July 14th 2007
CA Toronto ON
By JANE STEVENSON:
TORONTO - Toronto proved to be the perfect place for Pink Floyd co-founder, bassist and principal songwriter Roger Waters to wrap up his 15-month-long Dark Side of the Moon solo tour.
Or so the sixtysomething British singer-musician told about 30,000 fans who filled the sold-out Concert Hall at the Rogers Centre on Saturday night.
"We couldn't have had a better sendoff," said the long, lean and lanky Waters as he concluded his two-hour-and-40-minute musical extravaganza, which included a 20-minute intermission.
"Canadian audiences are always the best audiences in North America. We couldn't have come to a better town."
Waters brought the same amazing show to the Air Canada Centre last September with two sets -- the first one consisting of both Floyd tunes and Waters solo material -- followed by a second half in which the Floyd 1973 classic album, The Dark Side of the Moon, was played in its entirety in chronological order.
Needless to say, fans were standing up and waving with their arms in the air during the second set, given the album's status as one of the best-selling of all time, propelled by such recognizable hits as Breathe, Time, The Great Gig In the Sky, Money, Us and Them and Brain Damage.
Still, Waters is no dummy and given Floyd's long-standing theatrical bent in concert there were plenty of lights, lasers, fireworks, explosions, cartoons, and two remote controlled flying inflatables -- an astronaut during Perfect Sense Part I and II, and a graffiti-adorned pink pig featuring such slogans as "Impeach Bush" and "All religions divide," during Sheep -- in the first set to keep everyone happy.
The set also featured an eye-catching hi-definition video backdrop that initially displayed an oversized bottle of scotch, cigarettes, matches, an ashtray, a toy plane and soldier, and an old Ferguson radio.
It was so authentic looking, you actually thought the set pieces were real until a pre-filmed segment began in which an arm belonging to a man, only revealed at the end of the show, tuned the radio to different frequencies and the concert began.
Like his accomplished 10-piece band, Waters was dressed in head-to-toe black and worked the long catwalk that stretched to either side of the massive stage so audience members could get a better look at him.
And there were also some mighty cool looking vintage photos of Waters and his old Floyd bandmates on display, including original Floyd singer Syd Barrett, who died last year and is the subject of tribute songs Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Wish You Were Here. These songs were the most moving part of the evening.
Without Floyd guitarist David Gilmour around, Waters uses three different guitarists to perform solos -- Dave Kilminster, Snowy White and Andy Fairweather-Low -- with Kilminster and keyboardist Jon Carin also acquitting themselves nicely as lead vocalists during The Dark Side of the Moon set.
The most political song of the evening turned out to be a new solo song, Leaving Beirut, in which Waters recounted a 1961 experience he had as a 17-year-old when he was taken in by a Lebanese family when his car broke down during a tour of the Middle East.
"I haven't forgotten those people," he said, before performing the song that was accompanied by a cartoon, images of war and some mighty strong lyrics.
"Oh, George, that Texas education must have f--ked you up when you were small," Waters sang. "Don't let the might of the Christian right f--k it up for you and the world."
Politics aside, Waters' five-song encore was highlighted by such 1979 Floyd gems from The Wall as The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Another Brick in the Wall Part II, and Comfortably Numb.