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Waters serves meat, pudding !

Roger Waters performs Saturday at MGM Grand Garden. He paced the stage, getting the crowd to mouth along with him.
Photo by Ralph Fountain.

Las Vegas Review-Journal
Saturday June 16th 2007
USA Las Vegas NV
MGM Grand Garden

Founder, leader of Pink Floyd revamps classics.


When the other Pink Floyd guys first toured without him years ago, Roger Waters called their efforts "a clever forgery." Now it's his turn to tour behind "The Dark Side of the Moon" album and sure, they could throw the description back at him tit for tat.


A run-through of the classic in its entirety got top billing in Waters' MGM Grand Garden concert Saturday night. It was fun for the capacity crowd to hear Waters sing "Time" and other parts of the album where his was not the lead vocal. But no one in Waters' 10-piece ensemble dared tamper with one magical musical note, from the saxophone solo in "Money" to the fevered gospel wailing on "The Great Gig In The Sky."


It was a fun confection, but really the least of two and a half hours of music in two sets. The real authenticity? That came with everything that fell before and after: highlights from "The Wall," the rest of the Floyd catalog and solo efforts that revealed a restless conscience brooding beneath the bubbly surface of a crowd-pleasing summer tour.


How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat? A high-definition video screen and an impeccable sound system delivered favorites such as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." But, as he did in 2000, Waters stubbornly held on to pieces of the nearly forgotten Floyd swan song "The Final Cut" and his own "Amused to Death" album. And with good reason.


Much of the set list had not changed from Waters' visit this same week in 2000, but the world certainly has. Updated video with photos of George Bush, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein accompanied "The Fletcher Memorial Home" (for "incurable tyrants and kings.")


And the crowd cheered along to the newly relevant lyrics of "Perfect Sense." Waters paced the stage from corner to corner, getting the crowd to mouth along with him: "Can't you see it all makes perfect sense, expressed in dollars and cents" as the video showed a stadium crowd cheering on a submarine attack -- narrated by sports announcer Marv Albert, no less -- culminating in the explosion of a huge fireball in front of the screen.


And leave it to Waters to figure out how to make a new song not merely a bathroom break, but the emotional high point of the evening. The 63-year-old introduced "Leaving Beirut" with the story of how he was taken in by a poor but kind couple in Lebanon as a stranded 17-year-old. A comic strip ingeniously told the story as Waters sang "If I could find them now could I make amends? How does the story end?"


Flash bombs and footage from the Iraq war also updated "Bring the Boys Back Home" from "The Wall," and the giant floating pig that accompanies Waters on every tour sported new graffiti -- "Fear builds walls," "Impeach Bush," and "Habeas Corpus matters" -- as it cruised over the arena floor during "Sheep."


It all proved there was far more of a heartbeat behind this night of classic rock than the recorded one at the beginning of "Dark Side."

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