Overall rating: Two big giant thumbs up!
Us and Them...
Pink Floyd turned down over two hundred million dollars to reunite. Roger Waters confirmed this on a Howard Stern show interview. Over two hundred million dollars, let that sink in for a minute. The enmity between Rogers Waters and former bandmate David Gilmour is well documented and the point being that in 2017 the hope for a full fledged Pink Floyd (the number 9 greatest Rock & Roll act of all time) reunion is essentially zero. Add to that the fact that Rogers Waters will turn seventy-four years old next month. The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older. Shorter of breath and one day closer to death and all that.
On August 13, 2017 Roger Waters brought the closest thing to Pink Floyd to Nashville, Tennessee and the Bridgestone Arena with his Us and Them Tour. The show, like Roger Waters and Pink Floyd, was not without controversy. The Tennessean newspaper ran a highly critical story on Roger Waters the day of the show. You know it's not going to be a good article about you when the opening lines are, "Like many other Christians, Jews and people of conscience in the State of Tennessee, I am appalled that Nashville will host Roger Waters for his performance on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena." Other area news stories reported the likelihood of protesters at the show with one group promising, "The show starts at 8 (PM), we will be there at 7."
It is no secret that Roger Waters has very strong political views. In fact, many suggest that it was the relentlessness of these views that ultimately drove the wedge between he and David Gilmour which lead to the eventual demise of Pink Floyd. It's safe to sum things up by saying, if you are offended by staunch political views then what are you doing at a Roger Waters concert? There were a few protesters gathered peacefully in front of Bridgestone Arena handing out literature but that was about the crux of it.
There was no opening act nor an encore. Roger Waters played two full sets and even substituted a song later in the show for what he called "the final leg of the tour," replacing Vera with Mother. The first set was full of great Pink Floyd staples like Breathe, Time, Welcome to the Machine, Deja Vu, a scattering of solo Roger Waters' songs, and wrapping up set one with a powerful and perfect rendition of The Wall (Happiest Days of Our Lives, The Wall Part 2, and The Wall Part 3).
The first set wrapped up with The Wall, one of the most iconic and powerful pieces in the Pink Floyd catalog. The song resonates just as powerfully today as when it was written in the late 1970s. It was a surreal and moving experience being in an arena surrounded by tens of thousands of fans screaming, "All in all you're just another brick in the wall!"
I don't need no arms around me.
And I don't need no drugs to calm me.
I have seen the writing on the wall.
Don't think I need anything at all.
No! Don't think I'll need anything at all.
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.
All in all you were all just bricks in the wall.
Big man, pig man! Ha, ha, charade you are...
While set one was a solid and memorable group of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters songs, set two was the main event featuring all the legendary show gimmicks, lights, and props you have come to expect from Pink Floyd. Even if you don't know the music of Pink Floyd that well (do those people even exist?) you almost certainly have heard that Pink Floyd puts on a SHOW. Roger Waters did not disappoint in that aspect either.
Early in the second set, a giant wall came down dividing the arena in half with assorted video graphics displayed across it. The set also got incredibly political, which has been the source of much complaining but again, what were you expecting at a Roger Waters concert? Waters whole career has been a political statement about one thing or another. He's vehemently anti-war, anti-politician, and with a President as divisive as Donald Trump in office what did you expect? The main bulk of the second set was built around the medley Pigs (in three parts) complete with numerous Donald Trump iconography to boot.
There is no pain you are receding...
Following Us and Them you have now successfully survived the political statement portion of the concert and can now get lost in a series of songs from one of the greatest selling albums in history- Dark Side of the Moon.
Brain Damage and Eclipse were particularly memorable and accompanied by an incredible laser light show featuring the iconic imagery from the Dark Side of the Moon album. It was at this stage that the concert built to an unforgettable crescendo of lights, sights, and sounds.
The next to last song on the previous stops on the tour had been Vera from The Wall but tonight, on this last stop on this leg of the tour, Roger Waters said he wanted to substitute something different because... well you know, politics. But in this case it was timely and appropriate. Mother, do you think they'll drop the bomb?
Roger Waters doesn't do encores so the grand finale was one of the greatest songs ever written- Comfortably Numb. The only thing that would have made this better would have been if David Gilmour himself would have played and sang on it but as stated above, that's probably never going to happen again. So, this is the next best thing. I've included a video clip of it here from our YouTube channel so I'll just leave it at that. The full set list is below the video.
Full Roger Waters set list from Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena. August 13, 2017:
One of These Days
The Great Gig in the Sky
Welcome to the Machine
When We Were Young
The Last Refugee
Wish You Were Here
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Another Brick in the Wall Part 3
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Us and Them
Smell the Roses
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