The Roger Waters concert Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park was almost too spectacular to put into words. Fighter planes crashing into the stage and exploding, flying pigs, enormous hideous teachers towering over little children, Waters dressed as a Nazi and firing a machine gun into the audience, and a notable anti-corporate fascist state, anti-war theme. During the intermission literally hundreds of photos of humans killed in war since 1900 were projected onto the massive Wall with their birth date, death date and short biography. The pictures and stories were sent in by fans from all over the world. It was truly touching and personalized the human result of endless war.
Waters dedicated the show to Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian man shot in the head seven times at Stockwell tube station on the London Underground by the London Metropolitan police after he was misidentified as one of the fugitives involved in the previous day’s failed bombing attempts. These events took place two weeks after the London bombings of 7 July 2005, in which 52 people were killed. On the day of the shooting, the police were hunting four men believed to be involved in the failed bombing attempts the day before. Intelligence had linked the men to a block of flats in Tulse Hill, south London, the same building in which Menezes was living. Police put the communal entrance under surveillance, and on the morning of the shooting, saw Menezes leave the building. Plain clothes officers, armed with pistols, followed him as he took a bus to Brixton tube station, before boarding another to Stockwell tube station because the tube station at Brixton was closed. Specialist firearms officers were called to Stockwell. Just after Menezes entered a train, several officers wrestled him to the ground and fired seven bullets into his head at point blank range. The train was still at the platform with its doors open, having just been evacuated by officers.
NO ONE WAS EVER CHARGED OR HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS WRONGFUL DEATH.
The entire show was visually overwhelming and a powerful statement. Roger Waters is the ultimate showman. He said that he hated performing live in his youth. He seems to have grown into it. He plays the evil dictator with panash.
The band he assembled was stellar. David Gilmour is irreplaceable, but the combination of G.E. Smith, David Kilminster, and Snowy White on guitar and Robbie Wyckoff handling Gilmour’s vocals was just fine as you will see in the videos taken by my son Kevin. The stage and Wall was immense, taking up the entire outfield. The gates opened at 7:00 for the 8:45 show. We arrived at 7:15. I wanted to soak in as much as possible, plus I wanted a Tony Lukes cheesesteak before the show. We chowed down on fine Philly fare and then bought four overpriced concert shirts. I wore my BurningPlatform.com shirt to the show. I didn’t run into anyone else with a TBP shirt.
The show opens with Outside the Wall and I was immediately amused by the graphic on the wall. It said:
If at first you don’t succeed, call in an airstrike.
I knew I was going to like this show. While the show progresses the roadies are building the wall.
The local children brought on stage to perform Another Brick in the Wall with Waters and fight back against the 50 foot teacher were thanked by Waters in one of his more sedate moments.
The show is a combination of concert and movie. The visuals and symbolism are stunning.
The Wall becomes a canvas for Waters’ art and visionary view of the world.
Waters is able to get his anti-war message across through the use of music, images, film, quotes and cartoons. His use of film showing soldiers hugging their children, interspersed with the words of a general and pictures of starving children is powerful, as you can see.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Goodbye Blue Sky is a haunting song with visuals of birds flying and being replaced with thousands of bombers dropping blood red symbols like dollar signs, the hammer & sickle, Chinese star, Shell Oil sign, Mercedes sign, crosses and the Jewish star. The message was that our corporate fascist military state kills for profit.
One of the highlights of the concert for me was Waters performing a duet with himself from 1980 on the song Mother. As you can see from the video, people are losing faith in governments across the globe. The crowd was a mixture of old farts like myself, people in their 20’s and 30’s, and teens dragged to the concert by their old man. When Waters sings the line, “Do you trust the government?”, the stadium erupted with a thunderous NOOOOO!!!! See for yourself.
The guitar work by GE Smith on Comfortably Numb and Hey You is phenomenal. Waters doesn’t have much to do except strike the Wall near the end of this piece with the predictable outcome.
The imposing fully built Wall stays in place for all of Act 2, which opens with Hey You.
At the end of the concert during the finale of Outside the Wall, the entire wall comes crashing down. The message I took away from the concert was that our civilization is under the control of corporate fascist warmongers. Profits at any human price is the mantra. The fact that Waters is still free to use his artistry to reaveal the truth to 40,000 people gives me hope. The fact that I can write about it and have thousands read the message gives me hope. The fact that my three Millenial sons get the message about government tyranny and corporate malfeasance gives me hope. If enough people see the light and begin to resist, we can tear down that wall.
Most of the videos and pictures were taken by my sons Kevin & Jimmy. Michael, my youngest, is now a Pink Floyd superfan.
Here is a link to the complete setlist, with accompanying videos: