Last night was Roger’s gig at the World Theater in Tinley Park, about 20+ miles south of Chicago. One of my least favorite venues in this town (due to bad traffic, poor sound and sightlines, and a gestapo-mentality security), the old World certainly lived up to it’s reputation. The sound ranged from pretty good (if you were lucky enough to be sitting close to the center of the venue), to “muddy” (depending on how far off to the sides you were). Even the surround sound effects were pretty lame from the center sections, and I heard that they were pretty annoying in other areas.
It was good to see that many of the veteran tapers were smiling ear to ear as everyone seemed to get thrugh security without a problem ; )
I got a tip that additional tickets were released the night before the show and was lucky enough to buy 25th row dead center seats, getting rid of the ones originally purchased (which were pretty far back). A few other people sitting next to me took advantage of this opportunity as well….right Sean?)
The show started about 15 minutes late. I’ve seen Rog 5 times so far during the past 2 tours and this was the first time I saw him start late. Although the show started when it was still pretty light out, the screen images showed up pretty well due to the fact that they were set back pretty far into the stage and the sides were covered with a black canvas. Even after all these shows, the projectionists still had trouble with the slide registrations and struggled througout the show to keep them alligned properly, constantly making adjustments.
Instead of rehashing all of the details of the entire show, I’ll just skim through some of the highs and lows and try to recall what has been changed…..
Roger stormed his way through the opening number, In The Flesh, with great ferocity, verbally assaulting the crowd (“Yes YOU sir!”) and then went into Brick 2. Roger has become much more animated during this song as he paced to both far ends of the stage encouraging the crowd to sing along (which we all did of course) and overemphasizing is rock-star-playing-a-bass choreography as he whipped the neck high into the air to accent the right notes. He seemed to be having a great time : )
During the 99 leg, he played The Thin Ice and Brick 1, two really good songs, but they did not work well out of context of the Wall LP. In fact, they seemed to feel more like “filler” material, something that always aggrevated me, as I wanted to hear as much as a diversified set as possible. Glad you dropped ’em Rog!!!
He went right into Mother, a pretty standard rendition, with Katie picking up “Mama’s” vocal section. The visuals on the 2000 leg have changed and now display the original Mother inflatable from the 1980-81 tour, floating from the distance, towards us, on a beautiful star filled night sky (which was the main backdrop used throughout the show), A shooting star (or comet) is also new, crossing the screen and passing behind “Mother.”
The Final Cut numbers (Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert and Southampton Dock) have really improved during this leg! No longer does Roger face the crowd alone with just voice and guitar, a usual stopping point for Roger to try and settle the crowd. After the missle roars overhead and explodes, Jon carin now plays the string part from the LP (and very precisely I might add) and accompanies him throughout the piece. Great touch!!! It’s also fun to watch Doyle, at the end of the song, trying to match Roger’s final guitar plucks : ) For one of the 1st times, I actually wished he played at least one more song from that LP and dropped another from this opening set (which I’ll get to in a bit).
Next up was Pigs on the Wing. A new twist to this song now finds Andy Wallace accompanying Roger on organ (much like the sound of the 77 tour). A nice subtle surprise!
Dogs has always been a highlight for me and this peformance was no exception. Carin anchors this song and seems to be really getting into the vocals and guitar playing as he very passionately begins this number. The harmonizing guitars of Doyle and Snowy are some of the sweetest sounds my ears have ever heard as these guys are really in tune with each other. The band, in general, is so much better than last year. Don’t forget that last year Snowy was brought in just days before the tour was about to start. This is now a well seasoned band of extremely talented musicians.
Doyle’s leads during Dogs are now even more impressive. He had commented last year that this was the hardest song for him to learn. It seems that he has Gilmour’s solos down pat now and has taken it a step further by injecting his own style of playing into the piece. I’d much rather see things done this way, with both guitarists learning Dave’s solos, and then adding their own personal signatures to the piece, rather than trying to fill the shoes that can only be filled by one man.
During the long spacey bridge, the surround sound effects really didn’t come off as well as the other venues that I have been to, and they should have, especially from the central location from where I was sitting. The rest of the boys in the band (besides Jon and Andy) retreated for a game of Trumps, and now are sitting at an offical poker table! 3 bar stools and cocktails are brought out for the girls to watch the action, and when the band returns to finish the song, I noticed that Andy F L remained to tally up the points (boy….does he look like an accountant ; )
I also noticed something in the visuals during Dogs that might be new. As the backdrop of the cityscape (that was 1st used in the 1990 Berlin show) pans across the screen, there is a section that displays a window in which you can see Roger standing in the “hotel room” that was created for the show. This song was followed by a deafening response from the crowd.
Next up is Welcome to the Machine. This is the only song that I would like to see dropped from the 1st set. Roger has already done this on his previous tours and so has the Floyd. It doesn’t gain anything in it’s live incarnation and actually does not hold up to the sonically superior original version. I am also not a big fan of the way this song concludes as it just seems to peeter out.
Wish You Were Here was a great crowd pleaser as everyone sang along.
Shine On has really developed well with this band and seems to have a life of it’s own. It’s especially impresive to watch Doyle and Snowy recreate Dave’s guitar parts on this one. One thing that caught my attention was how they played off each other during part 2. This is when Snowy plays Dave’s famous 4 notes and Doyle chimes in with his “accent” chords. I noticed that the way Doyle accomplished this guitar sound was by strumming the chord a beat before it should be heard, and then quickly twisting up the volume knob, softening the attack of these chords. After Jon’s slide guitar solo ends (following the vocal section) the guitarists get to open up and jam out a bit here. This is always a great part of the show, but I’ve seen them do a better job in the past. The song ends with Carin echoing some of the opening keyboards from Part 1 of the song, something I never really understood (why doesn’t Roger have him play some of the original FINAL keyboard section to close this one?). Regardless, the crowd showered them with the loudest and LONGEST ovation that I have heard so far. In fact, Roger seemed to be genuinely moved by this response, and decided to give up on his “thank yous” and instead just hugged his chest soaking in the applause. Even those who were way back on the lawn could see his sincere facial expression on the giant screens that flanked the venue. It really looked like he was pretty choked up as the applause literally went on for minutes on end. He finally announced that, “That, of course, was for Syd,” and that the band would return after a brief intermission.
The 2nd set now opens with Set The Controls… I like this version much better then the one performed on his previous tours! It stays a bit truer to the original and is not “jazzed up” as much. I especially like Graham’s touch in the beginning as he uses his padded drum sticks to create that “tympani-like” sound. The local woodwind player did an admirable job playing soprano sax, but nothing comes close to the WPB gig so far. The song REALLY heats up with a great solo from Snowy which follows. The visuals for this song are a real treat. Still frames from the original Arnold Layne and Scarecrow videos are projected onto the backdrop and I especially liked the shots of a young Roger falling back onto a field of tall grass. Some new visuals have also been added to this song on this tour as there are now images of some Marvel Comics super heroes like Silver Surfer and Thor (shades of Dr Strange, hmmm?). These are also accompanied by the returning lquid slide show which is superimposed over these images. I also noticed the shot of the 4 band members that is seen on the cover of ASOS, but the REAL surpise was the final image used. This image was from the cover of the 1974 comic book tour program, and I wonder how many people actually caught this gem?
The DSOTM set follows. Breathe and Time are great songs, but these are the numbers the suffer the most from Gilmour’s absence. The new highlight for me though was Graham’s drumming intro. No longer is this a laid back recreation of Nick’s original, but is now a solo that builds to a furious climax, as Broad hammers away like a man possessed.
Surprisingly, Dave’s absence was much less missed on Money. Andy wins the “best-non-Gilmourain-guitar-contribution” to this song ever as he slices through a guitar solo that could cut glass! This man attacks his guitar with an intense passion that I have not seen before.
Every Stranger’s Eyes is my favorite song from the Pros and Cons LP, and I’m glad that Roger still plays it, dispite the one verse that is lip synced. This used to be a distraction, but I’ve finally been able to put that behind me and enjoy the song for the great piece it is.
The Powers That Be was dropped from this leg of the tour (THANK YOU!), but unfortunately there was no song played to represent KAOS at all : (
What God Wants was also dropped (I can live with that decision too), and the ATD set now starts off with Perfect Sense Pt 1. Some people have had a problem with this segue, but it seems to work fine by me. Roger once again has a lot of fun with this song, especially during Pt 2 where he mimes being the submarine captain looking through the periscope and later urging on the crowd, arms spread wide.
The Bravery Of being Out Of Range was added to the 2000 leg of the tour. I always loved this song, great verses, great lyrics, but the middle instrumental bridge always seemed to lack something (a sax solo?). The same is true of the new live version as the slow paced bridge and underplayed solo by Snowy just seem to slow the momentum of this number down. A few bursts of inspiration by Graham (one of the most underrated members of this band), brought this bridge section up a few notches. I’m still glad that this song was added to the set, which features projections of guys sitting in a bar watching the TV sets (which later on into the song shows images from the Gulf War).
The ATD set closes once again with It’s A Miracle (sans handshake), and the title track. 2 great songs in which I especially love Snowy and Doyle’s contributions to the endings of each.
Roger didn’t miss a beat last night and went directly into Brain Damage. There was hardly any applause after ATD concluded, and this is what might have prompted this hasty start. Usually Roger pauses to thank the crowd, but I guess there was nothing to thank them for last night. At least Brain Damage/Eclipse seemed to wake them up.
Roger gave the usual “magic is back” speech and went right into Comfortable Numb. The solos by Doyle and Snowy have really come far since opening night last year as these two seem to be playing more in tune with each other (rather than one upsmanship). I especially love the conclusion of their dueling solos where they duet in harmony to conclude the piece! I miss Gilmour, but not that much, and that’s a big surprise for me, especially on this number!
For the encore, Roger now plays Each Small Candle, which he debuted at the end of the last tour. This song has really blossomed and has now extended into opus proportions. Roger does a very smart thing by projecting the lyrics to this song on the screen so people will instantly become familiar with unfamiliar material. I am still torn between whether Roger should end the show with this song (which haunts you long after the show is over…which might be his intention) or end with Comfortably Numb (with ESC being played BEFORE it) on a higher note.
In any case, it was a great time! The crowd was ill behaved, but not as bad as usual. We had to stand for almost the entire time, and it looked like the place was pretty filled up. Even the lawn section was pretty packed and I noticed that most people had taken their seats before the show started. I can’t wait for the DVD and CDs to come out from this tour. I sure hope that they don’t cut anything out! I have a feeling that the video from this tour will get a lot more replay than the one’s released by Roger’s “former band,” as he used to put it. Oh yeah…that reminds me of something.
In shows past, Roger has always refered to Pink Floyd this way when giving his “the magic is back” speech…as his “former band.” During last night’s show he uttered THE name….PINK FLOYD for the 1st time in all the shows that I have seen and heard from this tour and last.
Ah….the tide is turning : )
Many Thanks To Ron Toon