June 13th 2007
Los Angeles CA
By Paul Gargano:
Roger Waters summer tour includes a large caravan of shiny red trucks, the biggest crane I've even seen, a flying pink pig, the giant Pink Floyd Prism, state of the art special effects and Tablet PCs to control the Dolby® Lake® Processors that bring the sound in the Bowl to life.
Michael Cooper checks out the New Lenovo X61 Tablet PC as the Flying Pig is inflated behind the scenes
June 13th 2007
Los Angeles CA
By Paul Gargano:
In the politically-correct climate that is Hollywood in the 21st century, it's not often that a crowd of 18,000 will hear opening lines as jarring as the ones spoken by Roger Waters Wednesday night.
For the sold-out Hollywood Bowl crowd--the vast majority of whom likely thought they'd go to a show, bask in the musical glow, and possibly drift away in the space cadet aromas floating through the air--the stark lines of opener "In the Flesh" offered an immediate sign that this night would offer more than just a Roger Waters regurgitation of the Pink Floyd hit parade.
When Waters asked, via the song's lyrics, if there were "any queers in the theater tonight," pointed out that "that one looks Jewish" and focused on one patron who might be "smoking a joint," it was the start of a night that would not only call into question the very stereotypes that drive our world's political climates, but also the actions and motivations of those machines.
In the process, the Pink Floyd mastermind delivered one of the most memorable rock extravaganzas the historic Hollywood Bowl has hosted in recent memory. If nothing else, at least since Waters brought the same exact show to the venue little more than eight months ago.
The 150-minute set hasn't changed one bit since Waters visited Los Angeles last October, but judging from the performances on this night, few would argue that any change was necessary.
Opening with the twin-billing of "In the Flesh" and "Mother" from "The Wall," the first of the night's two acts was an 11-song re-assembly of Pink Floyd classics and a duo of Waters solo cuts. Together, they made a gripping and dynamic statement about political war machines, with many contemporary references to President George Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, the fight against terrorism and the current campaign in Iraq.
While "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" made a moving homage to Floyd founder Syd Barrett, in the context of the show, along with "Wish You Were Here," it offered a musical memorial to lives lost in battles fought. "The Fletcher Memorial Home" paid tribute to minds lost, while the only two Waters solo songs of the night, "Perfect Sense" and "Leaving Beirut," offered the most blatant anti-war messages.
With an inflatable astronaut floating over the stage and an interplanetary video backdrop, "Perfect Sense" began with an otherworldly peace, Waters trading vocals with a female accompaniment and the backing of his 10-piece band before the song reached a metaphoric finale simulating a nuclear submarine blowing up on oil rig. "Leaving Beirut," released as the b-side to "To Kill the Child" in 2005, offered the night's most poignant statement, the frontman retelling the story of an evening nearly 50 years ago when he spent the night with a family in pre-war-ravaged Lebanon.
By the time the helium-filled pink pig was led through the crowd during the first set's closing number, "Sheeps," the "Impeach Bush" and "Torture Shames Us All" slogans spray-painted on the balloon were merely exclamation points to sentiments that had already been made explicitly clear.
The second set featured a spot-on performance of Pink Floyd's classic "Dark Side of the Moon." The album was presented in every sonic detail, Waters allowing his band to sing lead in place of his Floyd bandmates, and the cover's prism appearing above the Hollywood Bowl, a single laser shooting from one side, and a rainbow of lasers coming through the other into the audience.
Musically, it was without reproach, snare drums snapping like precision clockwork on "Time," operatic female vocals elevating "The Great Gig in the Sky," guitar progressions unfolding atop each other within the massive-sounding "Money," and Waters delivering like a mad-eyed cross between Timothy Leary and Jim Morrison on "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse."
The first act was brought full-circle in the encore, five tracks from "The Wall" bringing the anti-establishment mantras and anti-war sentiments back to the spotlight, the crowd rising to their feet during "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" and remaining standing and singing through closers "Bring the Boys Back Home" and "Comfortably Numb."
Rarely does it happen that a single performance can transcend songs, history and legend, but Roger Waters has accomplished such a feat with his current tour. Hailed for its delivery of "Dark Side of the Moon," the real magic and message is in the epic delivery of the sets that surround the classic album, crafting more than just impeccably performed music with a flair for the dramatic, and creating a vivid snapshot of the world we live in, where it came from, and where it is heading.
When one brick crumbles, the wall becomes more likely to fall. In Hollywood Wednesday night, a lot of bricks were left questioning their foundation.