Roger Waters returns to Liverpool for the first time since 2008, Getintothis’ David Hall revels in the spectacle of his Us + Them tour.
On a balmy night in the Echo Arena, Roger Waters delivered nothing short of a spectacle on Merseyside.
It was a show truly worthy of arena billing; a sensory overload featuring impeccable sound design, incredible visuals and staging worthy of the Floyd.
Opening up with Side A of Dark Side Of The Moon played in order, any prog fan probably would’ve found themselves in seventh heaven.
Waters and band were ushered onto the stage as a static LED backdrop took life. A serene scene of a woman facing the ocean gave way to Dark Side madness, as the backdrop’s sky turned crimson, and the audience were blasted into space.
Following up with a snarling Welcome To The Machine, Waters prowled the stage, encouraging participation from the Liverpool audience.
They gladly reciprocated, first on the existential dread of Time, and then on a mass singalong of Wish You Were Here. Honestly, Waters could’ve played the opening riff once and the crowd would have taken over.
After an interval, however, the show really took on arena dimensions. Screens descended from the ceiling, cleaving the Echo in two lengthwise.
First they took on the industrial form of Battersea Power Station, the industrial chimneyscape from the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals. Dogs and Pigs (Three Different Ones) merged ferociously into two as the stunning visuals marked a clear parallel between their parent album’s time period and the Trump era we currently live in.
Money and the avalanche of noise that is Us and Them live populated the second of half of the show. As did a spellbinding version of Eclipse, in which the central screens were rolled away and replaced with a laser echoing the prism synonymous with Dark Side Of The Moon.
There was really only one place to go from there. That was Comfortably Numb, which brought the show to a close in its dreadfully cathartic manner. It really was a hair-standing moment.
Criticisms? They’re basically pointless in the face of what was a truly jaw-dropping show. Purely as an arena spectacle, the Us + Them tour blows most of what the Echo Arena has seen for many years clean out of the water. No pun intended.
However the section of Waters’ solo material towards the end of the first half was probably a low point. Particularly on the quieter Déjà Vu, that fearsome and famous arena echo was distractingly noticeable.
It was worth sticking through however, as Waters followed up with first Wish You Were Here and then Another Brick In The Wall.
Also some of the more overt political statements came off as pretty heavy handed.
How do you tell kids not to conform? Bring a bunch of them onstage during Another Brick In The Wall wearing orange jumpsuits, then get them to strip off revealing black t-shirts with the white legend ‘Resist’. Yeah, dress the kids exactly the same, all in black. That’ll get ’em to resist, Rog.
But let’s not beat around the bush here, or be distracted by trifling criticisms. Was it the way the visuals hung together to improve the show, or the immersive sound design?
The flawless lighting, or the timeless tunes? We cannot put our finger on it now, but there were times when the show was honestly, without hyperbole, transcendent.
Social reaction to Roger Waters in Liverpool
— James Hewitt (@jayhewlfc) July 2, 2018
Is there a 40+ year old scouse male, that isn't at Roger Waters tonight?
— Ste Boyle (@steboyle) July 2, 2018
Fantastic night at the Echo Arena tonight for the Roger Waters gig. Phenomenal set, absolutely blown away. pic.twitter.com/8b7wZPx4wj
— Mike Gillespie (@mikegillespie1) July 2, 2018
Battersea power station above the audience tonight at the roger waters concert. pic.twitter.com/yvExwqJ76b
— Paul Frost (@Paul_Scouser_F) July 2, 2018
Wish You Were Here is genuinely the Scouse pothead national anthem. Genuinely electric atmosphere and privileged to have witnessed it. pic.twitter.com/Ow0sKLyZTs
— paddyhoey* (@paddyhoey) July 2, 2018
Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Waters