Roger Waters Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 5/19/12
Say this about Roger Waters: he isn't as irritable as he was 30 years ago. When the mic cut out during "The Thin Ice," only the second song of the evening, the technical foul-up caused the former Pink Floyd member to scrap the tune and start again from the top. The old Waters would have freaked out and been furious. However, last night at the Coliseum, a kinder, gentler version of the rock legend handled it gracefully.
Throughout the performance of Pink Floyd's landmark album The Wall, the audience was treated to a night of rock theatre performed with confidence and charisma; something that wasn't intended when Waters first wrote the album. In fact, the infamous Montreal show in 1977, where he spit on a fan out of disgust (the moment that inspired him to write The Wall )seemed to be a thought that had long passed.
The show at the packed Coliseum was a psychedelic marvel, full of incredible projected images, gigantic puppets and detailed costumes. Waters' trademark flying pig float made a cameo, sailing slowly over the crowd, painted with bloody dollar signs and anti-establishment slogans ("Don't read the news!" and "Question government").
Pink Floyd as an entity hasn't toured since 1994 and has only played once together since (2005's Live 8 reunion that included Waters and served as the band's swan song). Why? Easy. David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the late Rick Wright haven't needed the dinero. They cashed their chips in many years ago and haven't had to perform as Floyd, though if they reunited with Waters, it would undoubtedly one of the highest selling concerts in music history.
Instead, we're left with the band's former bassist doing what he should have before calling it quits with the band by performing The Wall in its entirety. Granted, the overhead on a show like this, with elaborate projections and imagery, could take place much easier with today's technology. It took Waters and his team three years to bring The Wall to life, and their time and efforts have been greatly rewarded in both ticket sales and glowing critical acclaim. Put simply, the show is pretty fucking badass.
Old standards like "Another Brick In The Wall Part 2," "Hey You," and "Comfortably Numb" were technically proficient and sounded great. Still, it was hard not to wonder what a performance from both Waters and Gilmour might've sounded like if they'd buried the hatchet sooner. The riff that carries "Run Like Hell" is still one of the most iconic in history, but something seemed just a bit off. That isn't to say that his backing band lacked proficiency or soul; for Waters fans, it was more of a question of "Why now?"
"The 'me' now enjoys this a lot more than the 'me' from when I wrote this," Waters told the crowd after the last song. He's right. The meaning of the album evolved from being about autobiographical angst about the perils of stardom to becoming into a political statement. Times change and so does the message of Waters' of work. But in terms of his performance chops, last night's show proved that Waters can definitely teach the youngsters a thing or two about putting on rock spectacle.
Critical Bias:: It's pretty hard for any rock fan to argue with the majesty of The Wall. The Crowd: Celebs. Stoners. Hippies.The Wall attracted them all. Random Notebook Dump: Next time there's a show at the Coliseum, make sure there are enough wristbands for people in the pricey floor seats so the crowd doesn't nearly start a riot.
Set list below:
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In the Flesh? The Thin Ice (Song stopped halfway because of mic problems. Band eventually re-started song.) Another Brick in the Wall Part 1 The Happiest Days of Our Lives Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 Mother Goodbye Blue Sky Empty Spaces What Shall We Do Now? Young Lust One of My Turns Don't Leave Me Now Another Brick in the Wall Part 3 The Last Few Bricks Goodbye Cruel World
Hey You Is There Anybody Out There? Nobody Home Vera Bring the Boys Back Home Comfortably Numb The Show Must Go On In the Flesh Run Like Hell Waiting for the Worms Stop The Trial Outside the Wall