Qudo Bank Arena, Sydney
Friday February 2, 2018 :
In 10 years time when someone insults me under the guise of being a fan, “You’re pretty old, have you ever seen Pink Floyd in concert?”, I’ll punch him in the face. No I wouldn’t, I’d quietly smile in acceptance that yes, I am old, and yes, I have seen Pink Floyd live, twice, in the late ’80s.
My memories of that show – big circular video screen, an aeroplane that flew from the back of the arena crashing into the side of the stage, a flying pig during ‘One Of These Days’, and seeing David Gilmour live. I missed Roger Waters.
My memories of the Roger Water’s Us & Them tour – photographing from the pit, a 50 metre video screen that stretched from the stage to the back of the arena, a drone flying pig, Trump getting slammed, and seeing Roger Waters live. I missed Dave Gilmour.
It’s been six years since Roger Waters was here in Australia for his The Wall Live tour, and what you received from that show was essentially The Wall played in its entirety. There were no extras, no ‘Money ‘ or ‘Time’, no ‘Wish You Were Here’ or ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, so it has been over a decade since Australia has heard much of the Pink Floyd catalog live.
Beginning the night proper with ‘Breathe’, our first cut from The Dark Side of the Moon, we were being eased into the caustic ‘One Of These Days’ which followed. In fact, all but a couple of tracks from The Dark Side of the Moon appear tonight. Highlights for myself were hearing ‘Welcome To The Machine’ and tracks from the Animals album (‘Dogs’ and ‘Pigs (Three Different Ones)’) live.
The closing of both sets were given to the strength of cuts from The Wall. The first set concluded with a merging of ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part 2’ and ‘Part 3’, and a chorus of red boiler suit wearing children chanting “We Don’t Need No Education, We Don’t Need No Thought Control”. To end the night proper we receive one of the best guitar solos ever to be laid down, ‘Comfortably Numb’.
Water’s solo work was limited to tracks from his most recent release, Is This The Life We Really Want? appeared midway through both sets. ‘Picture That’ and ‘Smell The Roses’ are both solid songs and definitely carry Floyd-ian elements.
Visually and production wise, Pink Floyd have been regarded as being at the forefront of what is possible in the live setting, and Roger Waters has carried that dedication into the future. What I saw tonight, I have never witnessed prior.
At the start of the second set, red lights began flashing on the roof of the arena, and an alarm began. A 50 metre scaffolding descended from the roof as video screens appeared, stretching from the stage to the back of the area. On these 50 metre screens appeared the Battersea Power Station, the iconic Animals cover art, adorned with four smoking chimneys. And the band began ‘Dogs’. Midsong, most of the band put down their instruments to join a side of stage champagne party adorning animal masks. There’s some crazy shit happening within these walls.
Video screens then turned on Trump. ‘Pigs’ could have been written about this bloke if it had not been penned 30 years ago. “Big man, pig man, Ha, ha, charade you are, You well heeled big wheel, Ha, ha, charade you are,” them there are fighting words. The visuals displayed were as biting and scathing as they could be…. lol, and let’s send out a drone flying pig through the arena just for good measure.
Late in the evening, things returned to The Dark Side Of The Moon, with a blue laser and smoke pyramid appearing above the floor seats while ‘Eclipse’ weaved around them. What appeared tonight was a visually stunning and immersive experience.
This show will come up in conversation between friends and new acquaintances, when the subject turns to music and gigs. So in 10 years time when someone asks me if I have seen Pink Floyd in concert, I can say that I have, and I’ve seen Roger Waters live also, and his show was amazing.
Photographer + Reviewer : Kevin Bull