Roger Waters Concert Review: “Don’t be afraid to care”

The world is in a state of flux. Globalization has led to isolation and poverty on every level imaginable. Trump’s myopic and divisive rhetoric never ceases to amaze and unsettle those near and far from the USA. Inequality, civil wars, migrant refugees, starvation and hunger are rife. The litany of humankind’s folly continues to grow inexorably year after year. Where are the answers to be found for these seemingly insurmountable problems?

Not at a Roger Waters concert, that is for sure, although he makes a damn fine attempt at opening up the eyes of the masses who come to see him on his world tours to these blights on humanity. The former Pink Floyd bassist is currently touring Latin America, and all of the above points and more are addressed on the impressive massive visual backdrop to the stage throughout this two-and-a-half-hour concert.

The set consists of a mammoth 22 songs that are drawn from six albums from Pink Floyd’s back catalogue: The Wall, Wish You Were Here, Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals and The Final Cut.

The fact that the four songs from his recent solo album Is This the Life We Really Want? stood up against the well-known classics, is testimony to Waters’ songwriting craft and brilliance. Throughout his days with Pink Floyd and during his solo career, Waters has written songs focusing on war, alienation, power and the many facets that make us human. However, I would wager that even he would be amazed at just how prescient some of his lyrics have become.

Concert opener Breathe’s lyrics of “Breathe, breathe in the air, don’t be afraid to care” underpins the theme of the night, that being that human beings have a responsibility to one another, rich or poor, regardless of race, colour or creed.

During Pigs (Three Different Ones), from Pink Floyd’s Animals album from 1977 (which is loosely based upon George Orwell’s fable of the same name), Trump is displayed as a pig, as well as a baby along with other less than flattering comparisons. According to Water, he chose Pigs to indict Trump “because the first verse fits Trump really well.” “Big man, pig man/Ha-ha, charade you are.”

Incidentally, Trump saw Waters perform The Wall at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2010. He left at the intermission so he stayed to see the Wall being built, but left before it was torn down. Quite symbolic.

When Us and Them is played late in the set, the resonance of the lyrics to today is alarming, and amazing.: Down and out, it can’t be helped, there’s a lot of it about. With, without. And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about”. Whilst images of refugees, homelessness and despair cover the screen, the audience is left to reflect upon if this is the life we really want?

Music can change the world

As always at any Waters gig, the sense of theatre is amazing and the quadrophonic sound adds to the feeling of otherworldliness about the occasion. However, this never takes away from the messages that the music intends to convey.

It has been said that the rock music and politics are rarely a good mix, and it is not inconceivable that many within the stadium and other audiences elsewhere on this tour, object being lectured to by an ageing, multi-millionaire musician. However, when these issues, which are so close to Waters’ heart, are delivered in such a powerful and sensory fashion, the old hippy ideologist in each one of us dares to think, for one evening only, that music can change the world.

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