Show Report – Milwaukee, WI Mecca Auditorium 23 July 1999
Our thanks go to Scott J. & Jon Rosenberg for this report. Jon was phoning the info to Scott who transcribed it.
Jon Rosenberg called me just one minute before the concert started. Last time I said it was 8:59pm when he called – but that was my time zone (EST) – However, the show did start at 8:00 pm prompt. So, do not be late when you go to the show. Get there and be in your seat at 8:00; otherwise you’ll be treading on Thin Ice. Jon told me that a roadie said the setlist for the show was going to be different from the one they played during the rehearsal last night… and it was.
The show opened with In the Flesh. Roger came out and walked down onto the platform around the drumkit then down the drum riser to the stage. It was much like the Berlin Wall. On the stage there are 3 couches (grey with blue stripes) and lava lamps.
The next song was Thin Ice and Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 1). They did NOT continue into Happiest Days, but rather made a transition into Mother. Jon said that videos were being projected onto a 40 ft. screen (consumes a large part of the stage setup). The videos were the video clips from Berlin Wall show. During Mother, they also started building a wall. I am unsure it this was a real wall or a video on the screen, but I think it was an actual wall.
After Mother, they played Southampton Dock. Sorry, but I cannot confirm or deny whether Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert was included or not???
Next they played Pigs on the Wing. Not sure if it was mentioned before, but Snowy White is playing guitar – and he was tearing it up tonight. The version of Pigs they played was just like the one on the 1977 version with Snowy jammin’ out the riffs.
This was followed by Dogs. Jon Carrin was on vocals and it was played with an acoustic guitar and lots of keyboards. Like the rehearsal, the ending was extended and a bit different from previous versions. Welcome to the Machine and Wish You Were Here followed Dogs.
The videos the accompanied these songs were of a derelict city – unlike anything that has been used before. At the end of Wish You Were Here, an image of Syd Barrett comes on the screen and hangs there for a few seconds then slowly fades away. The final song of the first set was Shine On You Crazy Diamond (1-5, 8&9). Yes, that’s right, they did not stop with parts 1-5, but played the ending segements as well. Jon was unsure how much of pt. 8 was played, but was positive that pt. 9 was played before the end set ended. Snowy was playing lead guitar and doing it well, while Bramhall was adding a bluesy feel to the song.
The first set ran right at 65 minutes, and intermission was at least 20 minutes long. The second set should be in full swing as I sit here typing. I should be getting another report within an hour or so. As soon as I hear something, I’ll get it typed and sent out ASAP.
The show is over, the smoke has cleared and now all that is left is 19 more shows to go….
Tonight’s second set started up just like the rehearsal set… Breathe, Time, and Breathe Reprise were played. The background videos contained moonscapes and other spacey footage. At the end of Breathe Reprise there was a quick teaser of Great Gig in the Sky, but is was just an instrumental – no vocals.
Doyal Bramhall did all of the vocals. He did a great job, grade A performance (only Dave gets the A+). Roger stepped back during this segment of the show and let Doyal take the lead. If you did not know better, you’d almost think you were seeing a surrogate band??? o.k. anyway, the DSotM section of the show wraps up with Money. As mentioned in the review of the rehearsal, there was no sax. Instead, there is an awsome triple guitar jam with Snowy White, Doyal Bramhall, and Andy Fairweather-Low.
Andy also took lead guitar on the next song, Every Stranger’s Eyes. Yes, finally, some solo material from Rogers. They progressed into Power’s that Be Part 1 then What God Wants. The video played with What God Wants was the gorilla video material we all familiar with from the video EP. The next song was Perfect Sense. It started off with a different introduction from what appears on Amused to Death. Supposedly, this intro was originally recorded for the album but was dropped. The backing vocalist, Katie Kissoon, did a fabulous job with this song. At the end of the song, the audience gave the band a warm round of applause. This was easily one of the best songs performed tonight.
Continuing on, the next song was It’s a Miracle, followed by Amused to Death. That was it for the Roger solo material. Again, the show seems to be rather lean on the solo material.
Another Brick in the Wall pt. 2 was played and the show seemed to be over after the band played Brain Damage and Eclipse…but it wasn’t. The band stayed on stage for a bit them kicked into Comfortably Numb. Yes, yes, yes. After getting the setlist for the rehearsal, this was the one song that popped out to me as missing from the setlist. The song totally rocked! Doyal countered Roger on vocals and strummed along with Snowy on guitar, amazing. Also, there was a long guitar solo in which Snowy, Doyal, and Andy walked up a platform riser on the stage and took turns doing solos. A sensational way to end the show.
So, that’s it for opening night with Roger. I wish to give a special thanks to Jon Rosenberg for calling me and for passing on the information as soon as possible.
Full Concert review by Ron Toon
Ron Toon here with a few friends to share this review with you.
The Milwaukee Auditorium, with a seating capacity of under 4,000, was the setting for Roger’s opening night. Sitting in the audience were many familiar faces from echoes including Jon Rosenberg, Elliot Tayman, Doug Hext, Michael Simone of Reg, Dave Cowl, Paul Bridgman, Michael Osborn, Scott Frank, Raymond Steeg (from Holland), Rolf Ossenberg (from Germany) and Richard Ashton.And there was many sources of taping for this show. But, the biggest surprise was, sitting in the 4th row, Rog’s mother, Mrs Waters. She indicated that the show was very loud (shades of Hans Keller).
Dire Straits was the background music prior the show (no WW2 sound effects – just a selection of Dire Strait songs). The main t-shirt stand was really busy selling the lame selection of shirts (3 t-shirts, an embroidered polo shirt and women’s baby doll shirt), program, limited edition lithograph (numbered to 1000), coffee mugs, embroidered caps, pink pig pins – and for free were flyers for the upcoming DVD release of the movie The Wall (flip side was a Waters catalog ad).
At 8PM sharp the house lights went down in the auditorium (catching many unaware and creating late seating problems) and in the darkness the first strains In The Flesh blared. In the shadows of the darkness the band came on stage, taking the positions – the last one out being Rog who climbed a staircase to take his position at the center of the elevated rear platform.
As the tape loop of the opening of In The Flesh climaxed the stage lit up revealing the band in place. Band layout: Stage left Snowy White on guitar, Graham Broad on percussion, (next position is Rog’s – slightly left of center), then Andy Fairweather Low on guitar, Doyle Bramhall II on guitar,behind Doyle is Jon Carin on keyboards (and behind Jon is keybardist Andy Wallace) and then Katie Kisson and P.P. Arnold on backing vocals.
The stage set had two sofa areas (like the set on the KAOS tour) which would be used later on, at least four living room lamps and four or five lava lamps. A TV was playing throughout the show. For the first half Stanley Kubrick’s PATHS OF GLORY was being played. Long gone is the old faithful circular screen, replaced on this tour by a giant rectangualar backdrop, against which the two high powered projectors were aimed.
As mentioned, first song was IN THE FLESH. A faithful rendition to the album, far superior to the Berlin version (Rog’s faithfulness to the songs was a key element to the show’s success. This is nothing like the 84 or 87 tours).Rog strutted from the elevated walkway at the rear of the stage, striking the cross-fisted hammer pose. On the backdrop images from the Berlin show were projected (nothing from Scarfe’s Wall designs).
Segue into THE THIN ICE, ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL I, MOTHER. The projected images were not fully animated, but a series of slides that transitioned through a series of dissolves. Rog was in fine form (up close you could see him really hamming it up with his gestures)-and really appeared to be having a good time. Guitar duties were evenly split between Snowy and Doyle (with Andy stepping to the back of the stage). What really is striking is how decent a job Doyle and Snowy did in playing Dave Gilmour’s parts. So far, pretty authentic sounding Floyd.
THE FINAL CUT got an airing in the form of GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY DESERT (sans dialog but with explosion) . Rog sat on a stool and strummed his acoustic guitar. Images were a mixture of Berlin Wall images and poppy fields. Then into SOUTHAMPTON DOCK. Again, pitch perfect renditions from the album.
Against a backdrop of the Animals cover artwork, Rog slipped into PIGS ON THE WING I — but no bridge solo from Snowy White (a la the 8-track version -why not?). But then, after a wait of 22 years, we got our first live performance of DOGS – which pretty much sent the crowd crazy. This was really note perfect, right tempo and great surround sound — especially the howling dog effects. Jon Carin handled the multiple chores of keyboards, vocals and acoustic guitar all at once (the only thing he didn’t do was spin a plate on a stick) with Doyle providing harmony.
The backdrop started out reused Berlin Wall city scapes, panning across the screen. At the main dog barking bridge section, Carin played keyboards solo, while Rog and the band sat down at the sofas to play cards – the girls sat at their seperate sofa and drank from a thermos. The backdrop changed to images of Scarfe’s inflatables from the 77 tour. On cue (“Got to admit”) , the band
returned and this is where Rog lead the vocals. Unofficial timing has to be at least 15 minutes for this version of DOGS. Brilliant – the first half of ANIMALS.
Then it’s back to more familiar Rog territory as we transition into WELCOME TO THE MACHINE. A faithful version with the backdrop showing the familiar images of the machine monster, the rats and the orb (but not animated -but slide transistions).
Next surprise was the inclusion of WISH YOU WERE HERE done as on the album – which meant full radio sound effects intro, acoustic guitar (with an electric assist from Doyle). The best Waters solo version of this ever, definately in contention against the Floyd’s 94 tour version. Water’s vocals carried more emotion than Dave’s perfunctory version, and to cap it was the obscured projection of Syd Barrett’s face on the screen (odd, since the song was written about Nick. Hmmm). Haunting. The only key difference being the repeat chorus and Rog’s inflection “I wish that YOU were here.”
Big surprise for Rog’s next choice, which was SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND (dangerous stuff, marching boldly into Dave’s territory – BUT it paid off as the band pulled it off). The backdrop was a standard oil slide (remember Astronomy Domine from Floyd’s 94) – but with great blue lighting. They performed part 1 with slight variations from Snowy (who missed a few key notes) then moving into parts 2 & 3. All faithful, with Carin substiuting perfectly for Rick. Part 4 had Rog on lead vocal (great to hear him sing this again) – as the backdrop showed a series of photo montages of Syd. THEY SKIPPED PART 5!!! (dropping the sax solo) and moving straight into part 6 (this was an awkward transition – but will likely smooth out – as the song almost stopped as Rog thumped on the baseline — but we’re just being picky).
Doyle played lead guitar on part 7 (blistering stuff) injecting his own personality of Texas blues – and traded off with Snowy White. Rog sang part 8 and then reprised part 1, surprisingly. At the finale a glitter ball rose from the back of the stage (now, by comparrison to the Floyd’s balls, Rog’s ball was somewhat lacking – BUT looks more authentic, reminding us of the 72 show’s glitter ball). The only off note was the fade out featured the girls repeating the phrase, “shine, shine.”
A glorious end to the first act, clocking just over an hour (65 minutes). Rog addressed the audience with his usual “we’re going to take a short break and come back and do the rest.” And with that the band left the stage.
How do you follow such a strong first act?
The lights went down and the backdrop filled with stars – and a familar heartbeat started. BREATHE opens up with Doyle taking lead vocal and lead guitar duties. Then with alarm clock sound effects we jump into TIME (no clocks for the backdrop) and right into BREATHE (REPRISE) and then the intro to THE GREAT GIG IN THE SKY – which took us all the way to the girls vocals which never happened (bit of a tease!) as Rog mimed stairstepping the final piano notes with his fingers.
(side note – the TV switched to Kubrick’s 2001).
The inevitable MONEY was up next with frame shots from the MONEY film. Jon Carin performed the sax part on his keyboards, with Doyle on vocals. Get this!! We’re 20 minutes into the second act and Rog has yet to take the lead vocals. It’s all been Doyle. But this changes with EVERY STRANGERS EYES which is introduced with deafening truck sounds as the backdrop shows an image of a 16-wheeler, and the familiar “You want a cup of coffee” echoing around the auditorium. This was a staggeringly emotional performance, with Rog hitting all the high notes (and getting a an ovation from the audience for doing it). A key difference was the backdrop photos were all of Native American Indians. A very moving and powerful performance. Perhaps the highlight of the second act (but not quite).
Next up was THE POWERS THAT BE which was up tempo-ed and hindered by loud sound effects. This was the only song to feature any complex lighting, and was the only song that was noticeably different from the original. The Radio KAOS jingle opened the song, with sound effects of Billy dialling in. Depending on where you sat the percussion was really loud.
A really long sound effects loop and a percussion loop introduced WHAT GOD WANTS PART I – Snowy fumbled a little on the Jeff Beck opening riff – but otherwise they nailed the sound on this. This was the only song where Rog missed a couple of vocal cues (leaving out a few things God wants) – but otherwise a really strong performance. The back drop was of the gorilla holding a TV remote watching TV, with the TV screen changing images.
Next up was PERFECT SENSE – which was probably the high point of the whole show (that or DOGS). The song’s highlight was PP’s moving lead vocals elevating the evening to new heights. The backdrop featured images falling through space – with the dialog from 2001 (Hal telling Dave Bowman he doesn’t feel well — Rog finally got what Rog wanted). As the sound of Marv Albert’s commentary came up, the backdrop changed from a nuclear submarine, to the periscope sights taking a bead on an oil rig. An incredible performance!
Rog even got the audience to join in with the global national anthem, waving his arms to orchestrate the crowd.
The audience responded — and there was a brief pause as the show segued into the synth intro to IT’S A MIRACLE. Rog took to the back of the stage and held his hands on his head – holding the pose for the entire intro, before stepping up to the mike. Rog performed without a guitar. During the song Rog took the mike off the stand, strolled to stage left and shook hands with someone in the audience – and then returned to stage center (don’t know who that VIP was). Another moving performance from Rog, and the song closed with a scorching riff from Snowy white that really drew out and contorted the notes from Beck’s original. Stunning.
The TV switched to a financial news feed, with the audio fed through the sound system – as AMUSED TO DEATH opened. Katie Kissoon took the female vocals with another note perfect rendition of the original. On the backdrop catwalk models were projected. The song faded out to the empty chair where the gorilla once sat. This was the conclusion of the Waters solo material.
AMUSED TO DEATH faded out gently to mild applause, but the next event caused the crowd to go wild…
With the stage darkened the sound of a helicopter and a search light playing over the audience. Naturally this lead to THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES. Andy took lead guitar for this song for the first time and Roger’s vocals were much more faithful to the original than previous performances. Unlike the Floyd’s instrumental version, this was the full monty! Backdrop was the plain brick wall, colored red, with the teacher being caned by by the “fat and psychopathic wife”.
This leads directly to ANOTHER BRICK AND THE WALL II, which had everybody rocking out and dancing. Like MONEY, this was one of the obligatory songs for Roger to play. Doyle and Snowy performed parts of the solo, making this yet another faithful rendition.
Thus ended the second part, with the usual ‘thank you’s and the house lights coming up a little. The crowd roared for more and before long the players were out once again for the encore. Roger felt the need to quieten the crowd before launching into his typical live rendition of BRAIN DAMAGE. The crowd sang “There’s someone in my head but it’s not me”. During the bridge with the laughing sound effect, Roger actually said “I can’t think of anything to say”, just like the original sound byte. Then into ECLIPSE, once again similar to the previous Water’s live performances.
After what appeared to be a technical difficult (which resolved itself promptly), Roger quietened the crowd again to launch into COMFORTABLY NUMB. Doyle handled Gilmour’s vocals well, but the highlight of this song had to be the dueling guitars – Snowy and Doyle trading riffs, both up high on the elevated stage, eventually meeting in the middle, trading scorching riffs.
I’m afraid that’s it. Would have like to hear some pre-dark Side stuff, like Free Four, Granchester Meadows, Careful, etc…after all, Roger reached deep into the catalog on previous tours. In a way, this is one of the only ways that he stooped to the current Floyd’s standards by choosing a “safe” (yet very satisfying) set list. A very overwhelming experience. It’s like the 94 Division Bell tour was performed by a great magician, using slight-of-hand to distract the audience from the music with amazing visuals. It’s not that they needed it, the musicianship of dave and company speaks for itself…I’m a big fan of the touring Gilmour version. It’s just that Rog’s show has very limited visuals and once again relies on the music which he can once again claim as his own….and not by changing around old faves to put a new “signature”on ’em.
Rog really shines on for this tour. I think that the shows will get better as the tour progresses (I really wish I got tix for Atlanta now!) and I know that he is going to get some strong publicity from these upcoming venues. I wouldn’t be surprised if he played to larger capacity crowds next Spring.
The real key for me was that this was the show Rog should have done in 1984 (for the Pros and Cons tour). That was when he should have embraced his Floyd heritage instead of running from it by rearranging the classics. Had Rog done that in 1984 then the history of Pink Floyd would be different today. Had Rog established his creative leadership then Gilmour et al would not have had an avenue to persue (remember, in 84 Dave was doing just solo stuff with Comfy Numb/Run Like Hell as an encore). Rog could have preempted Gilmour’s one claim to Floyd name – that being that he could do it better. Rog always had it in him, but left it too late. It’s always been about the music and Rog left it too late to get it right.
But – here we are in 1999. Dave Gilmour’s recent Q mag interview suggests that the Floyd are buried under an ocean of apathy — and maybe this tour will restore Rog to his rightful place. Who knows? While 4000 seaters might not sound much now, word will spread that this is a big show. By the 2000 leg of the tour I’d bet that the West coast sells out and playing in bigger arenas. Unless Rog decides to keep it small.
It’d be nice to see some of the Floyd standards retired (Money, Another Brick 2 could go) and some classics brought back in (Sheep? or some pre-Dark Side).
But, the show is a tour de force. It’s what we’ve been waiting since 1981 (when Rog last performed with the Floyd).
It’s 4AM and later today we have to do this all over again. So let’s roll another one and wait to see the fat old sun in the morning.