On the first of two nights in the capital, the former Pink Floyd frontman put on a high-flying show, articulated around contingent social critique and the more conceptual repertoire of his mother band. Photo: Pedro Rodríguez/La Tercera

The return of Roger Waters to the country, with the enduring music of Pink Floyd as a hook, responded to the expectations of a high-flying show. On the first of his two nights at the Monumental, the Englishman presents his tour This is not a drill, loaded with the classics of his mother band, but framed in a story full of social criticism. Somehow, he wants to make it clear, once again, who the man of the stories was in Pink Floyd.

In front of a mostly adult and family audience, which from early on made its presence felt and applauded Rosa Quispe's opening act (on Sunday it will be the turn of Inti Illimani), Waters displays a show that lives up to his usual stage ambition.

As in all the shows of the tour (which kicked off in July 2022), it all starts with an on-screen warning (applauded by the respectable). "If you're one of those people who say, 'I love Pink Floyd, but I can't stand Roger's politics, you'd do well to fuck yourself, and go to the bar right now.'" That tension between music and message was what marked the break of Pink Floyd; in this way, Waters points out that his is a permanent provocation. The path he chose at a time when he is already 80 years old and probably seeks to underscore his legacy. That is why, since the pandemic, the musician has released reversions of classic songs, and even the flight was enough for him to reimagine The Dark Side of the Moon, an unavoidable piece in any record collection that this season turned half a century.

At the start, Waters presents a re-reading of Comfortably Numb, from the album The Wall, with a new arrangement (loaded on the organ and without a guitar solo) and a theatrical staging. A sort of recreation of the lyrics that talk about recovery and overcoming injuries, with Waters in the role of the doctor. A proposal accompanied by a display of immersive visuals on imposing screens, which set the tone for what is to come.

And there are no pauses. Immediately comes a segment of songs from the album The Wall; The happiest days of our lives, followed by Another brick in the wall, parts 2 and 3. The backing band sounds compact and the delay boxes distributed on the sides of the court make it look at all its power. The start is fast-paced and forceful.

He then performs The Bar, a new song written during the pandemic, which Waters performs in his first intervention with the audience. Photo: Pedro Rodríguez/La Tercera

As the show has a very clear critical axis, it is followed by a segment of Waters' solo songs. In performing The Powers That Be, the Englishman (with electric guitar on his shoulder) deploys a reflection on police violence. There are references to various personalities who were victims of the actions of state agents, including Víctor Jara, which triggers the ovation of the respectable.

The show continues with The Bravery of Being Out of Range, from his album Amused to Death (1992) that Waters performs on the piano according to the reinvention he proposed in 2021. It is a song that the musician once wrote as a critical reading of the Gulf War and the neoliberal policies of Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. In fact, the song opens with a segment of the former president's farewell speech, which gets a resounding shout from the audience. He also calls virtually every U.S. president of the past 30 years, from Clinton to Biden, a "war criminal."

He then performs The Bar, a new song written during the pandemic, which Waters performs in his first intervention with the audience. The musician is charismatic and with an enviable energy. And just like in his shows in Argentina, he takes a moment to talk about the mess he had with the canceled accommodations in Buenos Aires, ending with an emphatic "I believe in Human Rights". The audience gives him a new round of applause. Waters already has them in his pocket.

Visuals that mark the year 1974 introduce a new section of remembrance. Songs from Pink Floyd's album Wish You Were Here are played. It starts with a revision of Have a Cigar, which sounds like some changes (although not too drastic) from the original, as well as a projection of photos from the first era, when Syd Barrett was the creative axis of the group. The tribute to the late musician continues with Wish You Were Here, performed with an arrangement very similar to that of the album. In addition, the emotional touch is marked with a little story of the day Roger and Syd vowed to form a band when they went to University in London. It is followed by Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX), accompanied by another brief on-screen account of the days recording at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Up to that point, there is no trace of David Gilmour in retrospectives. That's what guitarist Jonathan Wilson is for, who recreates Floyd's guitar sound with scrupulous precision.

As Déja Vu sings, images of Gaza ravaged by Israeli bombardment pass by. "Stop the genocide," Waters says, straight ahead. Photo: Pedro Rodríguez/La Tercera

Then comes a moment to reminisce about the Animals album. On screen, Waters explains the concept that articulated it; a tribute to George Orwell through the metaphor of the animal farm as a critique of the capitalist industrial complex. That's where the sheep's inflatable comes in. Live it looks imposing; A bit like a reminder of the pharaonic concert tours of the seventies, but at the same time, a nod to the symbolic content of the album. "Resist capitalism," read the screen. That's where the first part of the show ends. Necessary for an 80-year-old man and a show with a lot of stimuli.

As in the beginning, the second part opens with nods to The Wall. The entrance is marked by another inflatable: the classic flying pig, the same one that has generated controversies for the stripes, which this time only sported the phrase "He's mad. Don't Listen." And it must be made clear that it was never intended as a religious allegory. At the time, it represented the critique of the most extreme capitalism.

Meanwhile, dressed in a straitjacket, Waters sings In the Flesh?, another moment about madness and redemption in a drama-laden show. It is followed by Run Like Hell, in which messages about violence (such as that of US troops in Baghdad) are displayed on the screen and, of course, the classic marching hammers of The Wall imagery. Of the fascist dictator's suit, which brought him trouble in Germany, there is no trace.

As in the first part, a section of solo songs by Waters follows. As Déja Vu sings, images of Gaza ravaged by Israeli bombardment pass by. "Stop the genocide," Waters says, straight ahead. It calls for respect for the rights of immigrants, indigenous people, the trans population, etc. The applause comes down from the respectable.

The return of Roger Waters will be among the most memorable shows of the year. Photo: Pedro Rodríguez/La Tercera

The set moves on to another moment of remembrance, dedicated to revisiting part of The Dark Side of the Moon. Songs like Money, Us and Them, Any colour you like, Brain Damage and Eclipse are very faithful to the album's versions. The finale is with "Two Suns in the Sunset," a dark song that closes The Final Cut (1983), the last album recorded by Floyd's classic lineup. It was a composition that denounced the danger of a nuclear war (its refrain "the sun is in the East, even though the day is over" is a metaphor for an atomic explosion), which in these days of conflicts in the world still resonates urgently and is consistent with the script of the show. It is followed by a reprise of The Bar and Outside the Wall, the song that closes the legendary album, with the band congregating around the piano.

The return of Roger Waters will be among the most memorable shows of the year. A well-put together and structured concert, which despite its narration is easy to carry. The mise-en-scène recalls an era of stadium rock, seasoned with an uncompromising political charge. This gives a touch of modernity to a show decidedly loaded with nostalgia. Imposing, provocative and forceful.

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(Taken from La Tercera)

See also:

Roger Waters: The Blockade Against Cuba or How to Take Its Home