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Home arrow Roger Waters 2006
May 20th - HIGHCLERE CASTLE, NEWBURY, BERKS, ENGLAND Print E-mail
Highclere
     Aerial shot of Highclere grounds
Highclere
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Address of venue: Highclere Castle, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 9RN. MAP

Venue website: highclerecastle.co.uk

Roger Waters and Nick Mason were amongst the artists participating in a show to benefit the UK's Countryside Alliance (CA).

The show, Highclere Rocks, was held at the castle of the same name in the Berkshire countryside on Saturday, May 20th. It was billed as a "picnic concert", running from 4pm until 11pm, and featured The Band Du Lac - made up of Gary Brooker, Mike Rutherford, Andy Fairweather Low and Paul Carrack.

Roger and Nick were amongst the special guests at the show, alongside other musical luminaries such as Eric Clapton and Georgie Fame (who appears on David Gilmour's On An Island album).

Many of you will recall that Roger last performed at a CA show back in 2002, at the Royal Albert Hall, where he premiered The Overture from Ca Ira. The Alliance are known to condone fox hunting, and a number of Roger's fans at the time of the show were unhappy about his participation. However, Roger gave his own point of view at the time, standing up for his democratic rights, supporting the work of the Alliance and also took part in one of their protest marches in London.

A similar number have expressed their views about Roger and Nick's involvement in this show; with strong views on either side, we will not enter into the rights and wrongs of things. Simply, we are covering the music and performances seen during the show...

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE SHOW

CONCERT REVIEW

With the sun finally breaking through the earlier grey and chilly sky, and with the impressive profile of Highclere Castle to the left of the stage, the main concert started around 8pm with a spirited performance from Bryan Ferry and his band.

Guy Pratt was the first of many Floyd related appearances, popping up as Bryan's bassist on the short four song set. Needless to say, Guy seemed to be enjoying himself as usual (flirting with one of the slinky backing vocalists!).

Following a short break, the Band du Lac took the stage at around 8:50pm. The band is led by Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) and usually appears annually for a charity event in the South East of England. The core of the band tonight was Gary on electric piano, Mike Rutherford on guitars, Paul Carrack on vocals and Hammond organ (the second Floyd connection of the evening - vocals on The Wall, Berlin), Geoff Whitehorn on lead guitar and Jodi Linscott on percussion (the third Floyd connection of the evening - percussion on About Face tour).

HighclereThe band played for about an hour with various guests before Roger and Nick made their appearance. Interestingly, all three guests had strong Floyd links - Andy Fairweather-Low (Roger's band); Georgie Fame (Hammond organ on David's On an Island) and Eric Clapton (guitarist for Roger's 1984 Pros & Cons tour).

When Roger and Nick finally appeared at around 9:45pm, they were both very relaxed (Roger looking very dapper in dark jacket, white shirt, pink scarf and light blue jeans). As Roger strapped on an acoustic guitar and Nick settled in behind his familiar twin bass drum kit, Roger invited Mike Rutherford to kick off the first song and he began to strum the familiar chords of "Wish You Were Here". The unique element to this version of the song was that Eric Clapton had not left the stage at the end of his guest appearance and stayed to provide David's lead guitar lines (albeit on his Strat, rather than acoustic) - a unique event for any Floyd fan! More was to follow.

At the end of the song, Roger switched to bass and led the introduction to "Comfortably Numb". After a slightly hesitant start, the song gained momentum, with Roger handing the vocals on the verse and Paul Carrack picking up the chorus.

Geoff Whitehorn played lead on the first solo and the first section of the final solo. The highlight of the evening came when Eric picked up the lead for the remainder of the song - a really enthralling emotional few minutes. However, all too soon, the song was over and Roger left the stage.

However, Nick stayed behind his kit for the remainder of the evening, starting with Procol's landmark song, "Whiter Shade of Pale". Roger re-emerged with acoustic guitar as Eric took centre stage again for a great version of his classic JJ Cale song, "Cocaine". Roger strummed along enthusiastically and looked to be having a great time!

At the end of the song, Roger again left the stage as Gary led the band into Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up". However, part way through the song, Roger re-appeared stage right and asked Jodi Linscott for a percussion instrument. He rejected the offer of a tambourine and ended up with a drumstick and percussion block which he energetically hit for the remainder of the song! (Patrick emailed us to say that it wasn't actually a block, but a beer can!) At one stage he was exhorting the audience to clap and sing along - definitely a very relaxed Roger.

The band left the stage to enormous applause and were persuaded back on stage for an encore, unfortunately without Roger. However, Nick led the song with a drum roll intro to a great version of Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" with everyone taking a share of the vocals.

All in all, a tremendous evening with many unique memories, especially for Floyd fans.

Thanks to our friend Mark for his views on what sounds like a great, unique performance...

 
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