Roger Waters finally makes his well anticipated return to Liverpool with a huge, thought-provoking and sublime show at the Echo Arena.
Getting it out of the way, Roger Waters is in-fact one of the greatest songwriters ever, he’s a concept-king and more-so, he was the creative hold for Pink Floyd.
While at the age of 74, being merely happy with your legacy and occasionally preforming is a task, but putting everything into it must be harder.
Since 2017, Waters has embarked on his grandest tour to date, and with almost 120 shows behind it so far, he doesn’t look as if he wants to slow down.
Tonight, the closest link to Pink Floyd makes you feel it again.
Opening, the projection screen shows a beach before the beautiful blue sky turns an awful shade of red. There’s no doubt it has somewhat to do with his fight for Palestinian rights.
“Speak To Me” intros Waters and his band before bleeding into “Breathe“, a knit-tight introduction to tonight’s performance.
Jonathan Wilson, who is usually noted for producing the likes of Father John Misty, sits in-place of Gilmour with his coruscating vocals, takes the lead.
The song perfectly falls into “One of These Days“, which quickly shows the band knows comfortably what they’re doing. Lifting once again, the clocks tinker through the speakers at alarming rates, as the screen shows one of Floyd‘s most-remembered visuals as we enter “Time
It’s keen to note, indie-pop band Lucius (Jessica Wolfe and Holly Laessig) handle backing duties like it was they’re sworn duty, the reprise of “Breathe” into “The Great Gig in the Sky” certainly shows early the duo’s power.
We’ve been wowed into the performance, comfortably introduces to Roger Waters longlasting ability to simply glide you into a state of wonder. But here is where it stops.
The powerful thumping, like Houdini-shots to the abdomen, as Waters and the visuals take a dark and thunderous turn into “Welcome to the Machine“.
The crowd’s eruption at the loud, cutting Wish You Were Here track, was nearly epic enough to captivate.
Continuing on, Waters decides to shine a few songs from his latest album Is This The Life We Really Want?, his first solo effort since 1992.
“Déjà Vu“, “The Last Refugee” and “Picture That” make their mark, and while the crowd as predicted would rather hear some Floyd, Waters excels strong.
The visual element during the first half is well thought through, with the use of Gerald Scarfe iconic animation perfectly synchronized with the band and with the likes of Radio K.A.O.S being homaged with newer tracks.
The daring Waters follows his own work with the appearance of “Wish You Were Here“, the always magnificent classic.
Waters and co. bring out their theatrical side once again with The Wall suite, with “The Happiest Days of our Lives” into part two and three “Another Brick in the Wall“.
A line of children, from St. Patrick’s Primary right here in Liverpool, in numbered prison outfits chant the infamous Wall chorus before revealing “RESIST!” t-shirts underneath in a defiant move to end the first half of the show.
The second half opens with sirens after the twenty minute break, as a huge screened recreation of Battersea Power Station, notably off the cover of Floyd‘s 1977 album Animals, gets recreated above the crowd, giving the upper seats a great view.
The sheer size of Battersea simply showcases the giant size of Roger Waters live show.
The second half officially chimes in with an extraordinary performance of the 17-minute track “Dogs” followed by “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”, which not only sees the ambitious Battersea projection tell a tale, but Roger Waters and Lucius bring a theatrical hold-in.
The centerpiece of “Dogs” includes Waters dressed with a pig mask holding up a sign alarming “PIGS RULE THE WORLD” to crowd uproar, followed by an unmasking along with a new sign yelling “FUCK THE PIGS”.
It’s ambitious and fearless, and simply astonishing that over fifty years behind him, Roger Waters continues to take aim at targets and does it with sublime manner.
Soundscapes of Donald Trump been out next stating “I Win” as the iconic cash register sounds ring out with Waters‘ iconic bass riff as “Money” cashes in.
Shots of Trump, Trudeau, Macron and May all spark on the screens as during “Money” and the second half as a whole.
The structure of the first half was likely used to showcase new material and some classic Pink Floyd numbers, but the second half is a different beast, with Waters definitely armed to the brim with his verbal attack and feelings on political tension around the world.
“Us and Them” follows beautifully, with shots of refugees, and war-torn countries to make the point made.
A final solo song comes up next, with Is This The Life We Really Want? lead single “Smell The Roses“, a brilliant track that needs more love than it gets.
Finally, the set ends with a Dark Side of the Moon finale, “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” as Storm Thorgensen‘s iconic prism is awakened in laser form. Straight to the last note, the crowd is with it and amazed throughout.
The band and Waters come back after introductions and a thank you, and ends with a stunning rendition of “Comfortably Numb“, one that will continue with the crowd always.
Words by Jack Cinnamond, photography by Jessica Jayne Sharpe.