Roger Waters at T-Mobile Arena-June 16th, 2017

The theme of the Us + Them Tour, it seems - the band at the end of the first set

Roger Waters

T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

June 16, 2017

Story and photos by Kelly D

To see more of Kelly D’s photography of the Roger Waters concert, check out her art page on Facebook at Vital Visions: Art by Kelly D

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.

The word “epic” is overused lately but it’s hard to describe Roger Waters’ concerts any other way. As I’m a relatively young fan of progressive rock, I never got to see Pink Floyd “in the flesh” (ha, ha. . . I’ll show myself out). But Roger Waters comes pretty damn close to replicating those days, and then some.

I was able to see his tour in 2012 twice, when he played his seminal album with Floyd, The Wall, in its entirety. I was moved to tears more than once during those shows, and even met Jack Black (in attendance with his Tenacious D bandmate Kyle Gass) before the concert at Fenway Park.

The vibe of this tour, so appropriately called Us + Them, was much different. Whereas The Wall Live Tour dealt with Waters’ internal demons by proxy, Us + Them touches on the world’s problems at large.

The ladies of Lucius with Roger Waters

Lately Floyd fans who are on the conservative side have rallied against Waters and his political beliefs, but it really truly makes me question if they’ve ever listened to the lyrics of his band- a prime example is Animals, their 1977 concept album based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm, itself an allegory for the political climate in Europe in the early 20th century. I don’t quite get how people NOW are getting upset about Waters for espousing his views in concert when it seems like it’s always been the case. Hmm, maybe it has something to do with their blind devotion to the person occupying the White House as of this moment. . .

I got my chance to see what all the hoopla was about back in June, the day after my 29th birthday. After a scorching hot day in Las Vegas (yes, go to the desert in late spring, Kelly- genius idea), my companion and I headed for the brand new T-Mobile Arena off the famous Strip. We were in the nosebleed seats to start but that was fine; this was a concert where the first few rows weren’t necessarily the best seats in the house.

The collection of musicians began with a handful of songs from 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon, a minor hit in the Floyd pantheon. Give it a listen sometime, there are some okay tunes on there. They sandwiched “One of These Days,” off Meddle, in between which was an entirely pleasant surprise. But when they performed “The Great Gig in the Sky” I bolted up in my seat. I recognized those voices- they belonged to the young women who are the faces of indie pop-rock outfit Lucius!

I squinted to look at the mosquito-sized people onstage. Dressed identically with blonde bobbed wigs, as is their schtick, Holly Laessig and Jessica Wolfe were down there wailing gorgeously and emotionally. Soon, there they were on the big screen behind the stage. Bending down to reach the notes and clenching their fists, they brought the house down with one song and it was only the fifth of the night.

After a badass rendition of “Welcome to the Machine” (all too prescient when it was written in 1975, as it describes our current technology-induced mental illness epidemic), Waters and his group performed a few songs off his new album Is This the Life We Really Want? As far as “aging rock stars still releasing new material” go, Waters’ recent record is fairly great. He rails against the current president quite a bit in it, which is no surprise because that particular person gives us creative types a lot of material with which to work.

“Us and Them”

At this point in time, my friend and I had made the executive decision to find better seats. We quickly found them in the lower bowl, stage left. After being treated to a few tunes off The Wall, including all three parts of “Another Brick in the Wall” ending with a gigantic RESIST shown on the screen behind the band, it was time for intermission. I noticed a curtain unfurling from the ceiling. Hmm. . .

It was Animals time. The curtain turned out to be a projection of the building on the famous cover, Battersea Power Station in London (now egregiously turned into condos). First up? “Dogs.”

Now, Animals is my favorite Pink Floyd album so I was flipping out. “You’ve got to be crazy,” indeed. This was phenomenal. But the best, and most controversial, part of the second set was “Pigs (Three Different Ones).” This was the song of the show that had conservatives all up in arms- 15 minutes devoted to mocking #45. Actual quotations that have spewed forth from those thin lips got plastered on Battersea’s walls, as were doctored photos (which were a bit childish, to be fair) of the Cheeto Bandito. And how could I not mention the pig? The famous giant blow-up pig, now adorned with anti-45 sentiments, flew around the arena menacingly while the band tore through the song with sarcastic fury. Damn, it was excellent.

From the YouTube channel of Las Vegas Creative:

Honestly, though, that was the “worst” of it if you’re concerned about that sort of thing. (I wasn’t.) Then they absolutely turned me into an emotional wreck by performing some of the most heart-wrenching songs off DSoTM and The Wall. They performed “Money” and “Us and Them,” complete with an insanely awesome prism made out of lasers shooting out to us in the crowd, and one more from ITtLWRW? called “Smell the Roses.” But the rapid-fire succession of “Brain Damage/Eclipse,” and then the encore of “Vera,” “Bring the Boys Back Home,” and a ridiculously amazing version of “Comfortably Numb” to cap off the evening left me quivering with shiny wet cheeks. Happy Birthday to me? 

What more can I say? Go see this show. It’s important, it’s beautiful, and it’s necessary.

To see more of Kelly D’s photography of the Roger Waters concert, check out her art page on Facebook at Vital Visions: Art by Kelly D

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.

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