REVIEW: Roger Waters remembered Pink Floyd and hardened into activism


Waters’ European leg of the This Is Not Drill tour has been busy since the holidays last year. The former member of Pink Floyd then commented on the war in Ukraine in such a way that he outraged not only his opponents, but also those who rather sympathized with him.

He called US President Joe Biden a war criminal and wrote a letter to Olena Zelenska asking her to influence her husband, the Ukrainian president, to end the war. Many criticized him for sympathizing with Russia and Putin.

As a result, Polish politicians canceled his two planned concerts in Krakow. However, the two planned stops in Prague did not leave him, figuratively speaking, even for a moment. People’s protests in our country before the concert were sporadic, they only took place on social networks, and on the day of the first performance, no one dealt with politics in front of the O2 arena.

Inside, Waters had a stage built in the shape of a cross in the middle of the area. Above him hung huge LED walls, also in the shape of a cross, which played a key role in the entire show. They played out visual messages that matter to Waters today. Not that it didn’t happen at his previous performances, but this time he toughened it up. A couple of times during the evening, he added thematic speeches, and during one of the last ones, the audience in the hall already whistled lightly.

Before the show, he asked those in attendance not to use their cell phones, which they failed to hear, and also told those who liked his music but not his views to head to the bar instead.

He then gradually labeled the last American presidents as war criminals with the image, the leaders of Russia and China also got their ears, he supported Black Lives Matter, the movement protesting against police brutality and racial inequality, the rights of sexual minorities, Native Americans and many other people and activities.

He thus turned the concert into a multimedia experience that was both exciting and upsetting, the latter for those who have no political opinion and came mainly for the music.

The concert started with the song Comfortably Numb in a soaring version from last year. Other pieces from Pink Floyd followed, including those that Waters did not play on previous tours, and some songs related to his solo work were added to them. The difference in their concept was not too noticeable, each time it is about strong melodic motifs woven into instrumental surfaces, which boasted a bravura performance by all members of the backing band, certain vocal lines and purposefully worked with dynamics, tension and gradation.

Much of the Pink Floyd material on offer was drawn from the band’s golden period between 1973 and 1979. Most of the songs came from The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.

Waters moved carefully around the vast stage, after all, he is already seventy-nine years old, and in such a way that audiences from all over the world could equally enjoy his proximity in the hall. He sang without an instrument, also played the bass guitar and the piano, and sincerely rejoiced with every positive reaction from the audience, whether it came to a song or some of his messages.

However, the Czech audience sees him primarily as an extension of Pink Floyd, not as a political commentator. As much as he had to take forever with everything he decided to give him, the music evidently absorbed him above all.

Roger Waters
O2 arena, Prague, May 24
Rating: 85%

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The article is in Czech

Tags: REVIEW Roger Waters remembered Pink Floyd hardened activism


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