to herself and taking her daughter to the seashore; this image was juxtaposed with a well-to-do woman dancing in posh dress.

 

Waters finished the first set with "Wish You Were Here" and a suite from The Wall, for which a dozen or so local children, dressed in jailhouse jumpsuits, lined the front of the stage and marched in step with "Another Brick in The Wall Part 2." When the song entered its final moments, the kids stripped off the jumpsuits to reveal that they were all wearing t-shirts which were printed starkly with the word "Resist."

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Gus Seyffert performing with Roger Waters at Staples Center.

It might have been the copious amounts of pot in the air, it may have been the increased stage theatrics (a giant peninsula of screens which jutted out from the stage like a catwalk, a flying pig, a flying orb, more interactive arena lights, lasers), or maybe it was the tunes themselves, but the second set really cooked. Images of Donald Trump (natural and manipulated to satirize him), Vladimir Putin, war machines, poverty, minorities, and Trump quotes dominated the screeens during "Dogs," "Pigs," and "Money."

 

After that, Waters squeezed one more new song into the mix: "Smell the Roses." The song poses one more blatant cry for awareness of the squalid state of the world. Following that, fittingly, was "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse." Waters then introduced his band, and they closed the show with, first, the haunting "Vera," then a beautiful "Bring the Boys Back Home" (which featured the ladies), and, of course, "Comfortably Numb."

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Roger Waters performs at Staples Center.

The biting satire of Waters' work is not a dish that most people can swallow. Thus, even in the form of the stuff he did with Floyd, it is lost on most people in lieu of the music. Waters makes a smart move by cushioning the new stuff with the Floyd that people remember listening to when they smoked their first joint, and the unsubtle political imagery he uses during the show likely connects more strongly with modern audiences than much of the stuff he did during the Reagan or Bush years. So, whether you're just wanting to relive some good ol' memories of some good ol' tunes, or interested in waking up / keeping awake in an era of increased political and social hardship, this show is just what the doctor ordered.

OC WEEKLY

Edited by luvlz2

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Review Roger Waters' high-tech Us + Them spectacle soothes and galvanizes at Staples Center

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Roger Waters performs Tuesday night at Staples Center (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The responsibility to engage met the temptation to zone out when Roger Waters brought his Us + Them tour to Staples Center on Tuesday night for the first of three concerts at the downtown arena.

 

The tour comes behind "Is This The Life We Really Want?," a strong new solo album from the Pink Floyd veteran on which he takes aim at President Trump -- the brainless "nincompoop," in Waters' view, responsible for everything from the normalization of racism to Greenland's projected ruin as a result of climate change.

 

Like most rock-star rabble-rousers, Waters is light on practical solutions to the problems he presents. But he is urging action of a kind: "We will not listen to your" nonsense, he promises (in harsher language) in "Broken Bones," a strummy acoustic plaint addressed to those pursuing abundance at the expense of liberty.

 

To show he's serious about pushing back, the 73 year-old adds an F-bomb that feels only more explosive for how pretty the music is.

 

Beauty was in no short supply at Staples Center, where Waters' typically elaborate production put his expert road band (filled with hip young players like singer-guitarist Jonathan Wilson and drummer Joey Waronker) on a stage tricked out with sophisticated visual components: high-definition video screens, a floating orb equipped with a camers, a collapsible replica of the iconic Battersea Power Station pictured on the cover of Pink Floyd's "Animals."

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Waters played solo material and songs from Pink Floyd mid- to late- '70s heyday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The images weren't necessarily meant to be lovely. During the new album's "Deja Vu," grainy footage from a presumably American bomber plane showed a truck being obliterated from above; "Pigs (Three Different Ones)," from "Animals," was accompanied by doctored photos of a seething Trump dressed in Nazi regalia.

 

But set against the gorgeous zero-gravity throb of Waters' music -- solo material along with songs from Pink Floyd's mid- to late- '70s heyday -- the artfully edited display had a lulling effect that seemed at odds with his stated desire to shake things up.

 

"Black and blue / And who knows which is which and who is who," Wilson sang dreamily (filling in for Pink Floyd's David Gilmour) in "Us and Them," and it was awfully easy to recline in one's seat and listen to his nonsense.

 

Waters understands this tension, of course: He's the guy who wrote the words to "Comfortably Numb," which closed Tuesday's show in a blaze -- well, a slow burn -- of self-doubting psychedelia.

 

And there were moments of real rupture, as in a pummeling rendition fo "Brain Damage," from "The Dark Side of the Moon," and "The Great Gig in the Sky," which Waters' backing vocalists -- Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the indie band Lucius -- sang while staring into each other's eyes, their platinum-blond wigs creating an appealingly eerie reflection.

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Holly Laessig, left, and Jess Wolfe of the band Lucius sand backup in Waters' band (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Tunes from "Is This the Life We Really Want?" offered less happy sedation. In "Picture That," Waters jabbed his finger in the air as he threw out one disturbing vision after another: "your kid with his hand on the trigger," someone "glued to a screen in the state of Nevada." Here his voice was ragged, the song's grim sentiment unsweetened by sight or sound.

 

Mostly, though, Waters' high-tech spectacle made you wonder which he was trying to do: galvanize his fans or soothe them. (A more charitable read might be that he was critiquing their reasonable desire to be soothed at a moment of crisis.)

 

Nowhere was that ambiguity more pronounced than at the end of his first set, just prior to an intermission that split the three-hour concert into halves.

Waters was playing "Another Brick in the Wall," his anti-tyranny chant from "The Wall," when a group of teenagers he's brought onstage tore off the orange jumpsuits they were wearing to reveal black T-shirts that read "Resist."

Were we supposed to take inspiration from these kids -- from their eagerness to stand up and be counted?

Or was their activism allowing an older generation to wriggle off the hook?

By Mikael Wood

June 21, 2017

Los Angeles Times

 

Edited by luvlz2

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Roger Waters delivers music that matters with a mix of Pink Floyd and solo songs in L.A. on Tuesday

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Roger Waters performs at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (Photos by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Peter Larsen - Orange County Register - June 21, 2017

 

There's so much to take in from a concert like the one staged by Roger Waters, the legendary Pink Floyd singer and bassist, at Staples Center on Tuesday, but let's start near the finish with "Us and Them," a track off the iconic album "Dark Side Of The Moon" and the song that provided the name for the 73-year-old Englishman's current Us + Them tour.

 

Musically it rests on the dreamier side of Waters' and the Floyd's sound, a gentle sonic wave that evokes a feeling of floating through space as the song unfolds. Lyrically it hits on the themes that have been his focus -- you might say obsession -- for most of his career: The cruelty of war, the danger of authoritarianism, the numbness of everyday living, the need to wake up and love one another, to find empathy for the suffering, be that the beggar on the street or a refugee child in a shantytown.

 

Glorious and moving music, a call to action, a righteous warning, and we haven't even gotten to Waters' typically inventive audio-visual production and stage design in this show spanned 23 numbers over two-and-a-half hours for the first of his three nights at the Los Angeles arena this week.

 

The show opened with a taped intro of "Speak To Me" as Waters and his eight or nine musicians arrived on stage, followed by "Breathe," the same way his standout Desert Trip last fall began, but small differences popped up immediately between those shows on a vast and expansive stage beneath the desert stars and what he's doing in the arenas for Us + Them. The video clips on the screens behind the stage seemed different early in the show, though the same ominous silver orb that floated throughout the visuals in October was present here as well.

 

"Money," one of Pink Floyd's most-recognizable hits, drew the first huge outpouring of cheers from the crowd, while "The Great Gig In The Sky" provided a showcase for the souring vocals of Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of the group Lucius, who as at Desert Trip seemed otherworldly in their platinum blonde bobs and black capes.

 

Midway through the first half of the show Waters ventured into a three-song set of new tunes from "Is This The Life We Really Want?" his just-released solo album, the first from him in 25 years. While some took the arrival of the unfamiliar songs as a signal to head for the bar or the bathroom, the record produced by Nigel Godrich, a frequent collaborator with Radiohead, and the four songs he played from it (one arrived later in the show) are strong in their own right, with "Picture That" a political rant on which Waters seemed particularly invigorated.

 

Still, there's no denying that the crowd was entirely here for the songs they've known the longest and little clues -- the twin acoustic guitars that kicked off "Wish You Were Here," the helicopter sounds and spotlight that signaled the beginning of "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2" -- drew cheers and applause within moments, with everyone singing along on the choruses.

 

After those highlights, which included a dozen L.A. school kids in orange prison jumpsuits they tore off to reveal black T-shirts with the slogan Resist on them, Waters and the band left the stage, which gave us time to compare and contrast what we'd seen so far with what we saw at Desert Trip. The scale, of course, was smaller, and the Waters solo songs were new, but you can't replicate that once-in-a-lifetime staging and performance, and it was a heck of a lot easier to see Waters in the flesh here than solely on the video screens in the desert.

 

And then the second set made up for a lot of that with much more of the flashy props and stage design -- the brick power plant with smokestacks from 1977's "Animals" album cover appeared now, though in a different place than it had in the desert, and, of course, Waters' floating red pig, emblazoned with different Trump-bashing slogans now, made a drone-powered trip around the Staples' air space -- that fans surely expected.

 

"Dogs" opened the second half of the show and rocked as hard as anything from the opening set, thanks partly to lead guitarist Dave Kilminster's guitar soloing. A few images of President Donald Trump had shown up earlier in the video montages but "Pigs (Three Different Ones),' which followed a faux on-stage dinner party with Waters and other band members drinking champagne while wearing pig masks, unloaded everything he had, from mocking video images of Trump as a pig-baby (and worse), to a stream of offensive or ridiculous Trump quotes, to the final image at the finish of the song -- the words "Trump Is Evil" -- that drew a loud ovation from the audience.

 

A few more classic Floyd songs -- "Money" as always, a highlight -- another new song with "Smell The Roses" and then Waters stopped to introduce his band of which we'll make note of drummer Joey Waronker, who's played with Beck for years, and was terrific as the engine behind Waters on Tuesday, and guitarist Jonathan Wilson, who also sang lead vocals on the handful of songs on which former Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour originally handled that role.

 

The encore was Waters' usual -- "Vera" straight into "Bring The Boys Back Home," done here with just Waters and the women of Lucius -- before "Comfortably Numb" wrapped up the night in a soothing fashion, a lulling moment, and one more cautionary message in a night full of musical warnings.

The Orange County Register

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1st night - Staples Center Arena - Los Angeles, CA. Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Edited by luvlz2

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1st night - Staples Center Arena - Los Angeles, CA. Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Edited by luvlz2

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1st night - Staples Center Arena - Los Angeles, CA. Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Edited by luvlz2

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Roger Waters Brings His Rock & Roll Protest to Sold-Out Staples Center Show

6/22/17 by Deborah Wilker

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Roger Waters performs at the Staples Center on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles.

After more than 50 years onstage, Roger Waters could certainly be taking an easy victory lap -- if he wanted to.

 

But the Pink Floyd co-founder, visual visionary and creator of one of the most enduring soundtracks in all of rock seems at age 73 to be as fired up about changing the world now as he was decades ago. His current Us + Them tour -- which launched in Kansas City last month and pulled into the Staples Center in Los Angeles for two sold-out shows this week and another coming up June 27 -- is a testament to his unwavering political ardor.

 

Magical classic-rock catalogs don't necessarily need to be reinvented on tour. (It's still pretty amazing to see Mick Jagger do "Satisfaction," 52 years after the fact.) But Waters, who has always found fuel in social injustice and political strife, continues to make old tracks from Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals, and Wish You Were Here newly relevant every time he tours -- accomplished once again through deep political conviction and the most striking cinematic theatrics ever employed on a rock stage. There should be Oscars for this kind of work.

 

While most pop and rock has grown increasingly safe in recent decades, Waters is one of the few true protesters still in the game, caring not a whit whom he offends or how anything might look. Thank goodness.

 

On Wednesday night at the second of his three Staples shows, Waters once again mounted his next-level Trump assault (updated since its premiere at Desert Trip last October). On three monster video walls -- two of which are assembled from 17 screens that drop from the ceiling and hang the length of the arena floor -- Trump is portrayed as a toddler, a con artist and a poorly endowed plaything of Vladimir Putin. Later, some of Trump's more absurd quotes are flashed across the arena, among them, "The beauty of me is that I'm very rich."

 

This was during "Pigs," the fitting prelude to "Money," during which images of the president's bankrupt casino shared screen time with beauty pageant contestants, golf courses and hotels. The song had begun with Waters inserting an audio loop of Trump exclaiming, incredulously, "I won, I won!" in between the familiar coin clicks and cash-register rings of "Money."

 

Yet midway through, Waters reclaimed the song -- replacing the political imagery with close-ups of his own nimble handiwork, pumping out the familiar bassline while drummer Joey Waronker brought the number to an urgent finish.

 

Agile and muscular, Waters still cuts a dashing rock-star pose -- fists raised, his silver hair a bit longer than usual and now flopping over his eyes. Dressed simply in black, as were his nine bandmates, he presided over the evening with the air of a professor about to take his students on a guided museum tour. Or maybe an acid trip.

 

Of course all the seductive dreaminess of these songs and the orbs, prisms, starry skies and spaceships around them cannot obscure their depth. During "Us and Them," for example, recent images of protest signs, children scrounging for food in garbage dumps and militarized American police girding for battle with fellow citizens were all jarring reminders of ongoing tragedy. And what could be more sobering than "Time," with its cartoon clocks flying by?

 

There was new material as well -- the touching "Last Refugee" and "Picture That" (more political vitriol) from Waters' first new studio album in 25 years, Is This the Life We Really Want?

 

Throughout this perfectly paced evening -- nearly three hours in two acts -- Waters switched off on bass and acoustic guitar, ceding some lead vocals and the guitar spotlight to bandmates. "Wish You Were Here" was a showcase for lead guitarists Dave Kilminster and Jonathan Wilson, whose work so closely matches Floyd co-founder David Gilmour, it hardly seems to matter that the band is never getting back together.

 

Vocal duo Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, who are part of the indie band Lucius, were the evening's other secret weapon, reimagining the demanding female vocal part on "Great Gig in the Sky" while adding crucial texture elsewhere. They also helped lead the children's chorus (students from L.A.'s Sound Art music education program) during "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2."

 

Credit for propelling Pink Floyd's catalog so deftly into this new age also goes to Waters' longtime visual collaborators, creative director Sean Evans along with Jeremy Lloyd, whose eye-popping graphic designs and immersive architectural installations are unmatched in the business.

 

By the time the show wrapped with a rainfall of confetti at the close of "Comfortably Numb,' the animated hands that had disintegrated during "Wish You Were Here" had come back to life and found their way into a tight embrace. The imagery seemed to be a fitting metaphor for the critical thinking Waters wants his fans to do. The confetti also had a message: "Resist" was emblazoned across each tiny piece of crinkled tissue paper. On this tour, even the throwaway gestures are laced with meaning.

billboard

 

 

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