View Full Version : Concert Review: Roger Waters, Madison Square Garden, 9/12/06

John G.
09-13-2006, 09:38 AM
The lights go down and the band kicks into "In The Flesh" (the second one) and I'm floored at how apocalyptically HEAVY it sounds. I've always loved the song, but I have a greater appreciation for it now that I've seen it played live, experiencing it in all its bombastic glory. Waters takes the stage in a black suit (soon to be taken off), playing the bass in dramatic fashion and the crowd goes nuts. I do too... it's a great start to the evening.

From then, they go through an interesting selection of Pink Floyd songs, and not exactly the most obvious ones. Something else off THE WALL first, of course, and it's "Mother," but then we go back in time for a surprise pick, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," sounding as eerie as ever. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" brings back all kinds of emotions, with images of Syd being projected on the backdrop, and then Rogers decides to finish off most of the WISH YOU WERE HERE album with "Have a Cigar" (great!) and the title track.

By now it becomes apparent that for what is being billed as a Roger Waters show, there is a surprising lack of his solo material on display. We get two tracks from THE FINAL CUT (pretty much a Roger Waters solo album anyway) and then "Perfect Sense Pts. 1 and 2" from AMUSED TO DEATH. I'm kind of disappointed that nothing is played from PROS AND CONS OF HITCHHIKING or RADIO KAOS, but not as disappointed as I am when I see lots of people taking this opportunity to visit the concession stands. It seemed very disrespectful to see Waters sitting down with his acoustic guitar and have that trigger a mass of people getting up. Waters didn't seem to notice, which was nice. He also didn't seem to notice some of the boos that came from the audience after he debuted a new song, called "Leaving Beirut," which had some politically inflammatory lyrics ("Don't let the Christian Right fuck things up for you"). Thankfully, the boos were countered by even stronger applause and they were never heard from again.

Then comes the highlight of the show for me... I don't know if it was Waters' intention to provoke such a reaction from the audience after his blatantly political song, but then he sent things into a fever pitch with a blistering performance of "Sheep," off of Pink Floyd's masterpiece ANIMALS. During the second half of the song, out comes the giant inflatable pig (with more politically inflammatory remarks written on it, to add fuel to the fire, although my favorite comment was actually "Kafka Rules, OK!") that floated around the audience while the band took the song into its dramatic conclusion, confetti dropping from the top of the venue, lights blaring, and when it call comes to a screeching hault, a breathless Waters goes up to the mic and announces that they're going to take a 15 minute break, come back and play DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. Amazing!

I use the break as an excuse to get a beer (a shitty light one, but that's all they had at the concession stand directly behind my seats) and it kinda mellows me out, putting me in the perfect mood when the band comes back onstage to perform DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. The band is joined by Nick Mason on the drums, who receives a well deserved ovation, and then the band kicks into things. A very good performance, with Waters handling vocals for parts of "Breathe," "Time," "Brain Damage," and "Eclipse," with members of his band handling Gilmour's vocal parts. Worth noting is an AMAZING vocal performance during "The Great Gig in the Sky" from one of Waters' backup vocalist (she also handled ones in "Mother") which received an ovation in itself. While I'm talking about backup musicians, the guitarist, Dave Kilminster, was phenomenal and hit most, if not all, of Gilmour's notes. Not to say that Gilmour wasn't missed, but he was a suitable replacement, although he couldn't resist the urge to shred things up a bit at times haha...

With DARK SIDE ended, and the applause taking about five minutes to die down, the band walks off stage and the ovation doesn't let up until they take it again for their encore. "The Happiest Days of Our Lives... Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. 2)" was to be expected, and it's very impressive when what seems like the entire Madison Square Garden arena belting out the chorus. The final suite to be played that night is "Vera," which segues into "Bring the Boys Back Home" (heheh, Waters can't help but be political) and finally "Comfortably Numb."

Thus endeth the show... I was very surprised at how GOOD Waters sounded! I remember hearing terrible things about this show (I remember Mark had some bad things to say about a bootleg he heard or something), one music magazine even suggesting that Waters sounded like he gargled battery acid. Well screw all that... he was in FINE form for the show I went to, hitting a lot of the notes and, despite is age, managed to impress me greatly. On the way out, I got myself an overpriced t-shirt to commemorate the event and drove home completely content.

An enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

mark t
09-13-2006, 02:59 PM
Sounds great, John. :) I would've gone were it not for the bucks that i'd already spent on a couple of other shows.

Waters' lead guitarist (Kilminster, I believe) is very good, but i have noticed his tendency to want to "metal things up". My only negative comment other than that is that he can tend to be about as annoying as watching Scott Page, that mulleted sax player from Delicate Sound Of Thunder.

I really dig Waters' set list on this tour...I've been following through a few bootlegs. My only negative comment on Waters is that he either needs to start picking material that he's capable of performing vocally, or start delegating to other band members. My negative comments from before solely dealt with his use of a backing vocal track, something that's painfully obvious in all of the shows that i've watched so far.

He's definitely a performer though, and it 's great to see some of these guys still out there plugging away, and putting out great music.

John G.
09-13-2006, 04:46 PM
Any chance you could post some of those shows you've been checking out?

Steve P.
09-13-2006, 05:36 PM
Nice review, John. I saw Roger Waters on Saturday in Mansfield, Massachusetts and it was a great show as well. I echo your sentiments on all counts. I can recall when Waters was pissed because he couldn't fill an arena while Pink Floyd sold out stadiums on their name alone. But the place was packed in Massachusetts with almost 20,000 people. It was the second of a two night stint: the first night completely sold out!

I got goosebumps during "Great Gig in the Sky". That was friggin' awesome. I wish he'd feature more solo material, especially stuff from "Amused to Death". "Radio KAOS" hasn't held up well over the years imo, so I didn't miss it. I must be one of the few Floyd fans who loves "The Final Cut". It was great hearing "The Fletcher Memorial Home".

You touch on something with people leaving during the less popular songs: I've been to dozens of concerts, but I've never seen a more annoying crowd as this show. People up and down in their seats, talking during the songs. It was almost like a big frat party. "YEAHHHH, FUCKING ROGER WATERS MAN!! WE LOVE YOU!!!" I was expecting an older mellower crowd, but the average age was right around 22. And they were louder than the band! I'm not kidding. It really reminded me of why I hate going to big concerts now. But the concert itself was great and I'm glad I went.

mark t
09-13-2006, 06:17 PM
People up and down in their seats, talking during the songs. It was almost like a big frat party. "YEAHHHH, FUCKING ROGER WATERS MAN!! WE LOVE YOU!!!" I was expecting an older mellower crowd, but the average age was right around 22. And they were louder than the band! I'm not kidding. It really reminded me of why I hate going to big concerts now. But the concert itself was great and I'm glad I went.

David Gilmour was having the same problems with people yelling stuff out, and it's really weird, when you think about it. Sure, these guys were pretty rockin' here and there, but Floyd is a pretty mellow band for the most part, and Waters and Gilmour are putting out some pretty relaxed music these days....yet people seem to want to scream during the quiet moments. It grates on my nerves, and i'd probably go mental if i was all relaxed for a Waters or Gilmour show, and somebody started yammering in my ear.

On a side note, the dumbest comment i've ever heard yelled at a show (off a boot, mind you) was the concert on the Animals tour in Hamilton, Ontario....some dude yelling "PLAY THE FIRST 6 ALBUMS!!!!" Mental, i tell ya.

John, the shows that i've got are DVDs, so i don't think i'd be able to post them. You can PM me if you like though. ;)

Adolph L.
09-14-2006, 07:47 AM
damn, i would just love to see Floyd once in my lifetime!

Bill Pissott
09-16-2006, 10:56 PM
Thanks John! Sounds like you had a blast and RW was in top form. I should have thrown down the cash for this one myself.

Damian P
09-17-2006, 01:04 PM
Interesting review John. Sounds like I would have loved the show. Waters' song selection was miles ahead of the radio hits version (other than Astronomy Domine) I saw Gilmour's Floyd play back in the late 90's (what a snore of a show that was).

mark t
09-17-2006, 05:07 PM
I've been listening to a great audience recording of the Madison Square Gardens show, and the boys sound like they were in fine form!