After seeing Roger Waters last night, In the Flesh, at the Nissan Pavilion in northern Virginia, many realizations are still sinking in. I am profoundly happy that I was able to go to the show. I watched it with a strange sense of detachment, thinking, “I can’t believe he’s touring; I can’t believe I’m here. I never thought I would get a chance to see him.” I’ve been following the tour closely on Col’s “A Fleeting Glimpse,” have read every show review, and the details of this show were not sufficiently different from most of the others to merit an extremely detailed review of any sort, lest I should bore you good folks to tears. I’ll hit on some highs and lows…
Despite being Virginia-born and bred, as well as a long-time student at U.Va. (about 80 miles south, in Charlottesville), I’d never been to the Nissan Pavilion before. It’s a rather small place, seats around 25,000, I think, and there’s a rather large general admission/lawn seating area, which is where I sat (an excellent place to watch a show, incidentally, especially if you’re like me and you’ve suffered hearing damage from too many second-row seats at rock concerts). Upon arriving, I was surprised by two things: one, it was a good-sized crowd. There were a few empty seats in the east corner of the box sections and a bit of empty space on the lawn, but attendance was much better than I anticipated; two, I assumed that at age 24, I would be one of the younger attendees (in my experience most folks my age tend to have no clue who Roger Waters is). There were MANY, if not mostly, high school and college-aged kids here. A very young audience, indeed.
The show started promptly at 8, with In The Flesh. An incredible performance. I was surprised to witness just how animated and theatrical Waters can be as a performer. Whereas his old mates tend to stand stock still and let the lasers and the crashing airplanes do the talking, Roger loves to gesticulate, lets his body swing and his legs buckle in rhythm with his bass notes, loves to strut from one end of the stage to the other, likes to make eye contact and generally incites the audience. After descending the raised platform to the main stage at the end of the song, Roger walked up to a mic, beckoned wildly and comically screamed at a few late-comers being ushered into the front row: “COME ON, COME ON, NOW! YOU’VE HALF MISSED IT! WHATSA MATTER WID YE?” in a Scottish brogue.
I must say – had Roger ventured up into the lawn area where I was, he would have been appalled. There was nothing but nonsense going on around me. Lots of people yelling and screaming during inopportune moments, obnoxious, “hey, look at me” dancing, the thick stench of marijuana (particularly during the DSOTM suite. Of course.) etc. And of course, many of the idiots around me sat down, talked over the music, or ran off to the merchandise areas when Roger performed his solo works. The irony and ignorance were so thick they could have smacked me in the face.
By and large, it was a mistake-free show. Doyle had a slight gaff while singing Money, but nothing debilitating. One of the high points for me was the performance of Dogs, perhaps my favorite Floyd song. Jon Carin’s vocals and guitar were extremely impressive. I came into the show a trace bit concerned about Roger’s voice. I was afraid he wasn’t quite the singer he once was. He proved me very wrong – he’s in excellent shape, physically and vocally, and his energy really shone through on this song.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Set the Controls, but I thought this was an excellent performance. Souped-up and jazzy. I really enjoyed hearing it…there were some interesting meteorological phenomena occurring at this point in the show. The NOAA forecast had been for “ominous clouds” and possible severe thunderstorms. We had been very lucky, experiencing little more than thick cumulus clouds occasionally rolling overheard. At any rate, the full moon was obscured, until a perfect moment during Set the Controls when a pale light appeared in the eastern sky as the moon began peeking through the clouds and thin, attenuated moonbeams glared down on us from above. A perfect moment – an eerie, otherworldy setting for an eerie, otherwordly song during which, as Roger reminded us after the intermission, we embarked on “a journey through the mists of time.” J
I came to this show in order to hear Pink Floyd songs that have touched me for many years, performed by the genius who had written them. I experienced that, but nonetheless, in my view, Roger stole the show while performing his solo material. He seemed to sing these songs with a deep passion that he didn’t quite let escape when performing many of the oldies. He sang Every Strangers Eyes with his eyes closed. During the ATD songs, he constantly walked the stage, raising his arms, engaging with his eyes and face individual members of the audience. If Roger wanted to achieve a magic connection, he really did with those who just sat down and put down their bongs long enough to watch and listen. The Perfect Sense medley was the emotional highlight of the entire show, in my opinion. There were two huge video screens on either side of the stage. The cameras turned on the audience. Roger didn’t sing the choruses, he turned the mics toward the audience. Every light on the stage was turned toward the audience, and spotlights were even cast on the extremities of the lawn area. The roar from the audience was more deafening than at any point during the show, even during the obligatory cheering at the end of the show, the opening bars of Comfortably Numb, etc. Even some of the morons around me stopped yelling, “this sucks! Play some more Floyd stuff!” long enough to notice, watch, listen, cheer and in some cases even sing along.
With the opening arpeggios of Brain Damage, everyone woke up, of course. During BD/Eclipse, the full moon emerged entirely from behind the clouds, casting a very pale, ruddy pall upon the audience and providing an Earth-shattering contrast to the eclipse slide being shown on the stage screen. Everyone there recognized it. It was perfect. It was as if it were part of the show, like an inflatable pig; the ultimate, intricate stage effect. I’ll never forget the site of the full moon and the screams from my section as Roger pined, “the lunatics are on the grass” while raising his palm high toward the lawn seating.
The show ended, like the others, with a very nice performance of Each Small Candle while droves of people, especially from the lawn, flooded the exits. Some people, you just can’t reach. This is an excellent song. Roger gave the normal introduction and explanation, thanking the audience for restoring the magical connection he felt he had lost toward the end of his time with Pink Floyd (the mere mention of Pink Floyd brought a tremendous uproar) and saying something to the effect of, “it’s not a very happy song, it’s grim, but I like it anyway. Hope you will, too.” I did. He’s developed it quite nicely. I look forward to hearing its studio version on a full-length Roger Waters album in the near future, and I hope there are plans to release a live album. This was a wonderful show by all accounts, Roger was spectacular, the band was superb. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.
Thanks to Jeffrey M. Sigler email@example.com
Well, I finally get a chance on Monday morning to type up my review for the Nissan Pavillion show on the 15th. I rarely get to get on the ‘Net during the weekend except for the odd mail check for a few minutes, so I notice there have already been a couple of people who’ve commented on Saturday night’s festivities. I would just like to add my two cents on what has been one of the finest concert experiences I’ve had since…well since I saw Roger last Summer!
I originally had scored seats in Sec 101 using the brute force Ticketmaster.com method. As soon as I had purchased, I felt that there had to be a better way…where did all those Orchestra seats go in five minutes!!!???? So, I scoured Ebay and found a few choice seats available. I put down my bids and then privately contacted the sellers to convince them to cancel and deal with me direct. No one did, but someone contacted me out of the blue and said he had seen my bid and wondered, if I was that interested, did I want his tickets? He had bought them a knee-jerk reaction, thinking that this was “Pink Floyd” I was tempted to give him a lecture, but the whole Rog vs. Dave thing seemed lost here…besides, I wanted those tickets! He was offering Orch 2, row 19…at cost! He just wanted to get rid of them! I was on my way.
So, after some time, I manage to sell my Sec 101 seats to a gentleman on Echoes. He was gracious enough to buy them, even though he found that he could not go. It was here that the saga of the sec 101 seats would begin. After purchasing them, he asks if I know of any other buyers! So, I make a quick call and, yes, I have a friend who would love to go! He arranges to buy the 101 seats and, Postal Service and some arranged meetings later, winds up with my original tickets back in his hand. In the meantime, my original second on all this has bailed, so I’m left with an extra seat in Orch 2. No problem….my friend who bought the 101 seats will take my extra seat and…you guessed it…SELL THEM! Well, I tell him to hold off for a while, which works out, because we manage to get a friend of his (big Roger/Syd fan…we still wonder why he wasn’t called at the start of all this..) to take one of the seats in exchange for being designated driver/all around chauffeur. He agrees, the date approaches and things are looking better and better. A few attempts to sell the ONE REMAINING sec 101 ticket all fall through. (one of my desperate pleas can still be seen posted to the “Meet Me In The Flesh” website). We decide to suck it up and try to unload the albatross at the venue.
The day approaches and I am a ball of anal-retentive nerves. I have been planning and organizing each second of this day to achieve maximum experience. My friend is mildly amused by all of this. He even had to laugh when I found his hidden cell number, called him at work in the middle of high-power business meeting, said “one more day to Roger!” and hung up. I have a disease and his name is Roger Waters…..
It had been threatening rain all week. Wait, no, the forecasts called for lightning, thunder and …oh, yes FLASH FLOODING the day of the show. Indoor venue? NO…it’s right out there in the middle of God’s green earth! I hold back the panic, thinking, “hey….I can’t control the weather…or can I?” Well…those of you who were there…you can thank me now. I make no more claims.
We arrive at the Nissan Pavillion at 5pm exactly after stocking up on beer and …well, basically beer. I am well-stocked with several Harvested releases, my REG membership card around my neck (hey, it’s a pink badge…it almost got me access a couple of times before the Nissan staff went…”Hey! Who are you with?”) and a whole stack of REG membership flyers to hand out.
We park next to a couple of 16-year olds in an olive-green VW microbus (Yeah, we took this to Woodstock!…..’99!”) and get out of the car to the strains of Roger and Co. straining the capacity of the PA with “In The Flesh” (they used a Steely Dan song to check the PA afterwards)
Now, I had hoped to get in earlier and try to sneak around the back to see if I could catch Roger going in and/or see the soundcheck personally, but I was happy with this. A lot of the lessons learned on Saturday, where when to just let go and let things happen. Hey…having total control over the weather system was enough, right? So, we hung out, listen to “Roger Waters Rarities, Vol 1” and “Animal Instincts” while we met some really great people. Truly, these were some of the nicest folk I’ve met in quite a long time. I made a few rounds of the area, passed out REG flyers and tried to meet some of the folks I had talked to on the ‘Net beforehand. The plan to meet at the “Stone Ridge” sign was blown due to the fact that it was inside the gates and I wasn’t going in until 7:30….oh, well. I also got to observe some overly harsh Security procedures. One of the local troopers even made a beeline for me while I was passing out flyers, stopped, looked my material over and moved on. Enough about them, but suffice it say, that I heard one too many stories about this kind of thing Saturday. I was told that this was one of the tightest shows of the tour. Is this typical for Nissan?
We get in at 7:30 and take our seats. 19th row dead center! Perfect alignment with the PA and the quad system. I’ve never had better seats! Oh, and speaking of seats, the extra sec 101 seat finally went, right before I got in. Sold it to a longtime fan who drove all the way from Ohio to see the show. I’m not too sure of the circumstances, because I was I in a hurry to get in, but he wanted an upgrade or something, and the elusive Sec 101 seat was what he wanted. I gave him the ticket in the original envelope which also contained my receipt stub with my name and address on it. Now, this envelope and receipt had traveled from Ticketmaster to me, from me to my original buyer (via Postal Service). From him to my friend, from my friend back to me, and now from me to this unknown Farmer in Ohio. As I walked in, I thought, “well, that ends that.” Not quite…..
Anyway, with my great seats under me. I wait for the show. I wound up seated behind Echoes’ own Giles Harney, who can attest to the greatness of our seats. Hey, Giles…I noticed that you and I were the only ones who were willing to sit to give those in back of us a better view. Although, I do have to say, that I was also blessed with a group around me who generally did not stand unless it was warranted (which it often was!) and was very good about sitting down. Actually, my view was unobstructed for 99% of the show. And Giles, you were partly responsible for that. Ah, the strength of Echoes….
IN THE FLESH/HDooL/ABITW pt2
Now, I will just state here that this, like all other performances was a mix of “In the Flesh?”/”In the Flesh!” With the mix of lyrics from both. I took notes for each song, but I have none for ITF or the next three. The Wall material was covered as well as ever. I spent the time just sucking it all in, marveling over my seats and waiting for it to get louder. My biggest complaint about the last time that I saw Rog was that ITF started too quietly and I felt that this did as well. The mix improved as the song went on and was perfect towards the end of ABITW pt 2. I was in a “sweet spot” sound wise, so I got a brain-shattering onslaught of music from all sides.
The feedback that plagued the 2nd set was definitely there, but I think that it gave the performance an “edge” that served to take the clinical polish off of things. My opinion. So, we all sang along with the Islington Green kids at Roger’s prompt and a good time was had by all. The solo in “Mother” was very nice! Punched me right in the sternum. Right at the end of it, Doyle either broke a string or had some other difficulty, because the place filled with a great BuuuuuuuuzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!! At the end of the last phrase. Did Doyle panic? No, he barely moved, but he’s never been accused of moving too quickly anyway. He just raised an eyebrow, squelched the volume and moved on….
GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY DESERT/SOUTHAMPTON DOCK
Feedback dominated the opening here, but hardly garnered any notice as Rog led the most beautiful rendition of these two songs I have ever heard. I wrote “stately…beautiful” in my notes. I need a recording of this show for this moment if nothing else. Wonderfully arranged, beautifully sung. I had a tear when the poppies filled the screen. Perfect.
PIGS ON THE WING pt 1/DOGS
The ladies sat on the couch and swayed as Rog kept the momentum going for PotW. Gorgeous Hammond-like fills from Andy Wallace punctuated this one and, once again…. Stately. “Dogs” was 17 minutes that could have been 2 hours. So much happened! Now, my notes are a blur at places, but I noted that even though Rog doesn’t sing until later, he does mouth most of the lyrics along with John/Doyle. It made me realize, watching him sing along to “..all alone, and dying of cancerUHAAAAAHHHHH!!!” with the rest of us, that he’s a fan, too! Rog was just one of us for a while, grooving along and enjoying this incredible epic that he knows had as much to do with the guitars as it did the lyrics. And guitars there were. Aside from Jon Carin’s anchor (if you look at just Roger…imagine that it’s Dave singing during their one-shot reunion….yeah, like you didn’t try it!) there was Snowy …and Doyle. During the first duet, I was writing how incredible it sounded when I noticed – the dancing! Rog had a little dance routine for the solos that Andy would join in with later. The two of them, two-stepping together upstage like Status Quo in the retirement home…. Very amusing! The third guitar break was brilliant! The quad was perfect…swirling around in a perfect circle while the card game commenced. Everyone had been sitting and jumped up to see the game. The ladies were served brown-ish drinks and it looks like Snowy won the game…well, someone stood up, but I know Rog just had this “oh, well..” expression on his face, so I know he didn’t win. Andy dealt…he practically ran over to the table t oget the cards ready… Anyway, the whole song was incredible…. cannot say enough about it…on to….
WELCOME TO THE MACHINE
Does anyone think that the sphere at the beginning of the slides looks like the Geffen logo is taking over the world? This sounded brilliant…another one where I just focused on the slides and Rog and imagined I was back in 1975….and, in the Rog/Andy dance section, they came together like robots at the end and nodded together for the final beat. Someone’s played this song one too many times, methinks!
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Rog tuned up in back while Doyle took the intro on the electric…much like all other versions on this tour. The obligatory sing-along…Rog stressed the “have’ in “what have we found?”, which I like a lot. Doyle’s solo was very Texas blues, very individual. Overall, I agree with those who have said that Snowy and Doyle have found their own voice on this tour…all of their stuff was tasteful, individual and not the Dave Gilmour cover crew…
As my neighbor always says to me: “Now * that’s * what I’m talkin’ about!” Just incredible…beautiful quad, excellent work from Jon the one-man band. My only note (because I was too transfixed on the slide show ….Thor!….to look away) was: “Snowy – beautiful, long sustain” The man has just relaxed and breathed into these things! And you know, when he has his head down and you use your imagination, he looks a bit like a young Gilmour with short hair. Useful for those moments of imagination…..It closed in the usual way with the giant hubcap making an appearance..doh1 I saw the wires! Illusion blown…actually, as cheesy as the ball is, I still found it rather cool….
This was when I wandered over at met Echoes’ own (and Leno’s playtoy), Dai Willey. I said my name, and he reaches in his pocket and pulls something out – it’s a picture of me from the Echoes gallery! I said, “nice to meet you” and backed away slowly to find a security guard….no, actually it was nice to meet Dai and I was really just in a rush to snoop around the sound board and see what I could see before they all came back…..always good to meet the Echoes folks , albeit briefly…..
SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN
Even better than it was when I heard it in ’84….unless that’s just because I haven’t heard it since ’84. The slide show was almost heartbreaking. The sax player (was that a tenor sax?) was really very good, but at times, the solo ventured into Kenny G territory…disturbing, but it’s good to fee la little off-kilter during this piece. Rog turned around and played to the back wall at one point and I got visions of him circa 1969. Spooky!! Graham just pounded away on the drums, although I wish they were a little louder. Overall, though, this was a major highlight. I was thinking, “this whole evening has been absolutely perfect…nobody’s even in my way…the four seats in front of me are empty….” Then….a little black rain cloud on my sunshine…Frat Boy!
Frat Boy appeared right during the heartbeat tape and drunkenly marveled at the four empty seats in 18th row center. I did the obligatory, time-honored concert tradition of catching him before he could pitch over into my row and let him bob and weave in front of me. He stood there, not screaming, but conducting the band and generally being in the way of about 500 people at once. It was almost funny and I don’t know if this section seemed ordinary because of him or because of the band…. it’s a toss-up. Carin played slide and did the first vocal while Doyle handled the second vocal for “Breathe” Nice. “Time”? Nice as well. Nothing spectacular…just nice.
This got Frat Boy moving as people had returned to their seats. Giles was back with some food and Frat Boy was being squeezed down in between a young couple who did not have the courage to confront him. Anyway, this one was a little more spirited. I never noticed before how the record in the slide starts off playing the right track for “Money” …or it could just be that this is the first song of side two, so the odds were pretty good. (that’s an album reference for the kids there…) Andy’s solo was as upstaging as everyone said. Not technically amazing, but showy and fun. Whoever called it a parody was right on the…well, you know what I mean. The sax player returned on top of the wall…oddly enough….and did very well although he looked scared beyond belief. When he finished, he looked amazingly relieved, sort of tiptoed off and looked at Andy and Jon as he left as if to say, “I did it! Oh, boy…give me a drink…”
5:06 AM (EVERY STRANGER’S EYES)
Andy FL fatfingered the first chord on this one. He was playing a vintage model guitar, the name of which escapes me. Sort of Les Paul-shaped in body, but I know it’s not that. Rog has monitor problems as he fiddles with his receiver pack. Either that or he hurt his hip falling in the tub Saturday morning. Anyway, this song had everyone settling down and Frat Boy finds himself still standing…alone…. hundreds of people sitting around him and he’s still sort of trying to groove, but he’s losing momentum. Now this restores my faith in Roger’s audiences – no one shouts, no one yells at him. We all just watch as he slowly realizes he’s an asshole, hangs his head and slinks away. Brilliant!
Now, the song continues and here comes the notorious lip-synch moment. It happens, the girls are singing, Rog is crooning…and then, …”myself, in every stranger’s eyes…” comes out of just the front PA, not the sides. Now all of the vocals had been coming out of the sides as well before this point, so this was obviously low and the sound booth fixed this on the next line, “it’s oh, so easy now…” So, I wonder if, in addition to the ladies voices and a tape boost, Roger is still singing along with limited reinforcement. If he were to croak on “From where I stand..” or “recogniiiiiiiize”, then it would be noticeable if his vocals were kept up front. But, with a judicious blend, it all sounds pure. So, my feeling is that he’s not lip-synching as much as he’s ‘singing along’….just like the rest of us….
PERFECT SENSE Pt ½
Resounding, fantastic. Not as many people singing as you would think, though….
THE BRAVERY OF BEING OUT OF RANGE
Nice to hear this one! Roger doing a little Strat work. The slides were great. I liked Reagan on the TV. Snowy’s solo!!!! Holy mother of God!! This was out of nowhere and sounded eerily Gilmour-esque a la “Run Like Hell” or “Sheep”
IT’S A MIRACLE
A nice bit of vaudeville by Rog, well sung and played. I wrote something about “adds”, but I don’t remember now. I think there were some fills that fleshed out the tune. This was also another time that the quad worked so well, that I actually thought the voices were people next to me chattering away. I kept turning to quit them when I realized it was on tape. Far out, man………Snowy’s ending solo gave new meaning to the word sustain…”You could go out and get a bite to eat and when you come back it’s still be like ‘ahhhhhhhhhhhh'”)
AMUSED TO DEATH
Katie Kissoon did a beautiful job adding vocals on this stunning performance. Andy pulled out another vintage guitar and gave his best performance of the night. The feedback was all around as everyone fiddled with their monitor levels and just knocked the place over! I love this song….
Andy was brilliant again! Feedback! Everyone sang along and Rog laughed knowingly on “and if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes..”
Rog gave the usual speech “Thanks for coming. Thanks for listening to all of the stuff we’ve done….Let’s party.” Really. He said that. I’m not making this up. Dai? Giles?
The duet was just awe-inspiring. Enough said. Reason number 117 to have a tape of this show….
EACH SMALL CANDLE
The audience knew this was coming. The lighters were out in force. Most in front of me left and my view was 100% unobscured. I think this sounds like a Steely Dan song now! It’s like Steely Dan meets “Shine on You crazy Diamond” Bizarre. I liked it a lot, but I couldn’t help thinking that , “well, they’ll do more work on it….” Still, it wasa powerful way to end the show…very “Biko”
So, that’s it. I have scattered notes on how it looks to see a sea of lighters behind you in the dark. This was not during ESC, but some other song. I don’t remember which, though. Very beautiful. Made me want to hear, “Tide Is Turning”
Also, at either the speech before CN or ESC, Rog started crying! He got all choked up and had to stop. His throat clogged up and he went back to the table up center to get a handkerchief which he put in his pocket. Fake? I don’t know.
After the show, we immediately tried to suss out where the band was leaving from. Security told us that he was gone, but every story I got was different. I met another Echoesian whose name escapes me. He says he’s in permanent lurk mode, though. He had been to five shows, having come from Tampa. We tried to play the waiting game, but after about 40 minutes, it seems that they had gone after all. The final event of the night would bring it all full circle. As I left, I look down and see my own name and address starring up at me. The receipt stub from my spare Sec 101 ticket had been dropped on the ground by the guy who bought it and here it was now. Fully intact and hundredss of yards away from where that seat was. As my friend said, “Don’t think too hard about it…let’s go home..”
Thanks for taking time to read this… Peace, Terry
Thanks to Terry Shea Terrence.Shea@ssa.gov
Articles thanks to Geoff Thé firstname.lastname@example.org