Thanks to Joseph Gunlock

Thanks to Joseph Gunlock

Set List: In the Flesh / The Happiest Days of our Lives / Another Brick in the Wall Part II / Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert / Southampton Dock / Pigs on the Wing / Dogs / Welcome to the Machine / Wish You Were Here / Shine On You Crazy Diamond Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun / Speak to Me / Breathe / Time / Breathe (reprise) / Money / Every Strangers Eyes / Perfect Sense (1&2) / The Bravery of Being Out of Range / It’s a Miracle / Amused to Death / Brain Damage / Eclipse / Comfortably Numb Each Small Candle

What a great concert! It was great Texas evening at the Woodlands Pavilion. Although it is an outdoor venue, it is really designed well for sound, especially up in the covered section. My wife bought me tickets (even though she really doesn’t like Pink Floyd / Roger Waters) and we were slightly to the left at 26 rows back. As soon as we got there, I knew that it was going to be an awesome concert, and I wasn’t disappointed. The show started pretty much at 8:00pm. A little daylight left, but it wasn’t distracting. The band came out and then Roger came out and went up to the platform behind and above the band. The crowd went crazy, and the first few stands of In The Flesh started. So ya, thought ya might like to go to the show… Everyone was on their feet. I love the wall album, but I was never much into the movie and the accompanying symbolism – so it was a little strange to se the entire audience cross their arms to mimic the marching hammers. I am not always sure that the people understand Roger’s satirical stance in those lyrics (as Roger himself has stated). But the song was great, and everyone immediately got into the show. The next two from the wall (THDoOL & ABITW) were good as well. The band seemed to be pouring energy into these songs that is not always heard on the various tours. I thought Doyle Bramhall and Snowy White did a great job. The two Final Cut pieces were good as well, the rocket traveling across the pavilion and exploding. I liked the background images that went with Southampton Dock. It really is a good song. And then Pigs on the Wing. Another fine Roger Acoustic number. Rogers Voice was OK too – missing here and there, but hey it’s live (well most of the time). Then came Dogs. I knew this was coming and I have a few shows from the first leg – so I wasn’t really too fired up about this song. It is not my favorite on Animals and I am not to sure about not having Gilmour sing his parts. But let me say it was GREAT. Carin do a good job on the guitar and singing, but the highlight was the synthesizer solo while the band was playing cards (and what was the deal with that TV???) The music and the dogs barking traveling around the pavilion was awesome. Tapes of the show just cannot do it justice! (And I loved the card playing.) Then came the Wish You Were Here Songs. The elevator noises from behind us for Welcome to the Machine. And Wish You Were Here was done closer to the original version with Bramhall playing electric and Snowy playing the acoustic. It sounded pretty good – except I thought there was something a little off with Bramhall’s guitar. Not the way he was playing, but more like the way it was set up. I thought that a few times. And Shine on was fantastic. Good guitar work by Snowy (OK I did miss Glimour, but he wasn’t invited). I liked the psychedelic images in the background and the pictures of Syd during the song. The song ended much like on the first leg of the tour which I liked. Then came the break, and the best was yet to come. The first song after the break was the highlight of the evening for me – Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. An incredible version. I am so glad Roger added that one. A sax player came out and played on the song. You have to hear it – I hope a live album does come out with this on it. For me it was worth the price of admission. Then came the dark side set. Speak to Me was cool in that it came from behind his – I’ve been made for years … The band did a great job on these songs. I really enjoyed Bramhall’s singing on the songs as well. I thought he did a fabulous job and really adding to the concert. The crowd, as you can guess, was really into it. Everyone on their feet, singing along to the songs. And my hat off to the band for their performance of Money – by far the best live performance of that song that I have heard. Even Andy Fairweather-Low got into the action. Then came Every Stranger’s Eyes – sorry guys but they should have left this out too. No way was Roger hitting those notes. A bit disappointing after coming of such a hot DSOTM set. Then came Perfect Sense, one of my favorites off of ATD. Great live performance. The lady singer was incredible. And to my surprise – and to Roger’s credit – the crowd was really into it. Everyone was on there feet singing the words. I was really happy to see such a response to some of Roger’s solo work. Another good addition followed, ATD’s The Bravery of Being Out of Range. For those going to the show, watch the back drop images during the song. Very well done and adds alot to the song. It brought back memories of watching the Gulf War on TV in 1991. Roger can sure hit right on the mark at times. It’s A Miracle and Amused to Death were OK. I am not sure how well they came across live. The images at the end of Amused to Death was chilling – with the Ballad of Bill Hubbard playing on the speakers and the names of the men on the wall until it reaches one William Hubbard. I thought that was good. Brain Damage/Eclipse, very well done and very well received by the crowd. And Comfortably Numb was wonderful. Bramhall and White did a great job on the guitars. I sure much rather hear Roger sing his part and someone else pick up Dave’s, then the other way around. Then came the encore. Rog’s few words about magic – too much for my taste. I think he got his point across in the program. I had read that One Small Candle was different from the KC show and it surely was. And although the lyrics are very good (and very chilling) I think it still needs a great deal of work on the music side. I just don’t see it as a song that needs a guitar solo. All in all it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. I can’t wait for the live album. I hope you all have a chance to see it somewhere on the tour as well. Thanks to Jim Bartee

1006show2cThe Definition of “Magic”, Part 1 I had been both eagerly anticipating and dreading the concert for months. I knew well enough that Roger Waters would not neglect to offer his salute to Syd Barrett, the founder of Pink Floyd and the crazy diamond who disappeared as quickly as he came – into a self-imposed exile of apparent mental illness. And I knew the tribute would be difficult for me to get through. After all, I had lost MY band 20 years ago when I had my breakdown, I also went into seclusion for years – but unlike Roger Keith Barrett I came back out into the world, albeit on shaky legs. I remember the horrors of coming to grips with the fact that one CAN lose their mind against their wishes. And I understood the rejection Roger Keith must have felt in 1975 when the band SEEMED to be more interested in finishing their opus album Wish You Were Here ABOUT Syd rather than getting to know him again and helping him to recover. My band also was more interested in propping up the “crazy flamboyant lead singer” rather than stopping long enough to help me avoid the bottomless pit of insanity. So, yes, I feel a special kinship to Roger Keith. I admire him for just being a survivor all these years. And I have a love unexplainable for Mr. Waters who has written so eloquently about his old mate (feelings both of personal guilt and of lost genius), and about the subjects of madness, alienation, the rock “machine”, the futility of war, the hidden powers that be, and the challenges to hardened hearts to refuse to be entertained by the real and fictional images of death flashing across our TV screens. But I was determined to give it a go, in spite of my personal fears. And so, with a good friend (known on the Roger Water’s BBS as InsaneCrystal) we took a Saturday morning drive (road trip!) from Austin to Houston, Tx. – and came back with the stardust of magic twinkling about our heads. My id is MadCapLafs – and here is our story. That sounded kinda like Dragnet, didn’t it? We got into Houston around 1pm (the show was set to start at 8pm) and went by the venue to scope it out. Looked cool enough, but no marquee with Roger’s name on it for me to get a picture of! Also, no apparent guitar tuning to cue us to a sound check, so we decided to go get something to eat. Of course we scoured the joint thoroughly to make sure we didn’t miss Roger eating there or something. We took our time eating, we had actually OVER-prepared for a change, it seemed. I called my wife from my cell-phone. Suffice it to say, she is not the biggest Pink Floyd fan, in fact our household has got such that the very word “pink” sends her eyes rolling. Yes, I’m obsessed. She had taken the opportunity to paint the living room (sending the babies to the grandparents) while I was out of town. She had almost finished priming (a nice beige that we had picked out together) and was already getting fairly tired. We exchanged the usual marital pleasantries, and she told me to have a really good time. What does this have to do with the story? I’ll come back to this later… My friend and I thought about shooting some pool, debated about whether to go find a hotel room, and finally decided to swing back by the venue JUST IN CASE. Right decision. We pulled up, rolled the window down and this time the guitar was tuning up. We drove like hell to the “gold” parking lot, assured the security guy that we wouldn’t park there, and straight away went on to park there. Yes! THIS old geezer was gonna relive his concert mongering days to SOME degree, dag-nabbit! We walked by Roger’s tour buses (from the OTHER side of the fence, of course), the two or three semi’s, and ended up at the front gates. We could BARELY glimpse one small corner of the stage, but damned if the local radio stations didn’t have their music blaring such that we couldn’t hear very well. So we walked on around the back of the Pavilion -the furthest point to the rear facing the stage. Being somewhat of an amphitheater, the Pavilion’s seating was semi-circle with the “lawn” seating area up above the seating on the higher part of the hill. The stage completed the semi-circle. From where we were at that time, it was a very steep climb up the hill to reach the back fence of the venue. It had barbwire strung at the top. Up till then we had heard a few drumbeats, a guitar chord or two, but nothing else. How perfect could THIS be? JUST as we made it to the top of the hill, the helicopter blasted out over the speakers. We looked at each other and grinned. We started cracking jokes “You! Yes you, laddies! Get OFF of the HILL!” To our credit though, in scoping things out, we had discovered a gate open – just a few feet of steps and we could have SEEN what was going on – but we were trying to be respectful fans and managed to overcome the temptation. Even so, one likes to imagine that somebody would tell Roger how GOOD we were, and he’d get on the mike and say “Hey you two laddies, come on up to the stage and give us a HAND with this arrangement, eh?” Ahhh… to dream, perchance to… We got on our tiptoes, but could only see the top half of the backdrop to the stage, not the stage itself. InsaneCrystal (now to be referred to as Ice) is taller than me so by jumping could JUST see the heads of some people on stage. The helicopter stopped. “Could we get a properly TRAINED individual to fetch the rest of the band?” It was Roger, of course, BOOMING over the PA speakers. We both grinned at each other and did a “high-five”. YES! Though we had discussed the possibility of listening to the sound check, I don’t think either of us knew how important it would be to us until that moment. We were the only ones there, just sitting with our backs against the fence, looking out over the beautiful Woodlands park with all it’s majestic pines – and just by the smallest little coincidence happened to be getting a PERSONAL serenade by Roger Waters and his band! I lit a cigarette and exhaled in glee. It’s hard to explain, but isn’t it a strange thing that all this music stuff brought an old hippy from his old hometown – staring into the jaws of mid-life crisis – to be sitting here secretly on a hill spying in on an even OLDER hippy who flew all the way from HIS old hometown of Cambridge just to celebrate life together? I told you it was hard to explain… The sound check turned out to be more than just that – it was a mini-rehearsal with several interesting tidbits to be gleaned. I was surprised at myself that I had just assumed that the band had worked everything out before the tour – and that’s that! It became apparent very quickly that 1) Roger was in CHARGE, 2) the tour was a work-in-progress and 3) that Roger has a FABULOUS sense of humor and genuine warmth towards his bandmates. He said “Happy Birthday” to someone, though neither of us caught the name. The “trained” comment also came along with a few laughs in the background, so it must have been an inside joke. Roger on several occasions poked fun at himself. He sounded VERY relaxed and in a really good mood. Even though – he did not waste TOO much time with the kidding around. Once something was worked out, he would ask “Nick” (obviously Nick Griffiths at the mixer board) “ok, what’s next?”. I marveled at the fact that Nick Griffiths had mixed such a HUGE event as The Wall Live In Berlin ten years ago, yet his dedication to Roger’s work had him at this pee-diddly Texas Pavilion today. Come to think of it, most of the band has been with Roger for a long time – Snowy White & Andy Fairweather-Low on guitars and bass, Graham Broad on drums, Katie Kissoon (who sings that FABULOUS solo on Perfect Sense), and the introduction of Jon Carin who had been with the “other” Floyds for so long. All those years of reading what an ass Roger could be to work with were starting to look pretty silly to me. I wondered what ELSE Roger was misunderstood about… They started working on Each Small Candle. You could tell Nick was working out the sound on different instruments as suddenly all you would hear would be the drums, with the rest of the band’s sound only coming from the amps on the stage. This was done in turn to every instrument. Roger stopped them at one point and instructed the ladies that he wanted them to come in a full step sooner on one of the chorus lines. What really struck me is that you never heard Roger say “do this or do that” – he ALWAYS said something to the effect of “let’s try that and see how it sounds, eh?” or “Let’s just give it a go and see how everybody feels”. Cool… 1006show2MNot to say that he didn’t have a very clear opinion on anything! Later they were working on Perfect Sense. Nick would start the part with Marv Albert announcing, and Roger interrupted him and said “Nick, you need to start that a little earlier so we will know when to come in.” By the way, it amazed me how Roger could say to the band “ok, let’s start off from the b flat” and boom! the whole band would start from the same spot (including the singers) without any lagging behind on anybody’s part. Anyway, at one point somebody was making a suggestion to Roger. It was one of the guitarists for sure, but we really couldn’t hear the others talking very well, so just had to make out the conversation by listening to Roger’s responses over the PA. Roger said something like “I don’t think so” and there was more conversation. There was some mention about 3/4 or 4/4 timing or some such from Roger, and then he said “Ok, let’s listen to the RECord.” I can’t even mimic how he said “record” but it was VERY British. We Texans say “reckerd” where Roger says something like “REhCored”. He went on to say “The boys seem to think it would sound better done their way, and I want to hear how it was done on the RECord.” Pause. “It’s in my green bag, somebody get my green bag please”. Long pause. The sound of PS on the RECord began playing over the PA. It stopped. There was more discussion and intermittent guitar playing. Ice and I were looking at each other like “Yeah… kickass!” I mean, what ELSE can you say when you are sitting there – just the two of you – listening to the composer of SO MANY wonderous songs that we had locked in our hearts – COMPOSING before your very ears? “Sounds like this will be a case for pistols at dawn” Roger joked. More laughter. Then Roger cut in on somebody, and with a laugh in his voice said “I suggest that whoever is the TALLEST wins, what do you say?” The mock protests were obvious, but I do believe that was the end of that one. Ice and I just kept grinning at each other. A few neat coincidences… At one point I was joking to Ice about how one of the musicians should tease Roger by saying “perhaps we need a TRAINED vocalist!” to which Roger immediately cleared his throat over the PA right after I said that. I was spooked for a few seconds that perhaps he had heard me, but remembered we were too far away. Or WERE we? By the way, his voice was BEAUTIFUL, but I’ll get to that later. At another time, I was just sitting there soaking in Set The Controls, thinking ‘I hope we don’t get busted for sitting here’ when Roger sang “over the mountain… watching the watcher”. Ok, so we were on a HILL, but STILL… Ice gets up and starts jumping to see what he can see. I jumped a few times too, and of course one of the earpieces to my glasses broke off! DAMN! I just kept sticking it back in and having it pop off every time I grinned. I tried not to grin – but that just wasn’t going to be possible TODAY! I put off any decision because hearing this was just too important. A few other tidbits… At one point Roger said something about that song being in the “second hof”. We looked puzzled at each other – until we figured out he was saying “half”. Same thing with another word that neither of us can remember now – something like “it is on that “wedge” between the 3rd something or another”. What the hell was a “wedge”, we wondered? Is that the same as “bridge”? We also heard him specifically mention “Doyle, Nick, Andy and Snowy” at some point or other. I do remember him addressing Doyle during the guitar debate. At another time, while working on ABITW2, one of the guitarists was asking “which sounds better, sample A?” – and would play a certain bit – “or sample B?”. I wanted to shout out B! because it sounded closer to Gimour (the DA dada, dadunt dadunt, DA dada dadunt dadunt rhythm part) whereas the first sample had too much falange effect on it. But I stifled the impulse. We were there from 4pm to 6pm and they were still going! I remember looking out across the park below to a jogging trail way off in the distance, and an old man walking was looking in the general direction and probably thinking ‘What the hell?’. I think that was when Marv was calling the shots on the oil rig over and over. All in all, we heard them rehearse the following: Each Small Candle, Set The Controls, Welcome To The Machine, Money (it took Nick a long time to get the sound right for the sax player), Perfect Sense 1 & 2, ABITW2, Dogs and a few small bits of Mother. I remember sitting there and hearing Roger singing “hold on soldier” and I felt a wave of relief come over me. It was at that point that I knew I was supposed to be there. Don’t ask me to explain that, it was just a comforting line to me. Painful memories be damned, this was going to be a soul-feeding experience – I could tell already. And that is precisely the moment that Security arrived in a little golf cart thingy and waved us to come down the hill. ‘You! Yes you laddies! Get OFF of that HILL!’ I joked in my head. 1106show2aaThe Definition Of “Magic”, part 2 “You need to stay behind the fences down there please” Ok ok. I had to whisper to IC to be cool – after all, we didn’t want to get banned from the actual concert. I’ve learned over the years to just placate the cops with a nice “thank you, sir, we’ll certainly do that” and then go on and find a sneakier way to do what you want. But IC is a young turk, and maybe I should let down my hair more often and should have just gone on through the open gate and risked it. Ah well…. As we were walking away from the hill I heard Doyle (it HAD to be Doyle) filling a lull with a quick version of “Turkey in the Straw”. I mean, who ELSE but a Texan would do that? We were back at the gates, listening to the wonderful strains of Tom Petty from the radio stations drowning out any sound from the stage now. During a break between songs on the radio station, I called my wife to let her hear the sound check. She was not a happy camper. After painting the ENTIRE living room and dining room, she then noticed that instead of looking beige… it looked… PINK! Yes, that’s right – pink. I tried not to laugh because I knew it would just get me in the doghouse, but I couldn’t HELP it! I offered to call again during the show, but she wasn’t interested. Sorry Hon! Poor girl is just plagued by PINK! Hehe! Decision time. I had to fix my glasses, and we were both parched. So we jumped in the truck (passing a lady in uniform preparing her horse – the sight was lost on me at the moment) and raced to find a Home Depot. On the way I wrote furiously on my notepad all we could remember. Got the glue, fixed my glasses, tanked up on Gatorade and headed back. Whoops! People walking and lines of cars EVERYwhere. Where were all these people 30 minutes ago? We managed to find a decent parking place anyway, and hurriedly walked through the entrance. To our amazement, there was a warm-up band, of sorts. They had their own little stage in the atrium area. Kinda grunge – young and pretty damned good – but their singer sucked (yeah, I’m pretty critical of singers). We found our seats at exactly 7pm – an hour before the scheduled start. Not too bad – about 60 feet from the front of the stage. I was to find out later that not only was there no bad seats, but the left side was THE place to be! The sun was about 2″ above the horizon, with intermittent clouds. I asked a security guard if I could go up near the stage to take notes, and he let me. I had a good time pretending I was The Press as I jotted notes about what I could see on stage – all the while with a serious look on my face. As I moved right in front of the stage, I noticed a heavy blast of air-conditioning – ah ha! So THAT’S how a Brit could stand our oppressive Texas heat! Lucky so-and-so… From left to right… Doyle had a Marshall amp, with a Yamaha head, and a Fender amp next to it. Snowy had two smaller Vox speakers. Directly in front was a well-worn brown sun-burst Strat, sitting in it’s stand (Doyle’s). Reminded me of the well-worn guitar Stevie Ray favored on stage. Sigh… Behind their amps and on a small riser stood Graham’s Tama drum kit. Zildjian cymbals and, I noted with interest, his high-hat was to the right front of his snare – unusual placement. The back center of the stage had the famous table with chairs, with a clean shot glass for each chair. I couldn’t make out the bottle that was sitting there, so relied on my well-trained buddy Ice (don’t make me explain that) to tell me what the bottle was. Alas! It was a fine bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label. In the center was a single ashtray, and a stack of cards. Dead center back was two closed silver doors, which the band would emerge from. Above all this was the higher level where Roger would make his entrance as the Fascist Rock-n-Roll Dictator. To the right of the doors were Roger’s two Fender amps. To the right front of that was a rack with four acoustic guitars, a few electrics, and four bass guitars. On a riser to the right back (in direct proportion to Broad’s riser on the left) was Jon Carin’s nest. There were three, count ’em, THREE Kurzweil organs. Of course, there was a vocal mike at the ready for the two Kurzweil’s that Jon played. Directly in front of his riser to the right of the stage were two long couches, with little end tables and lamps. There were, in fact, lamps all over the stage – all with black shades. In front of the couches were three mike stands – no need to guess who would be singing THERE. To my amusement, the far left end table had a red book with gold leaf sitting on it. A Bible? Hmmm…. And of course there was one prominent mike in the middle of the stage, placed slightly ahead of all other mike-stands. Oh, and to the back right of the card table was the… TV. It was currently on Channel 2 with a blue screen. I wondered how the TV stations knew when to start airing? The whole stage was black and grey. EVERYTHING. Made for a really cool, atmospheric ambience. Did I just say “ambience”? Ah well.. I’ll try NOT to say “balmy”… The backdrop was a silky flat curtain that was also a light grey. On either side in the front were hung curved stacks of SP1-sized PA speakers. Of course, speakers were hung ALL over the place as well. Since it was still daylight, if you squinted really hard you could see the pink pig projected on the backdrop, with “In The Flesh” tattooed on his porky side. Two Ikelami video cameras on stands were manned and pointed directly at the stage, from the walkway behind the front row pit. I’m out in the atrium smoking a cig when I hear “Ladies and Gentlemen, the show will start in 5 minutes!” I put the butt out and get MY butt into my seat. The sun was now obscured by clouds (sorry – couldn’t help myself!) and it too was a nice grey sky. I was starting to worry that maybe a grey pig-looking cloud might start floating by – but geesh, I hadn’t done any of THAT stuff since the ’70’s. The band takes the stage. ALL are dressed in some combination of black and grey. Then The Man walks out to the mike on the highest riser, dressed in a smart black suit, donning his shades, bass strapped around him. The crowd leaps to it’s feet, and he gives us the hammer sign. Even though he is doing his best to do the mock-dictator, Roger can’t suppress this HUGE grin. He looks really nice when he smiles. I had SWORE to myself that I wouldn’t be a pig-face and return the hammer sign, but I just couldn’t help myself! He steps to the mike “Eins, Zwei, Drei” The band kicks into “In The Flesh”. Roger is walking all over the stage working the crowd like a master. This feels even more intimate than when I saw him on KAOS. On KAOS, he still had a kind of detachment that is hard to explain. In this show it was clear from the beginning that he was reaching out to the very last person at the back of the lawn – you could FEEL it in his expressions, movement – hell, his whole demeanor. Straight into “ABITW2”. Doyle is handling the lead quite well. All the others are dressed in rather conservative grey and black, whereas Doyle is wearing suede black pants with silver sequins making flowery shapes, and open black satin shirt revealing a hairy chest, and a heavy silver necklace. My wife wouldn’t allow me to comment on the lady singers… I’ll just say one word – sleek. Roger descending the platform via one of two surrounding staircases going to the stage floor. The crowd rose again. As Snowy is handling the 2nd part of the lead, Roger is on our side egging the crowd on – and we respond madly. At the finish Roger steps to the mike and says two enthusiastic “thank you’s!”. He puts on an acoustic, and starts playing the intro to “Mother”. The requisite major cheers answer to his question “will they like this song?”. The whole crowd sings along to “break my balls?”. Interesting… The stage is bathed in a cool dark blue, while Roger is only in the spotlight, and his acoustic reflects the light back into the audience. Striking! Doyle’s lead is FLAWLESS! The backup singers sing the chorus in perfect harmony. Roger mouths the words from the background. He is TOTALLY into this performance! In fact, he does that several times throughout the show. During the second chorus, Roger is mouthing the words again, raising his eyebrows to the crowd, who respond with raised arms wherever he walks on the stage. The song dies down to major cheers. All is dark on the stage. Zooooom… ka-BOOM! The bomb flies from behind us to the stage with a resounding roar! A sea of crosses appear on the screen and Roger begins “They disembarked in ’45…” This was my first “chill down the spine” moment. Roger is singing SO incredibly well, and with obvious feeling. Yes, he is performing, but he is living each word, too. During the latter part of “Southampton Dock” images of the Wall in Berlin and poppy fields fade in and out. I wrote in my notes at the time “Damn!”. Of course, it’s never been lost on me that Southampton was THE gig where the Floyd opted NOT to pick up Syd for the gig. Roger hides the references to his old mate EVERYwhere… Roger keeps his acoustic on, and begins “POTW, part 1”. The crowd goes wild. He finishes and steps into the background as an image of the Battersea Power Station appears on the screen (to thunderous applause). Carin has stood up and begun the strumming intro for “Dogs”. The crowd goes wild again. Carin is handling both the guitar and vocals EXTREMELY well. When he gets to the part about “the chance to put the knife in!” Roger makes a grimace and mimes thrusting a knife in the air. The dual lead between Doyle and Snowy is awesome. However, when they get to the slower tempo part where Dave would do the high-notes wails, Doyle opts to stay in the lower register. I didn’t like that much. I understand the need for improv, but there are some parts that are just too emotionally connected in one’s brain to suffer being altered. When they get to “And when you loose control..” Roger and Doyle are harmonizing perfectly. Shudders! I am watching the AUTHOR of these songs PERFORMING them. Damn! As “stone” echoes into the distance, Roger takes his jacket off (yes, some of the nubile ladies in the audience squeal) – ah… if only ALL us mid-lifers could experience such every now and then! He and everyone but Carin and Broad on drums take their seats at the table and start dealing the cards. Funny… the crowd had sat down to enjoy the song in restful bliss – but all rose to try to see what was going on at the card table! Three bar chairs were brought out for the ladies, and a waiter came out with three mixed drinks and handed one to each, as they looked over the guy’s shoulders. TOO classic! Oh, and of course, since the very beginning of the show an old b/w war movie is showing on the TV. I have no idea what movie it was – but it didn’t look like Dambusters. Carin and Broad’s performance of the ephemeral part of “Dogs” is just stunning! You can feel that organ flowing out from deep inside you – ah…! It’s like the first time years and years ago with a big fat joint and everybody smiling and nodding to each other with squint-eyes. I have to say that it is much easier to remember all of this THIS time around – being as I was stone cold sober. I’ll never see Roger again in any OTHER state – well worth it. And the biggest “chills” for me were yet to come The Definition Of “Magic”, part 3 As twilight hits the hillside behind us, the mechanical throbs of “Welcome To The Machine” blow around the Amphitheater. A little unexpected by me, Roger’s vocals are chillingly perfect, and the crowd is on it’s feet singing along. Roger puts particular emphasis, like a rebel with a cause inspiring his troops, on the words “we told you what to dream”. The song ends with an extended whirlwind of Carin’s keyboards embracing us and carrying us into the gentle night. Standing ovation. And then comes what I like to call the “expected” special moment. “Wish You Were Here”. This is purely subjective, but in a weird way I feel robbed on this song. Not by the band, but by the other fans! I had claimed it as my own for so many years, and then it became the concert “fav sing-a-long” – and something about an “expected fav” kinda knocks the luster off of a song for me. Nobody’s fault, just expressing how we can all kind of “own” a song for our very own and even get a little greedy with it! But I wasn’t prepared for the vision that would hit me. Call it craziness, call it too much Pink Floyd studying, whatever… but from the respectable distance I was sitting at, not close enough but not too far away – I was struck by a vision. Of course the crowd is on it’s feet singing along, and a blue-green fog has crept over the stage. Call it failing eyesight, blurry glasses or whatever you want – but it suddenly struck me. If you didn’t concentrate too heavily on Doyle’s facial features, it occurred to me that a 56 year-old Roger Waters was standing on stage playing with a ringer for a ’67 model Syd Barrett. Again, of course Doyle bears little resemblance to Syd upon very close examination. But from the distance, the build of his body, his youth, his curly black hair, the decidedly fancier outfit than the rest. And what drew my attention to this thought was actually the way Roger would keep LOOKING at him. Often during this song he would look over at him (was it my imagination?), almost as if he were trying to recapture that feeling through a little pretending. I was a hog with the binoculars through this song, and I kept them on Roger’s face the entire time. I don’t care what anybody says about how many times the man has performed it, there is OBVIOUS pain etched on his face, the eyes tight shut while singing, the eyebrows arched in yearning. I keep them on him throughout the ending of the song, while the crowd is cheering wildly, and watch very, very closely for this moment. He steps to the microphone and says thank you, but for the first time tonight there is no smile. In fact, he isn’t even looking at the audience, he is still gone somewhere, very far away, in his mind – and I again fight off the tears. I love this man. Thanks Roger, for making the song special for me again. A world map hits the backdrop to the first strains of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and immediately begins to melt. Very cool! I keep the binoculars going back and forth between Roger, Doyle, and Bramhall. I start thinking about how Carin has pulled off the feat of the century, the only human being in the world to play with ALL of the Floyds. It is very easy, watching him, to accept him in my heart as a full-fledged member. The music evidently means something to him, he has played his heart out all night thus far, and I had already noticed a quite pleasant tendency on his part. Whenever Jon sings a part himself, or in harmony, he looks at Roger. Not at the crowd, not in the air, but always at Roger. By the time of the last chorus, it is now completely dark, just in time to accept the brilliant mirrored diamond that has been raised to the middle of the backdrop, sending pinprick sparkles over the band and rotating upon the audience. Carin’s ending is just totally beyond description, his organ whispering it’s pain like a mother caressing her dying infant and slowly letting go of it for the last time. Again I’m fighting the tears, as Roger steps to the mike and says, “for all of the crazy diamonds out there, and this one is especially for Syd of course”. Of course. My buddy dutifully keeps me from falling off the edge of the universe by shouting in my ear “hey man, what about all the ‘Insane Crystals’ in the audience, huh?!?” with mock insult. He makes me laugh, and in so doing I suck up the emotions again and keep a grip. But then Roger says thanks again and advising that the band will be taking a short break. So I go out in the atrium area by myself to think over a smoke. The old pain was at the fore. This was what I had been fearing, getting too close to the subject again. What was most puzzling, was that the MAIN thing I had come to see, Syd’s image appearing behind Roger during those two songs, didn’t seem to have happened. How very strange! I shook it off and decided to see if I could find Zackh, another friend from the Sony Roger Waters bbs Site who had given me his seat numbers so I could find him. I found him and we excitedly talked about what our impressions were. I took a pic of him, and him of me, but (so sorry Zack!) NEITHER one of them came out. The cheap little throw-away camera I had snuck in and used very intermittently turned out to be just that – cheap! Not one discernible picture from the whole show. Thank goodness for other fans who got some and have posted on the Net. I puzzled to Zack over why Roger didn’t use the Syd image as he had in former shows. Zack looked at me kinda funny, and said “You ARE kidding, right? His image WAS up there, in fact it started very small and grew to fill the entire backdrop!” Huh? It dawned on me that I was so focused on Roger through the binoculars that I had completely missed it! The moment I came for was lost to me, or so it would seem. As I lit another smoke and surveyed everything under the lights, I realized that this was a capacity crowd. Every seat was full and the lawn was like ants packed together. Very excellent! Way to go, fellow Texans! I reflected on Roger’s image – sun-tanned, his face full of character as would be expected for a man his age – but pleasant to look at. His eyes were often like slits, except when he would open them wide to emphasize a line of song or in walking around and egging the audience on. Nice greying around his temples, but his hair is still very full. A well-fit man and obviously full of a lot of life to come. Again, when he smiles, it is a beauty to behold. After all the stories we’ve heard all these years about this supposed “gloomiest man in rock” – it is so good to see him smile – and so often! I was especially pleased by the fact that he was having such a good time, and he was playing this audience like a fiddle – a truly seasoned veteran. The lights began to dim, so I rushed back to my seat. The moment that all us old Pink Floyd hippies were eagerly looking for was here. Images of Syd’s Floyd flashed in the background as the band slowly kicked into “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”. The crowd was on it’s feet through the whole song. Killer sax to a jelly-melting background. The tempo was faster than the original, but very pleasing as Doyle breaks into a kick-ass wah-wah laden solo. When the tempo slows again Roger is playing his acoustic and singing as the last refrains begin to die down. An excellent cool breeze kicks up and flows over the audience as the heartbeat and ticking clocks and voices get louder and louder. The crowd is still up and grooving. “Speak To Me/Breathe”. Carin is playing slide, an unlike what I had read from prior critics, he is handling it quite beautifully. Doyle and Jon harmonize the lead-in vocals. I suddenly notice a monkey sitting on a pile of stones, throwing a bone into the air – it is the class “2001” playing on the TV, of course. The Pink Floyd pyramid beams on the backdrop as the final strains wind down. The crowd had sung along to the entire song. Roger nods, smiles, raises his eyebrows as if to say ‘Yes, I wrote them ALL baby, and you are VERY welcome!’ as he takes a long low bow. The cash register signals “Money” with Doyle singing the lead. The keyboards by Carin are better and closer to the original than he did with the ‘other’ Floyd. Andy plays a hard-edged lead, and Snowy picks it up with an airiness that is as close to Gilmour as I’ve ever heard another guitarist ever play. The rhythm and the keys sounds EXACTLY like the studio version, which is very refreshing. The whole crowd delights in shouting “bullshit!” with the band. The song ends and all is dark again. Roger begins “Every Stranger’s Eyes” with a black/white very old movie of Indians performing ritual dancing on the backdrop. To my momentary disappointment, the crowd finally sits down. I strain to see what is on the TV, and after a good 30 seconds of watching it I realize that I am caught in that “pull” that TV does to you. I tear my eyes away thinking ‘Dammit, Roger – I GET it, ok?” haha! Then the unexpected happens for me. The most poignant moments of the concert that I will never forget are about to wrap themselves around my memory for life. The backwards yelling from ATD circles our heads as a huge gorilla is sitting in a chair with the galaxy behind him. Roger steps to the microphone with no instrument and begins singing “Perfect Sense, part 1”. The crowd jumps to it’s feet, cheering wildly. I am totally amazed at the spectacle. Roger conducts the song with the theatrics of a Burt Lancaster character trying to make you believe it will REALLY rain if you just BELIEVE! His voice is clear and strong, and as the song moves into “PS, part 2” Roger is almost PLEADING with the audience through his performance. And the chill runs down my spine – because the crowd is singing along! And I mean just damn near every one of the 15,000 there. When we are all singing with Roger that it “all makes perfect sense” – most of the crowd have their arms in the air and gesturing back to Roger as he is to us. It is like we have all made that magical connection Roger keeps talking about. It is that one song where the band, Roger, and the audience are one unified voice crying out to the Heavens to make everything right again. And it was then that I realized how badly I wanted Roger to feel confirmed in his post-PF work. And it was then that I knew – I was watching the heart and soul of Pink Floyd and realizing it for the very first time in my life. The song ends and the crowd refuses to sit down. We are all basking in a glorious moment of unity where it just doesn’t matter what all our differences are – we just want to let ourselves be happy in front of each other and with each other. I’ll never, ever forget that. Thanks Roger. The crowd sits respectfully as the band begins “The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range”. That is, all except our left side. Somebody up front has made our minds up for us, so we just accept it and continue to groove along on our feet. Roger is playing a cherry-red electric guitar – the first time I’ve ever seen him play one. This song too is magical, in it’s own unique way, and I was pleased that the crowd listened to this one because it’s message is the kind that needs only one singer, Roger Waters. Stars appear on the backdrop, fleshing in and out with some kind of space movie, as the ephemeral, majestic keyboards sweep “It’s A Miracle” over us. Roger sings the song like a preacher, putting his hands together around the microphone in prayer, and he IS preaching! His facial expressions are very pronounced – he is performing – he is no longer the dictator, but the preacher. And he is having a grand time playing the part! “Amused To Death” ends this amazing run of his solo material, to a backdrop of the names of the dead, thousands of them, filling the backdrop with “Bill Hubbard’s” name highlighted. All one can do is watch in silence, and let the spectre of needless, useless waste of life and limb pierce our souls – along with Roger’s. The whole crowd is on it’s feet again applauding politely and respectfully as “Brain Damage/Eclipse” begin to rip our skulls off. A true Floydian feast, from beginning to end, just as Roger had promised. And I DO mean to include Roger’s solo songs under that veil of “Floydian”. How hilarious to be singing about “lunatics on the grass” TO lunatics on the grass! Fine, we are the happiest bunch of lunatics you’ll find anywhere! And we all smile as Roger says his obligatory “that was for all the lunatics in the audience”. Suddenly it doesn’t feel so lonely to be a bit loony. That must be Roger’s point, after all. Roger introduces the band, and then thanks the audience for “listening!”. He pronounces that word with a clear message. And then the band hits the first chord of “Comfortably Numb” and of course the crowd goes wild as Roger wiggles his hips. Not really – just thought that would sound good. The crowd is very quiet during Roger’s vocal parts, but sings along with Doyle on Dave’s parts. The crowd is, shall we say, orgasmic at this point. Doyle begins the lead on the stage, and Snowy picks it up from on top of the projected “wall” on the upper tier. Doyle takes that opportunity to climb the steps to reach the far side from Snowy, and they trade off licks as they very slowly move toward each other. Pretty damned kick-ass, is all I can say. What a finale for a feast. And now to the desert as Roger promised. Another moment I had feared was upon us. Roger began to introduce “Each Small Candle”, and sure enough the ‘turds in the audience tonight’ are filing out or shouting. I make a decision on the spot. Roger has obviously decided to see the glass as half-full, so I am going to also. After all, by my estimation, a good 10,000 stayed till the very end. “For years I’ve said there was this distance between myself and the audience. You have brought the magic back – and I thank you for that!”. And George Roger Waters applauds the audience. I’ve heard the critics who bemoan this “rehearsed special moment” – well, screw ‘em. People who have followed this man throughout his career understand full well what he had to go through to be able to say that, and to be able to applaud his audience. And we know that Roger wouldn’t say or do it if he didn’t mean it. Damn, I just love happy endings! Roger explains the inspiration for the song the best he can, unmoved by the few morons who keep shouting. Damn, I wish they would get their filthy hands off my desert! Throughout the song the image of bob-wire shown on the backdrop, and the words were up there for all to follow. I had fortunately heard an mp3 many times, so enjoyed the song thoroughly. And I think it is damned gutsy of Roger to play a new song at the very end. He knows full well that if he placed it elsewhere in his set, that he wouldn’t have to risk the walkouts. But then, perhaps he doesn’t mind at all “weeding out the turds”. My word for them, Roger may be more gracious. But the point is, Roger Waters has always wanted people to love the MESSAGE, not the man. And that is what he wanted those who remained to focus on. And really, doesn’t he speak FOR us the things the world doesn’t want to deal with? That, to me, is not idol worship. It is merely applauding a man who has kept his heart open these 33 years to allow OUR feelings to get the attention of the world. He says his final goodnight, and waves very happily to the crowd, even shaking a few hands in the front row. I have by now come to the conclusion that I missed Syd’s image for a reason. It’s time to kiss the ugly past goodbye. To quit fearing it. To have hope again. And I won’t lie, I wish Roger and the other Floyds would decide to quit propping up a 1967 image of a Syd who no longer exists. He’s not dead, nor is he useless, Roger Keith Barrett, as he prefers to be called, is doing whatever he is supposed to be doing. It really is time for all of us to let him go, and respect who he is TODAY. That is what I have decided for myself. The band leaves the stage before Roger, and Roger is following when he stops. He turns around, and with a glint in his eye and a really broad grin, he waves with determination to our left side. Yeah… yeah… The only remaining hope that I have for Mr. Waters, is that he has come to know that What God Wants, is really ROGER. And you and me, too. Thanks and God bless! Thanks to Joseph Gunlock 1006tickets1

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