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The smoking bylaw went out the window at Rexall Place Sunday night. At the Roger Waters (alias Pink Floyd) concert, veteran concert-goers could never remember so much pot being smoked. "The air was blue, a total haze," says a spectator forced by pot, and then cigarette, smokers to take his teen son home at intermission.


This from a crowd whose average age would be about 45 or older.

Out-Floyding Floyd - Roger Waters in fine form!

Roger Waters at Rexall Place on June 24, 2007 (Edmonton Sun Photo by Robert Taylor)

June 24th 2007
CA Edmonton AB
Rexall Place

You know the shouting voice in the Pink Floyd song: “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?!”

I’ve always had a problem with that. Presumably it’s a cruel headmaster lambasting a hapless orphan in some horrible Dickensian English boarding school, but I wondered, how bad could it be when they have meat and pudding? Oliver Twist just had gruel.


Soulful psychedelic


Anyway, Floyd. There are a few things that don’t make sense about the most psychedelic soul band there ever was (or maybe it was the most soulful psychedelic band) – like why they sound better when the listener is stoned.


This is not just speculation. It is a scientifically proven fact. It’s high science, of course, so here we are.


If last night’s intense yet immaculate Roger Waters concert was the thing missing from the 1994 Pink Floyd concerts here, then what a remarkable band they could be if they reunited. Imagine the buzz. Then again, it might be unnecessary – Roger’s show was just awesome.




For one thing, he did Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety – the psychedelic-headphone-acid trip that is Side Two included. Can you believe it? The whole frickin’ album, synth mania and all. The concert was note perfect without being sterile – and without any apparent “backing tracks.” It had colourful and creative visuals. It had sensational backup singers. It had a guy playing guitar who has obviously studied Floyd carefully, possibly under a cruel headmaster.


It had all the hits, if a band like this could ever have “hits.” It had the flying pig. At least I think I saw the flying pig.


In short, the concert had everything a Pink Floyd fan could want. There were precisely 11,200 of them in Rexall Place last night – and we were all stoned. Anyone who wasn’t is free to write in to correct me, but dude, what were you doing at a Pink Floyd concert?


For that’s what it was – give or take a few “songs from my new album.” That, of course, is the classic rock cue to go for a beer or a pee.


This music definitely feeds the feeling of euphoria. They just don’t build songs like this anymore. Few Floyd tunes exceed the stately pace of 80 beats per minute; many are far more relaxed – yet they never drag. They are never boring.


There is never a dull moment. What few chords there are in a typical Pink Floyd song sound like a whole new world when they change. Dynamics and drama take precedence over flash. In Shine On You Crazy Diamond, the first guitar lick was a sunrise after a long and languid intro. The intro to The Heart of the Sun was a firestorm. The extended version of Pigs was a marathon of psychedelic goodness.


Few of the fans even seemed to know what the names of the song were – “play that song!” one young lady was overheard to heckle.


Pink Floyd fans know Pink Floyd music when they hear them, not by songs but by “albums” and the ridiculous lyrics and far-fetched concepts secondary to the flood of artful, euphoric sounds that haven’t since been matched except potentially by bands like Arcade Fire. But not really. There is only one Pink Floyd.


The 62-year-old Waters himself often came off like a Shakespearian actor and was in fine voice. At times, it seemed like he was trying to out-Floyd Floyd, to prove that he was as good – or better – on his own than with the band that calls itself Pink Floyd without him. Or maybe it doesn’t matter – the music is more important than the mere mortals replicating it.


Dark Side of the Moon


As good as the first half of the concert was – packed with powerful Floyd anthems, along with songs from Waters’ solo albums – the live version of Dark Side of the Moon was spectacular.


It sounded just like the record, which is not always a compliment, but in this case, it was amazing – especially accompanied by a swirling rainbow flying out a 2001 Space Odyssey scene and straight into a blazing supernova.


Man. You don’t need drugs to get high on the music of Pink Floyd – but it helps.

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