Bassist’s latest live release is no Floydian slip
Roger Waters and David Gilmour are as synonymous with each other as salt and pepper – or, if you like, Salt-n-Pepa. In a short time, a conversation about one will inevitably mention the other, despite the fact that they’ve not been Pink Floyd bandmates in 35 years, nor are only barely on speaking terms.
In the era of the live show – as opposed to the long-play record – there’s been good reason for this connection, as both men have a similar mindset towards arena events, with soaring instrumentations complemented by impressively vast visuals. It’s no surprise, then, that each also relies heavily on Floyd’s most epic tracks; for Rogers in particular, the lyrics of yesteryear are still just as prevalent as when he first wrote them.
Whether it’s the rise of Donald Trump or the topic of Israel – the one, it seems, that is most close to his heart – Waters’ concerts continue to draw from deep political frustration. Intriguingly, the chosen crowd shots in Us + Them, a DVD and Blu-ray release filmed over three nights in Amsterdam in 2018, suggest that his audience is young, and matches his vigour. At 75 years of age at the time of recording, Waters’ political passion and athletic energy is beyond impressive.
Though both the human and the technological visuals will impress, the music is the main event here, and is unsurprisingly enthralling. Waters’ comparatively young band is certainly playing the older tracks in the style of their Floydian counterparts, with a sound modern enough to stand out but smoothly enough not to grate. Punctuated by a few recent solo offerings in the middle of the set, this is a pleasingly classic setlist, with One Of These Times, Welcome To The Machine, and Wish You Were Here among the many highlights, but even long-time Floyd fans may not have heard them played with this apparent level of importance.
With or without David Gilmour, Roger Waters has plenty yet to say, and on Us + Them he could not have said it better.
1. “Speak to Me” (Played on tape, with parts of the vocal track from “When We Were Young”)
3. “One of These Days”
4. “Time / Breathe (Reprise)”
5. “The Great Gig in the Sky”
6. “Welcome to the Machine”
7. “When We Were Young” (Shortened version without the vocal track)
8. “Déjà Vu”
9. “The Last Refugee”
10. “Picture That”
11. “Wish You Were Here”
12. “The Happiest Days of Our Lives”
13. “Another Brick in the Wall (Parts II & III)”
15. “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”
17. “Us and Them”
18. “Brain Damage” (with vocal intro)