A giant projection of a
woman sitting facing the sea is our introduction to an unforgettable concert. It
is a gig in which Roger Waters prepares to reclaim his legacy as one of the
leading artists that rock has given us in the last 50 years. The image of the
woman is prolonged for several minutes - hypnotic and relaxing at the same
time. In this context, the first bars of Breathe
are heard and they lull us like the sound of a wave; the sound is perfect (how
the WiZink Center has improved in that aspect compared to the old ‘Palacio de
los Deportes') and the band is programmed to replicate every vibration of the
legendary Pink Floyd of the 70s, who
delivered four huge works in a row, from
Dark Side Of The Moon to The Wall.
Glorious years in which everything they touched turned to gold; and these
albums are the fundamental pillars on which this extraordinary tour is built.
There are almost no references to other periods, much less to other leaders; however the ghosts of Syd Barrett and David Gilmour also walk around the stage. The former in the lyrics of Waters, who has always been obsessed with the mental deterioration of the man who led the band to success; and the latter in the music, with two men put in charge of reproducing Gilmour’s ‘voice magic’ and, above all, his guitar. Dave Kilminster is responsible for most of the latter, faithfully recreating some of the most memorable solos of all time, with his Suhr Custom, type Telecaster. On the other hand, the former is taken on by Jonathan Wilson, who Waters offers in place of the vocal parts of David. The similarity in the voices is chilling as well as the final result (in terms of reproducing the original work); the only but that might be added to this concert is the little that it seeks to get out of the canon. Of course I do not think any fan could reproach you that when you feel a chill when listening to the first bars, exact to those of the old vinyl, of Wish You Were Here. What could happen is that, with such a title and lyrics, one might easily be carried away with the nostalgia of seeing the whole band together again. Are not we talking about the same man who said "together we stand, divided we fall"?
But outside of that the concert was a true wonder, programmed to the inch like a movie or a Broadway piece in which all the pieces fit perfectly, from the gentle start with Breathe, passing through the threatening One Of These Days (the only 'Floydian' concession outside the period of splendor) with the Waters’ bass in the foreground, the celebrated Time or the moment of brilliance of the ‘showgirls’ Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig on The Great Gig In The Sky. Everything fitted to the millimeter, like the machinery of a Swiss watch, and when Welcome To The Machine arrived and you had to rub your eyes at what you were seeing. Then came the moment to remember the last solo album by Waters, Is This The Life we Really Want?, but, in spite of its positive aspects, it was difficult for it to stand out in the context of a repertoire built upon some of the most important pieces of music of the 20th century. Then Wish You Were Here sounds and a sea of mobiles emerges to remember those who are not here (and also to unleash the envy of those who were not there). Then it's time to go to the Wall. A group of apparently hooded men in orange suits, like Guantanamo prisoners, make their appearance on stage; but during Another Brick in The Wall we gradually realize that this is in fact a group of children from Madrid.
Then there is a break in which we are bombarded with varied slogans, against Trump, against Israeli policy in Palestine, against Mark Zuckerberg ... Suddenly, Dogs start to sound and the WiZink Center becomes the mythical factory of the cover of Animals, incredible. With Pigs Waters rails again at the "pigs" that govern us, and Algie, Pink Floyd’s mythical flying pig appears, stamped with the legend "stay human"; and music and show go hand in hand perfectly. Then a bass signals the rhythm of a cash register and Waters again points the finger at several world leaders during Money. As if that were not enough, the prism of the cover of Dark Side of the Moon materializes before our eyes and, as a friend reminds me, we are inside the cover of one of the most famous albums of all time, with the sound of Brain Damage and Eclipse.
For the encores Waters swaps the usual Mother from The Wall for the end of Is This The Life we Really Want?, the trio composed by Wait For Her, Oceans Apart and Part of Me Died, with lyrics inspired by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. It is one of the few moments that the script is departed from, and is therefore in some ways the most intimate. It may not be one of the classics but it connects with the public in another way. In the end comes, how could it be otherwise, Comfortably Numb, the perfect close to a spectacular concert. But while the solo sounds, the ghosts re-emerge and the tremendous footprint of the past becomes more evident. It was an incredible concert but I cannot stop thinking about the impossible ... how I wish you were here, Syd, David, Rick and Nick.
Roger Waters "Us + Them" Tour Dates