Monday, 9 July 2018

In The Flesh



If you follow me on social media I'm sure you've already seen me go on about this, but it was so special to me I wanted to do a proper write up. Last October when Roger Waters announced his European tour dates I was lucky enough to have some savings and decided to attend two of his UK shows. Despite Pink Floyd being a band that has meant the absolute world to me for well over a decade, everything had always conspired against me being able to see Roger on any of his previous tours. As my 20s have been pretty awful and the tour fell so close to my birthday, this felt like not only the perfect way to celebrate turning 30, but also the ultimate gift to myself to start a glorious new chapter!







On Friday 6th July I traveled down to London to see Roger at Hyde Park, and on Saturday 7th July I traveled to Birmingham for the final date on his UK leg of the tour. His show at Hyde Park was part of the British Summer Time Festival, which I'd been to for my birthday last year to see The Killers and hadn't had the best time. I actually swore that I'd never go to BST again, but it was the only date Roger was performing in London and he's literally the only person who could of ever made me go again! I also took my previous experience as a learning curve, and bought the higher tier ticket of Gold Circle. This allows nearer access to the stage, but it's still quite far away, although I could at least see the stage which I couldn't last year! It was an amazing show, despite being uncomfortable due to having to crane to see, and it made me excited to see how it would translate to an indoor arena environment where the set design wasn't having to be configured around BST's set up.

The Birmingham show was absolutely incredible, and beyond anything I can even put into words. I had selected a seat in the second row, and hadn't realised just how slap bang in the centre I would be seated. I was literally just a few metres from Roger throughout the entire show, and was so close I could of counted the lines on his face. Due to being so physically close to him, the experience felt incredibly intimate and it was easy to forget the other tens of thousands of people behind. I even got to touch Roger's hand as he passed by the audience during the final track. To be so close to one of my biggest living idols was a completely surreal experience, and if I didn't have photographic evidence I'd be half convinced it was a dream.






The set list for Birmingham was exactly the same as in London, and there was something nice about knowing which track came next although I did feel regret as soon as it got to what I knew would be the final few songs as I knew it would all be over. The set design used the same elements as London, but "Battersea Power Station" was moved to overhead the central floor so I couldn't really see it. During the intermission two giant screens were unrolled above our heads to form a giant rectangle which had the power station projected onto it, with four chimney's dotted along the middle. There was no miniature Algie floating alongside them like in London, but there was the same inflatable pig who came out during Pigs (Three Different Ones). At the end of the show a giant LED pyramid lit itself over the audience of which I was right in the middle. Being so close to the front definitely makes it harder to appreciate these elements, but when you can see the stage so clearly it's a moot point!




The only element of the show I didn't like, and this was the same feeling I had at both shows, was simply that Roger was performing my favourite Pink Floyd songs by himself. I realise that sounds ridiculous, but it's kind of frustrating that he's hired someone to sound exactly like David Gilmour, you know? I know Roger wrote the lyrics for these songs and so they are his, but I really see them more as David's songs as he provides the vocals and guitar solos, and during the show Roger took a step back whilst the backing band performed tracks such as Us And Them and Money. It just made those songs feel more like I was watching a tribute act which isn't what I paid for honestly. I enjoyed hearing Roger provide his own vocals for Wish You Were Here and Time, and whilst I understand the need for other singers for certain parts, why not hire someone who can do their own rendition instead of the person doing a complete David Gilmour impression? I don't like tribute acts personally because it's empty and hollow to watch someone do an impression of someone else, and that was my grievance with that aspect of it. David brings so much passion to his playing, and it's not the same to just play the exact same notes as him, it will never hit the same chord. I'd of rathered those songs just not be included personally, and Roger use more material that was just his.




Despite that, the musicians were all excellent, and I adore his backing singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the band Lucius. They did a beautiful rendition of Great Gig In The Sky, and when they were weren't singing they were dancing and providing percussion and were really just great performers to watch. I'm definitely going to be checking out their own band!

One of my favourite elements of the show is how much is was rooted in the album Animals. Previously Roger's shows have always had a large emphasis on The Wall, but Animals is my personal favourite of the albums he's written and it was thrilling to hear all 17 minutes of Dogs performed live, and my favourite track Pigs (Three Different Ones). I also enjoyed how Roger emphasized through his set how relevant these songs still remain, particularly with regards to Trump; there were images of him photoshopped to look like Hitler and wearing a KKK hood among other imagery including Trump's own tweets. I know there's been some complaints about all of the political commentary by certain fans, but I'm not sure why you'd go if you're easily offended in that way as Roger has always been very vocal about his political leanings ever since the '70s, it's one of the things I admire about him honestly as many are too scared to stand by their beliefs so unwaveringly.





The show was absolutely incredible, I didn't want it to end, and it was such an indescribable feeling to be in the presence of someone I admire so much. Being a younger fan this is the closest I'll ever get to experiencing Pink Floyd live and at several points I had tears in my eyes partly due to it being so wonderful, and partly thinking of Rick and Syd, especially as the second night in Birmingham was 12 years to the day since Syd left us. I'm seeing Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets in September which I'm sure will be another emotional night. I can't believe this year I'll have gone from seeing none of Pink Floyd in the flesh, to two of them!

8 comments:

  1. That sounds fantastic! What a great way to celebrate turning 30.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing Sydney. The gig/s looked amazing and a wonderful experience! Whilst I certainly don't agree with a lot of Roger's politics I certainly have alwaays admired his talent and conviction. One of my earliest 'live gig' experiences was Pink Floyd in Sydney Australia back in the '80s.....just great great memories. So happy you've been able to experience some PF live and more soon with Nick. That looks like it will be mind blowing focusing on the early PF material. Belated Birthday wishes....awesome way to kick off your 30's!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was an amazing experience! I don't agree with all of Roger's politics, but I admire that he's never afraid to stand by his beliefs when many are too scared to speak up in case it affects their popularity even on important issues. I'm really looking forward to seeing Nick as early Floyd is my favourite. I can't imagine you're experience seeing Pink Floyd in the 80s, it must have been incredible!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply Sydney. My first 'big' live gig was Queen on their 'The Works' tour in '85 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Australia. I must have been 15 or so. Followed by Pink Floyd a year or two later. I remember it was on Nicks birthday. Both amazing gigs. All these years later I still remember them vivdly. Wonderful times. Sadly, I don't think Nick will bring the 'Saucerful' tour down here....but I really look forward to your thoughts and reflections on it.

      Delete
  3. What fab fun - happy birthday!
    Your enthusiasm for Pink Floyd always reminds me that I want to give them a listen one day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, it really was incredible!

      Delete
  4. Happy Belated Birthday, Sydney! To be true, I was screening the crowds at Manchester gig, hoping I would see you somehow :-))) I love Pink Floyd, and went to see exhibition in V&A together with my boyfriend who, guess what?loves Pink Floyd too :-))) That was my birthday gift, and now Roger Waters gig - how much more a girl can have? It was amazing, my throat was sore from singing the next day, but I will remember it forever. Thank you for your wonderful blog, you have such a colourful soul and it is a pleasure to read about your life and passion for art and music. Best Regards xxxx

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...