17 April 2018 (gig)
23 April 2018
Roger Waters’ controversial ‘Us and Them Tour’, with much debate following the US shows, finally hits Europe, with over 50 dates announced. Tonight is the first of eight shows in Italy at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan very early on in the European tour.
There are the Floyd faithful present with old t-shirts to prove it, the younger crowd anxious to partake and absorb songs that are monumental to the history of music and an older crowd hoping to above all have an experience of both sight and sound as of yore, the equivalent of their vinyl’s compared to today’s mp3’s.
As the lights go down, the big screen that is the backdrop has the earth fill it up, light and shade, the moon, stars and planets constantly changing around it and it feels as if we are in some giant spaceship floating in space. With the first section of the set stretching from ‘Breathe’ to ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’, the really excellent sound system quality and superlative imagery evokes this sense of the surreal where real time and space are disrupted and of no consequence.
The section ‘Welcome To The Machine’ to ‘Wish You Were Here’ which includes some excellent tracks from Roger’s latest solo album ‘Is This The Life we Really Want’ has his songs commenting acutely the state of the human world with our weaknesses, our capacity to love, our general malaise, then going into ‘The Wall’ section complete with school kids taking the stage in ‘Another Brick In The wall’ (local kids from each city the tour visits) with “Resist” on their t-shirts. The crowd in a sense of awe, are very enthusiastic with applause and cheers at each trick of the effects crew and at every song intro.
A 20 minute break allows everyone to catch their breath as well as allowing a new screen to be set up at right angles to the main stage stretching all the way along the stalls, and magically Battersea Power Station is gradually built before our eyes complete with chimneys and smoke and it’s the cue for tracks from ‘Animals’ to take centre stage. ‘Dogs’ and ‘Pigs’ are absolutely fabulous with the band nigh on perfect. Images of disappointingly “great” leaders pervade the screens with Trump ridiculed and humiliated as Waters’ ‘Orwellian’ album finds new meaning in the catastrophic ineptitude of our politicians that is ruining the planet.
This theme is fortified with ‘Money’ and the truly wonderful ‘Us And Them’ and Roger’s ‘Smell The Roses’ leading into the deranged madness of ‘Brain Damage’ and ‘Eclipse’ that close the ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ and indeed the show. This time it seems like we have been left on earth whilst Roger and the band take off without us, the spectacular laser show emulating the imagery of the album cover.
Roger comes back with some really heartfelt words attacking the reasons Trump, May and Macron had to pursue the Syrian attack that occurred of late, and it’s easy to understand why he is not your average rock star as his body of work even at the height of stardom, always kicked the teeth of the power lords, and yet he has genuine belief that the goodwill and love of the human race can and will be the saving grace for the future of our planet.
Then he leads the band into ‘Mother’ and closes the set with ‘Comfortably Numb’ and as that amazing guitar solo is played out at the end, Roger shakes hands as he walks amongst the crowd, saluting everyone in the stands, a man still in the peak of form, quite simply a legend in his own time.
It’s a fabulous show. I am quite sure the July in Hyde Park show will be the gig of the year in the UK. This idea of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ as Pink Floyd/Roger so poignantly said, has never been so relevant, nor mattered as much.
One Of These Days
The Great Gig In The Sky
Welcome To The Machine
The Last Refugee
Wish You Were Here
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives
Another Brick In The Wall (parts 2 & 3)
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Us And Them
Smell The Roses