Friday, October 7, 2022

Roger Waters delivers in Austin

I know he's a lightening rod for many but Roger Waters last night reminded me of why music matters. At the Moody Center in Austin he delivered pure theater with a soundtrack that few can hope to match. Heavy on Floyd, and why not, it's his music, he defied his age, and backed by a great band (and more than few loops it seems) he never went into his famed rants but rather gently reminded us in his between-song banter that he's been around for some time and likes what he's doing. Oh, and he loves his wife. It's hard to summarize what is on offer here. The stage set is built to allow him and the band to move in four directions (which he cutely, if inaccurately referred to in compass directions) and work that stage he and they certainly did. Sometimes he was in front, more times to the side or with his back to me). The two backing singers moved everywhere, as did the main guitarist. Above, a cross-shaped screen continually streamed images and text, and that's where the messages were drilled home. Military and police beatings, names of the victims of violence, reminders of his old past (replete with sarcastic but not entirely unfunny references to you-know-who from his last band) and digs at a lot of politicians (poor Joe B being described as just getting started as a war criminal might play to some in Texas but I wished he'd pointed at old Vlad). The mood was set at the start when a voice and text announcement basically said "If you are one of those people who loves Pink Floyd but hates Roger's politics, you might prefer to Fuck Off to the bar right now".

The crowd largely loved it but one feels he does not care if you do or don't. Regardless, the music wins out. What a catalog the man has. And watching him sing Wish you were Here in front of me (yes, he came in my direction for that one) was a highlight. Music can still move me and this was the soundtrack of many years delivered by professionals. 

Downside -- the Moody Theater. What a shitshow. Lines to get in...incredible lines to use the restrooms (did any one plan this for real crowds) and $21 cans of beer after tax/tip? Getting out was so slow as we were herded to a few exits that I could only imagine egress in an emergency. This theatre is good once seated but seems designed to shake you down at every turn. Welcome to the machine.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is the Music and there is the man R Waters
The Music is Art, and it's not his but Floyd's so much much bigger than him
R Waters is just an old and acidified man who thinks he has an opinion he must share with the world whilst, honestly, I couldn't care less

PatrickD said...

Thanks Anonymous but I am going to have to disagree with that comment -- Waters was a strong creative force in Floyd and still delivers a hell of a show. Floyd without him was a cabaret act to me. Glad he has opinions and sticks with them, unlike so many entertainers.

Paully said...

Saw Roger at Chase Center in San Francisco on 9/23/22..
He played what he wanted and it’s obvious that he’s a genius..
The sound was above top notch as usual..
Pink Floyd is perhaps the top Rock Act ever..
Good work once again Mr. Waters..

Anonymous said...

Agree with PatrickD and Paully about Water's creative input, but my point is that the Music is Floyd's and not only Mr. Waters'. I was not clear. So for me Waters w/o Floyd is not the real thing either. Putting up a big top notch show doesn't change that for me but I am happy you both had fun watching him.

Sandston said...

I have to disagree. Saw him in Los Angeles and felt the show was more about Waters than the music. I thought the quadrophonic / surround sound was ultimately very distracting. His peeve with the rest of the members of Pink Floyd was made apparent all the way through the show in the music where guitar solo sections of Gilmore's were downplayed as something lesser and not the key turning points of this amazing music they created together. If the music doesn't come first its becomes theatre and Waters political theatre while just seemed jumbled an inconsistent. Dont get me wrong I was very excited for the show and have enjoyed his shows in the past very very much.