Pictures thanks to Bruce Mironov
In having seen Roger Waters perform for the first time in 12 years at Madison Square Garden, extreme satisfaction is the feeling left over first and foremost. The atmosphere was very energetic and warm before the show shouting Roger’s name. Then the lights dropped and the countdown began…”Eins, zwei, drei, alle!” Opening a show with “In The Flesh”(2) was perfect. The arm motions instigated by Roger and mimicked by the crowd was an amazing sight. All of the favorites were, at least, touched upon. The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, WYWH, Saucerful of Secrets (Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun was one of the favorites of the night). Roger ended the second set with Brain Damage and Eclipse before encoring with Comfortably Numb and his new release Each Small Candle (all of which provided great photos and background “eye candy” on the projection screen. At the end, Roger proclaimed his extreme liking for the New York fans and I can confidently say that the feeling is more than reciprocated!!!
Thanks to Cory Nesser firstname.lastname@example.org
A Review of the Madison Square Garden Show on July 13th 2000 Before I get into the review of the show, let me state that as there were no changes in the set list, I wont bother posting a list of the songs by order, but I will touch on all or most of them through the review. But first, the before the show stuff.
My wife Carin & I left for NYC at about 12:30 in the afternoon. It took about two and half-hours to drive there from Southern New Jersey.
For awhile we listened to the radio. I had sent a letter to Philadelphia radio station WMMR requesting a “Block” of Roger / Floyd music during a program called “The Workforce Blocks” in which the DJ plays a bunch of songs by requested groups from letters, emails etc. sent by listeners.
Unfortunately they did not get to my request as it turns out July 13th was the 15th year anniversary of the Live Aid Concerts, the American part of which took place in Philadelphia. So instead of my Floyd block I was treated to some great flashbacks of some cool Live Aid performances and interviews.
While I really doubted any set changes, I couldn’t help but wonder if Roger knew of this anniversary and would consider playing The Tide Is Turning. Like I said, I doubted it, but it was fun to wish for.
Finally, we arrived in New York. As we went through the Lincoln Tunnel, my claustrophobia kicked in. Man I hate tunnels.
Entering the city, my first major impression was of the ocean of yellow taxis surrounding us, all of them driving like maniacs. And I thought Philly driving was tough!
When we drove past The Garden, I was as about excited as a little kid going to the circus. We parked, and then I wanted to go over to the front of the place, just to check out the scene. It was about 3pm so there weren’t a lot of concertgoers yet, but I did see a few tee shirts wondering the streets.
With time to kill, we decided to go check out FAO Shwartz, the big toy store. (I like toys, what can I say?)
We took a taxi, and my wife had to practically force me to get in. After watching these morons drive, the thought of BEING in one freaked me out. But I got over it, although I was tense the whole drive.
The toy store was pretty cool, and after there we decided to check out the BIG landmark, The Empire State Building.
As we left the store we asked an employee the fastest way there and she recommended the bus. Our only problem was that we didn’t realize that NY busses only take change, no bills! So we started walking and stopping at every other stand asking for someone to make change for us. Of course no one wanted to make change unless we bought something, but as we kept walking we finally found a little store that made change for us! Yea!
But by that time we realized we were only a few blocks from the Empire anyway so we figured what the hell and kept walking. A few blocks further we spotted a TGI Fridays (a popular eating establishment for those who have never heard of them) and we both decided we were hungry AND needed a drink. Or three.
After refreshing ourselves with food and beer, we continued on our way to the King Kong building. We finally found it, but on going inside discovered it was 9 dollars per person just to go up!
Well, I decided not to bother. Call me jaded, but when you get down to it its just a big building and it wasn’t the reason I had come to NY anyway. So off we went again.
By this time it was time to return to the Garden. We arrived back there at about 6:30 so we decided to look again for a place to have another drink before the show. We went down into the subway area (also looking for a rest room!) and found a little bar down there among the other shops. This place was PACKED with Roger fans, and we wound up standing out front of the place with our drinks cause we couldn’t get INSIDE.
After our drinks, we headed inside. I’ve only been to the Garden once before, but I was struck again by how well kept it looks, unlike our venues in Philly. The garden seems very clean and HUGE too.
Our seats were in the 200 level, off to the left of the stage, with no obstructions. As we sat down I couldn’t help but notice the music playing on the sound system. It was Don Henley’s “Sunset Grill.” Very cool. Other songs played were by John Fogerty, Pearl Jam, John Lennon, U2, The Beatles, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan.
The stage was set up as in other reviews that I read, with the drum riser on the left, and the keyboard riser stage right. There were two couches behind the mike stands for the women vocalists, and in the middle of the stage were the card table and TV. The big riser went across the back of the stage, where I figured Roger was to make his entrance.
At 7:42 PM, I was surprised to notice the place was still almost empty! It bugged me because I didn’t want all the late comers disturbing the show at the start. But the row I was in was almost filled so I figured that at least no one would be pushing past me during the opening numbers.
Finally, its SHOW TIME! The lights go down, The crowd (which amazingly filled in pretty quickly!) was on its feet, and a dark figure walks across the rear riser, counts off in German, and BOOM! “In The Flesh!” kicks off. What a rush, Id been waiting SO LONG for this!
Roger was dressed in his traditional black, but his mood was anything but. He was responding as strongly to us as we were to him! Hands outstretched across the crowd as he sang “So ya…thought ya…might like to go to the show!” Yep, this late into the tour but it was obvious Roger was still enjoying it tremendously!
The band goes right into “Another Brick Pt. 2” from there and the crowd is still up at this point, which I didn’t mind. Personally, I could have done without this one as it’s a bit overplayed to me, but what the heck; the crowd loved it and I guess so did I.
After the song ends, Roger says a quick “hello and welcome” and then it’s into “Mother.” The crowd takes its seat at this point and I’m impressed, not a lot of hooting or hollerin’ during the quiet songs. Roger sang his parts, and when the ladies pick up at “Hush now baby baby…” we all sang along with them. Wonderful.
Next up: “Filthy hands / South Hampton Dock.” Very pretty, but I wish he had kept going after his little teaser at the end, just a tiny bit of “The Final Cut.”
Then Roger takes center stage with an acoustic guitar and starts strumming out “Pigs On The Wing.” Again I’m impressed with the crowd, as while we did indeed sing along, there was a minimum of screaming.
“Dogs.”…What can I say about this one that hasn’t been said? Jon Carin takes the lead vocals here, and opening acoustic guitar as well, and is simply superb. What a wonderful addition to the Bleeding Hearts, I hope Roger keeps him on for the new record as well.
When the time for the card game arrives, I noticed a few cool details that I didn’t really catch the last time.
This is not simply a chance for the band to take a break during a solo. No, but as I watched them “playing,” it was obvious to me that they were acting a part as well, with lots of gestures from all those playing indicating a “winning’ or “losing” hand. I’m not sure who was dealing (I think it was Andy fair-weather-low) but he was really playing his part, like a dealer at a casino or something. Even had a dealers vest on. A very cool piece of theater.
At this point I must comment on Doyle and Snowy’s guitar duties. I’ve heard mixed reviews on both of these guys, but in my opinion they were both great! Especially during “Dogs” they both just ripped it up.
” Welcome to The Machine” was next, and it seemed a bit different than the studio version, a bit slower with less of the “technical ” aspects of it an more of the acoustic. I can’t describe it better than that.
“Wish You Were here” another crowd pleaser. The crowd has been pretty much quiet throughout at this point, singing along a bit but otherwise saving the cheers for the end.
Then into “Shine On…” ok, Doyle and Snowy were great here, but as a Dave fan I couldn’t HELP but compare and miss Dave’s style on this song. Not that I didn’t enjoy the other guys, just an observation.
As the images of Syd appear, the crowd awakes in recognition, and I have mixed emotions about it. While its nice that Syd is remembered, it’s how he is remembered that sometimes bothers me.
At the finish, Roger steps up to the mike to thank us again and announce the intermission. It takes him awhile to do this, because he was receiving a THUNDEROUS ovation from the crowd!
At this point let me take a step back. While for the most part I admired the crowd, I did have a few problems. The row in front of me just couldn’t seem to keep its seats at all. At times it seemed like they were pulling a Chinese fire drill, switching seats, in and out of the row, and ALWAYS someone was getting up for more beer!
Two “gentlemen” behind me didn’t shut up the first half. Not screaming or hooting, just talking! About all kinds of stuff, and almost none of it to do with the show! They talked NON STOP, and it was a bit tough for me to tune them out but I managed.
I myself did take a restroom break and pick up a cold one (6 bucks a beer…how did the guys in front of me afford it???) and was back in my seat for the second half in plenty of time. The same can not be said about the rest of the crowd!
As the lights go down and the music plays, the crowd is scrambling to find their seats.
The second half began with “Set The Controls,” and its unfortunate that many in the crowd it seemed didn’t recognize it. The guy in front of me actually asked me “is this from Dark Side?” I politely corrected him, “No, this is much older.
Next were Breathe and Time, and Money, from Darkside. All very good.
But my personal favorite moments were next to come, as Roger finally got to his solo stuff. “Every Strangers Eyes” was met with a surprising (in my opinion) response from the crowd. As to Rogers’s lip syncing of the “from where I stand…” lines, well, I couldn’t care at this point. The song sounded good to me.
As “Every Strangers Eyes” faded, the sound of Rogers backward ranting echoed around the hall as “Perfect Sense” launched. This was a True highlight for me. The beginning of this tune just takes me to another place, and I was transfixed as Roger sang the opening lines “The monkey sat on a pile of stones…and he stared at the broken bone in his hands…” etc. This song really moves me.
It was hard to tell if the audience was into it, but at that point I didn’t care. When The “hold on soldier…” part came up, the female singer did a fantastic job. And as her vocals faded with “…in search of the Garden of Eden” the crowd really did seem entranced. The Roger again: “Cant… you… see…It all makes perfect sense?” what a great moment.
But it was when Roger lead us in the Global Anthem part that I knew the crowd was, for the most part, GETTING IT. I stood at this point, and many did with me, and we sang at the top of our lungs “CANT YOU SEE…IT ALL MAKES PERFECT SENCE…. EXPRESSED IN DOLLARS & CENTS, POUNDS, SHILLING, AND PENCE?” For a moment I felt as one with the rest of the crowd, and with Roger on stage as well.
From there it was right into “Bravery Of Being Out Of Range.” This was the first time Id heard this one live, and it rocked. Straight into “It’s a Miracle” which I must admit was never my favorite song from Amused, but works live for some strange reason. When Roger gets to the part of the piano lid “crushing” Lloyd Webbers “F-ing fingers” he made this cool “CRRRRSSSHH” sound effect on the mike that was very funny in its way.
“Amused To Death”…another highlight for me. It was VERY cool to hear others in the crowd singing with me when the lyrics “we watched the tragedy unfold…” began. Again, it seemed most there knew the song.
“Brain Damage/Eclipse” followed, and seemed to wake up the crowd who didn’t know the solo stuff a bit.
Before beginning “Comfortably Numb,” Roger talked to us a bit about the “magic,” and also about the tour, how well it was going and how it was almost over. He told us that at the end of the song he was bringing out the rest of the crew who had worked so hard to take a bow and asked us to give them some applause. Then he launched into the song.
“Comfortably Numb” went great, but again I could not help but miss Dave a bit for this song. After all, it is HIS music. But again, I’m not slighting the performance of Doyle or Snowy, who did indeed a fantastic job throughout.
Now the moment I had been waiting for and dreading at the same time: “Each Small Candle.”
I had brought a small box of birthday candles with me and started lighting them as Roger began speaking about the song. To their credit, once again the crowd seemed to LISTEN, with a minimal of screaming during Rogers story. What I found interesting as well was the e fact that Roger stated that many people including his “managers, promoters” and etc had told him NOT to perform this song as the closer, but that he was doing it anyway despite their wishes. I was VERY happy to hear this, that Roger refused to cave to those who told him closing with a new song wouldn’t work. After all, its Rogers show and he can and DID do what he wants.
As for the new song, I love it. It sounds much better live than on the mp3. If you’ve decided that you don’t like Rogers new song based on that mp3, give it another chance when you hear it live or when it comes out on the new record. You won’t be disappointed, trust me.
During the song I passed out my candles to those around me, some of who didn’t know about the song but thought it very cool that I did and came prepared. Many thanked me afterwards and said how much they liked the song, so that made me feel good that even those who didn’t know about this song yet enjoyed it.
And when Roger lit his own flame as he sang the final chorus: “each small candle…lights a corner…of the dark.” It was a dramatic ending to a wonderful evening of music.
All in all, a wonderful experience and another great performance by Roger. Again, what really impressed me was not so much the crowd or the bands performance, but Rogers attitude. He really seems sincere and happy to be up there. Any hatred or anger he once had toward us fans seems to be truly gone. And that is really the best part of it for me.
I can only hope that this is NOT my last time seeing him, and that his new record will afford me the opportunity to witness his joy of performing again.
Thank YOU, Roger, for bringing the magic back to ME. Words here cannot express how much it meant to me.
Thanks to Tom MacNeir