Roger Waters – Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Roger Waters – Us + Them Tour
Politically driven with a lot to say. Roger Waters certainly knows how to say it.
Ocean waves crashed over the speakers at Brisbane Entertainment Centre as the packed out crowd filled in for a slice of Pink Floyd. Eager to witness Roger Waters, people were finding their seats well before the show was set to begin.
Gracing the crowd with DSOTM’s Breathe before rolling into the heavy bass driven One Of These Days rattling through my bones as I photographed one of the all time rock legends in history.
I must admit, to witness his presence in front of me was as euphoric as listening to Pink Floyd for the first time as a teenager.
Tripping through classic songs from Pink Floyd masterpieces like The Wall and DSOTM, Roger Waters hit a trio of tracks from his recently released solo album Is This The Life We Really Want?. A fittingly titled album for the 3 hour show which overall really established that same question to everyone last night.
To finish up the first of two sets of the night. A simulated helicopter spotlight searched through the crowd before The Happiest Days Of Our Lives rolled into Another Brick In The Wall pt. 2. The lights reveal figures standing onstage in prison jumpsuits, blinded by black hessian bags. The local Brisbane children from Ipswich West Special School stood strong, tall and motionless before tossing off their bags and jumpsuits to uncover their “Resist” t shirts. Waters was quick to praise the students while the crowd rose to a standing ovation. As Another Brick In The Wall pt. 3 came to an end, so did the first half of an amazing night.
After a quick visit to the bar, you could hear the discussions of how Waters will play out the second half of the night. Discussions of politics and production fill the venues surroundings. As the crowd finds their seats, the violent rumbling of giant screens drop from the roof above the floor level seats. Extending atleast 50m across the venue, splitting the room in two, the projections on the screens reveal the Battersea Power Station, which can be found on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals.
Hitting it off with Dogs, the whole crowd gazes into the mouth of a violently barking dog projected across the screens while exposures of Waters and his band are screened over the top. The night was about to get real!
You could hear in the intermission people discussing Waters strong public political views and wondered how he would highlight this in the show like he has done in the past. It was safe to say that once Pigs (Three Different Ones) hit the amps, it became clear.
The projections of anthropomorphic sheeps, dogs and pigs filled the screens in Banksy style illustration before
imagery of a figure in a KKK mask is slowly revealed to be Donald Trump underneath. Various Trump graphics glide across the screens including a Nazi hail by Trump and Vladimir Putin holding a baby with Trump’s face high in the sky.
All eyes are raised when a floating piggy bank flies above the crowd with “Bombs and death come out here” written across its body while pointing to the pigs behind. You guessed it, Trump’s face is also on the pig. While the pig is making its rounds around the venue, Trump’s questionable and publicly criticised quotes are flashed across the screens before the final “Trump Is A Pig” closes out the track.
Minds are blown and the audience look to the people next to them in aura of what we’ve just witnessed. A strong and powerful message I believe should be addressed. I don’t think many people would of disagreed.
As the bass line of Money rumbles through, cheers fill the room while projections of the finance, war and political issues fill the screens. Its amazing how Roger Waters has taken the spotlight off himself, instead pushing the crowds attention onto what he believes to be most important. This isn’t a production filled with fire and smoke and the self highlighting moves that most artists at this level bring to their shows. This is a Roger Waters movement and he doesn’t need to show himself off to get his point across.
Once the screens are risen to Smell the Roses from Waters 2017 solo album, you wonder if he has any more tricks up his sleeve.
One of my personal favourites, Brain Damage takes you on an unforgettable journey. A song that will forever live through the test of time and as I sat there mind blown at its musical beauty, a prism appears above the main floor seating area, built by strong intricate lasers and a rainbow haze of lasers sweeping across the prism. The crowd can’t help but stand and cheer.
“I can’t hear anything that you’re saying but it feels positive, so come on let’s hear it,” Waters tells the crowd as he struts across the stage with arms extended upward. He knows this crowd is his.
Waters introduces his band, guitarist and bassist Gus Seyffert, multi-instrumentalists Jon Carin and Dave Kilminster, saxophonist Ian Ritchie and keyboardist Drew Erickson before discussing the basis behind the Us + Them tour.
“There’s a big message in this show and it’s that love has the transcendental ability to affect everything in our lives, even romantic love can change our lives”.
Sadly tonight may be the last time you have the opportunity to see him again in Brisbane. “I was looking at the schedule and thinking this may be the last time I ever come through Australia … I won’t get this chance, probably to talk to people in Brisbane again for the rest of my life; one has to remember there is a finality to all of this,” the 74 year old Waters explains.
With two more songs on the set list, Mother and crowd favourite Comfortably Numb, ribbons and confetti fill the show, gliding through lasers and smoke before settling on an applauding and blown away Brisbane audience.
For those who want their minds blown, head to Brisbane Entertainment Centre tonight for possibly the last opportunity to witness Roger Waters live. You won’t regret it.
Written and photographed by Mitch Lowe