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Home arrow Roger Waters 2017
September 11th - BARCLAYS CENTER, BROOKLYN, NY, USA Print E-mail
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
TICKET SCAN TO GO HERE

Capacity: 18,103

Concert starts: 9pm

Address of venue: 620 Atlantic Ave, New York, NY 11217, USA. MAP

Website: www.barclayscenter.com

 

COMMENTS

Roger's Us + Them tour:

"We are going to take a new show on the road, the content is very secret," said Roger Waters. "It'll be a mixture of stuff from my long career, stuff from my years with Pink Floyd, some new things. Probably 75% of it will be old material and 25% will be new, but it will be all connected by a general theme. It will be a cool show, I promise you. It'll be spectacular like all my shows have been.”

The announcement notes that "Roger Waters' legendary live performances are renowned as immersive sensory experiences featuring high class, state-of-the-art audio visual production and breathtaking quad sound. This new tour promises to be no exception; following months of meticulous planning and visionary craft, US + Them will inspire crowds with its powerful delivery and take the audience on an unforgettable musical journey."

VIP package sales and Citi presale tickets began on Monday, October 17th. Citi is the official credit card of the Roger Waters – Us + Them 2017 tour. Citi cardmembers had access to presale tickets for US dates only beginning on Monday, October 17th at 10am local time through Citi's Private Pass Program (for details visit citiprivatepass.com). For the regular sale of tickets, which starts on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21st, visit either Ticketmaster.com for the US shows, or Ticketmaster.ca for the Canadian shows. Using our links also helps toward the ongoing running costs of this site, and is appreciated!

SET LIST - highlight the following with your mouse to read...
FIRST HALF: Speak to Me, Breathe, One of These Days, Time, Breathe (Reprise), The Great Gig in the Sky, Welcome to the Machine, When We Were Young, Déjà Vu, The Last Refugee, Picture That, Wish You Were Here, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, Another Brick in the Wall Part 3.
SECOND HALF:
Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones), Money, Us and Them, Smell the Roses, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Vera, Bring The Boys Back Home ENCORE: Comfortably Numb.

WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD!

Do not read on if you don't want surprises to be spoilt, regarding what the band played!

The first of a brace of shows in New York’s borough of Brooklyn, on a very emotional day for everyone in the city. Our review of the show will be below, shortly.

First, here’s a pair of videos from the show from Roger’s official Facebook page, showing clearly how emotional Roger was at the strength of the audience reaction on this very significant day…


We'd love to know from those attending how they felt the concert went. How was the show for you, if you were one of the fortunate ones to attend? Let us know what YOU thought!

CONCERT REVIEW by BD CONTRIBUTOR, Kevan Porter

Throughout his career, Roger Waters has never been one to shy away from sharing his highly charged, politically scathing opinions and wether you agree with him or not there is absolutely no denying he is an expert when it comes to presenting those opinions musically in a fantastically conceived theatrical-rock show.

If you're not bothered with such things, you could simply regard his current Us+Them tour as a wonderfully packaged, career spanning, greatest hits show full of theatrical tricks, lights and lasers but look a little deeper (if you care to) and every song is as meaningful now as it's ever been. Roger proclaims this tour to be about love, empathy and respect for all humans and the planet - it also shines a very bright spotlight on political corruption, warmongering and hate. It's a real yin and yang kind of show!

As he did with his recent The Wall concerts, Roger has managed to successfully update his Pink Floyd back catalogue with dazzling politically charged imagery that pull no punches in driving home his message. His new show is full of striking images depicting war, poverty, injustice and greed. Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump feature prominently with many of the latter's asinine quotes including such ditties as "The point is, you can never be too greedy". The older songs feel quite contemporary and brand new supported by the new graphics, offering commentary on these troubled, unsettled and unjust times. A few of songs also benefit from slight tweaks to the arrangements, particularly Welcome to the Machine which is now so darkly sinister it's almost scary!

Two songs that really resonate are Dogs and Pigs (Three Different Kinds) from Pink Floyd's 1977 album, Animals. Without giving too much away, these two songs literally fill the arena with so much sonic and visual delight it's impossible not to be completely blown away. With just these two songs alone, Roger proves once again he is the master of the spectacular but also of the carefully considered and massively thought provoking; he hits the nail square on the head. This is groundbreaking stuff. I have read that this particular part of the show is probably the most incendiary when it comes to Trump supporters, but not tonight. The Brooklyn audience, as far as I could tell from my seat anyway, lapped it up in spades, cheering with agreement and laughing out loudly at images of their President being presented as a narcissistic, greedy megalomaniac fool in the expansive projections before them. TRUMP IS A PIG is just one of the massive statements projected on the massive screens stretching the whole length of the arena, hoisted above the heads of the cheering audience. There are some light amongst the dark though; Breathe, Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb are amongst the more serene moments, stirring genuinely uplifting moments of euphoria which come as welcome respite.

It is testament to Roger's excellent new touring band that all of the songs sound so fresh and vibrant; by now so well rehearsed and slick, the playing sounds effortless and sublime. Each member of the band plays so beautifully, each adding their own unique signature to the well known pieces. Dave Kilminster and Jonathan Wilson provide the bulk of the lead guitar playing which is soulful, rousing and faithful to the original songs being played without being too confined; both guitarists ably jammed and let loose when the moment was right. Jon Carin is the glue that holds this band together with his 32 years of experience playing with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and, of course, Roger. During new track Déjà Vu Jon added lap steel guitar over the top, so beautiful and Floydian you wonder why the song wasn't recorded like that.

Dogs is a big keyboard track and both Jon and Bo Koster also playing keyboards and a recent addition to the band, made that track their own. I've seen guitarists swap guitars during gigs but I've never seen a drum tech swapping over snare drums as frequently as I did tonight! The fabulous Joey Waronker provided a rock steady yet loose beat all night and with bass by Roger, Gus Seyffert and occasionally Ian Ritchie the rhythm section was perfect. Ian also played some very soulful and sensitive sax solos throughout the show, particularly during Money and Us and Them.

Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig's vocal prowess is second to none as was witnessed by their powerful and soulful rendition of The Great Gig in the Sky; such a fantastic version and one that needs to be heard again and again. Simply stunning. Visually too, they make a striking addition to the landscape of the stage as they bash furiously on their percussion as though possessed. Special mention also has to be made of the sound system which was not only very loud but also crystal clear; the best sounding concert I've been to in quite a while.

Unfortunately, only a handful of songs from Roger's new album, Is this the Life We Really Want, are included in the current set list which, for me at least, is a shame. I would dearly love to hear more of that fabulous album played live both because I love it and because it would fit so perfectly within the concept of the show. However, those songs that are played sit so seamlessly and comfortably within the repertoire you'd think they were long lost Floyd classics. Certainly, they received enthusiastic applause from the adoring Brooklyn audience.

At an unbelievable 74 years old, Roger is showing no signs of slowing down as he energetically runs from one end of the stage to the other, enthusiastically punching the air, reaching out to his adoring audience who are clearly loving every minute of this spectacular show. Wiping a tear from his eye, Roger took time to acknowledge the significance of the day and place: 9/11, New York, and for many Americans, still a painful memory that will never go away. Roger had these words to say just before he played Vera “This is a very sad anniversary for a lot of people in this town and we feel for the families of all the innocent people who were killed that day 16 years ago. And also for the first responders who died since from the diseases they got from working,” Roger said. “And also the hundreds of thousands, even millions of people in the rest of the world who’ve died since that day because of what happened and our responses to it. So let our hearts be with all the innocent people all around the world whoever they might be, whatever their ethnicity or their colour or religion.”

Bring The Boys Back Home was a fitting end to this emotional and thought provoking show before the finale of the stirring and rousing Comfortably Numb, a timeless classic that's never out of place and leaves everyone with a massive smile upon their face and tremendous hope in their soul.

Us+Them is a powerful, emotional and unforgettable theatrical rock show experience, in the very best of Floydian traditions with exemplary playing, state of the art visuals, special effects, lasers and that massive ugly pig! If you're undecided about seeing this show be so no more, you have to go, you won't regret it.

CONCERT REVIEW by BD's Matt

"Standing to be counted with the rest of you...". Twelve years ago, Roger Waters used those words during the Live 8 concert at London's Hyde Park. Standing up for his beliefs, not shying away from doing what he believes is the right thing.

The 2017 Us + Them tour finds Roger just as determined - if not more so - to stand and be counted, highlighting the inequities and struggles that many face, not just at a local or national level, but across the world. In interviews he has pulled out the line from the song which gives the tour its name: "for want of the price of tea and a slice, the old man died..." but the focus on the tour is not just micro but macro too - Roger fixes his steely gaze at a variety of subjects. The aim, one presumes, is to encourage audiences across the world to stop and think more deeply about circumstances, situations, the people involved - and maybe help turn the tide and make the planet a better, more equitable and caring place to live.

Personal circumstances (and geographical location) meant that I was coming into the 2017 tour at a midpoint. Particularly as the band Roger has assembled for this jaunt is broadly new, for me this felt like it could be advantageous as they would be familiar and comfortable with the material, and their colleagues, which could only help with the quality of performance.

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn is a recent addition to that area. It features an unconventional frontage, with an irregular video screen promoting upcoming events, which does lead the eye away from the grass-covered roof. This isn't the first venue I've seen with this feature - the Palais Omnisports in Bercy, Paris, France has spent many happy years with its living roof - and this is normally for insulation and weather-proofing reasons, as well as a way of reducing urban air temperatures and even potentially can reduce stress due to its calm nature. Anyway...internally it is a well designed, fairly standard modern arena, akin to London's O2 amongst a number of other recent multi-use venues. Therefore, and importantly for a show like Roger's, sight-lines seem excellent around the venue, seating tends to be pretty comfortable, and things like temperatures tend to be well regulated. Anyone who has seen shows in freezing or sweltering venues will appreciate that!

Even more importantly, this also meant that the sound quality (an intrinsic part of any Roger Waters/Pink Floyd production) seemed superb from the vantage points I enjoyed over the two shows. Indeed, many commented it was around the loudest they'd heard Roger live, yet the clarity was not diminished in any way. The use of surround was as ever sparing but effective, and seemed well sited in the venue to give most a feeling of immersion. It can never be perfect, and if you are sited near one of the surround stacks you know it, but a good job was done with this.

It seems that when the tour schedule was worked out, by a pure coincidence Roger was scheduled to play here in Brooklyn - the closest venue to the site of the awful events in 2001 - on the actual anniversary of 9/11. Certainly there was a particular atmosphere or mood in the city due to this, and the sombre nature of this particular anniversary impinged on the audience, crew and band alike. With the nature of the show, the material within, this was shaping up to be a memorable performance.

In typical Waters style, the scene was set with the opening video, and female vocal, which (on the whole) settled the crowd and, with the calling of the seagulls, came the quietening of the crowd, preparing themselves for the night to come. And what a night...

With the updated "I've been mad for fucking years..." intro to Speak To Me, the first half kicked off with its offering of old Floyd stuff to get the crowd on their feet early. To interrupt the opening sequence from The Dark Side of the Moon with the bouncing bombast of One of These Days is very strange, but curiously, it works. I guess that's in part due to the way that over the years, tracks from the album have routinely been played in isolation, rather than as a contiguous piece.

It quickly becomes apparent that Waters has assembled a band, guided by the steady hand of stalwart Jon Carin, who work particularly well together, performing the material better than I can ever recall it being performed before by a Waters solo band. There's a sensitivity and understanding of the music, rather than just technical ability or "playing by numbers" which is truly refreshing, and quite unusual. Even Great Gig, performances of which are often well intentioned but not a patch on the original, is well served by the girls from Lucius (a local band, formed in Brooklyn) who provide the backing vocals throughout the show.

A trio of songs from Is This The Life We Really Want? unfortunately triggers some of the more "fair-weather" fans, who do that typical thing at shows of going for beers, using the toilets, and generally wandering around during songs other than "greatest hits". Always a shame for the artist but I guess it happens in every show. Those who do go for a walk miss out on hearing Carin's great slide guitar addition to Déjà Vu, which works really well. As a side note, I'm not sure about Holly and Jess's accompanying vocal in The Last Refugee - I've heard a few live performances of this and personally I think I would have urged a slightly different arrangement. Picture That gets a great reaction - and of course it has the first major bit of Trump bating.

Wish You Were Here is particularly fine, with more great slide from Carin, and this leads to a thumping Another Brick - the dramatic start seeming to catch some out - and the kids choir has been upgraded to bring in the subject of Guantanamo Bay. With RESIST spelt out on the screen behind the band, the first half draws to a close in what seemed like no time at all.

Whilst the first half gives a classic performance in terms of material and presentation, the second half - heralded by sirens and warning lights - takes things, visually and sonically, up to 11! The reveal of Battersea Power Station takes many by surprise, delighting those who previously thought they were in "so so" seats, then finding they were in prime position to take in the edifice perfectly. Indeed, those who traditionally have always sought dead centre on the floor for their Floyd related shows are now rethinking this for the current Waters tour - for this part of the show, they aren't the best seats to be in.

To hear Dogs and Pigs (Three Different Ones) being performed so well is such a treat. It's a shame the entire Animals album wasn't selected - to add Sheep and Pigs on the Wing wouldn't have been a major stretch, although maybe Roger didn't want to change the focus of the tour to be a "40th anniversary" commemoration? The final image presented during Dogs is a chilling and powerful one. Then came the part of the show which has REALLY divided American audiences - Pigs (3DO) is where one can see the political allegiances of the audience around you, and from the cheers in Brooklyn when Trump first appears on the screens, there is clearly little love for him in this area. Looking around me, there were shocked, delighted and hysterical faces loving every moment of Roger's (pretty brave) visual lambasting of the President. I was almost disappointed not to see a single dissenting person, or anyone walking out!

The 2017 version of Algie, with tape over his eyes, and appropriate spray paint on his body, makes a slow circuit of the arena at this point, during the solo and vocoder section of the song, before more savage treatment of Trump is unveiled. The procession of quotes from the man seemed to stop much of the audience in their tracks as they read and digested the words from their leader. Very, very powerful stuff.

More Trump as Money starts, with the opening sounds augmented with more soundbites (which reappear after the first verse, as well). Kept relatively short, a decent performance of this track which is much more one of David Gilmour's songs - without him on guitar it never sounds or feels quite the same. However, some nice free forming on guitar as the song fades to an end; the perfect place for a guitarist other than Gilmour to do their own thing, as if the main solos aren't played "right", the audience notices.

A fairly funky Smell The Roses follows Us and Them - more great guitar work here, and things starting to head toward the conclusion of the show. A lovely vocal segue from Holly and Jess leads into Brain Damage/Eclipse. Without giving anything away, the lasers which appear during Eclipse provide a stunning effect and something I suspect the Floyd would have loved to have done, if the technology back then was even partly able to achieve it. Incredible.

The emotion felt, not just from the audience reaction to the performance, but on a bigger scale with the commemoration of those who passed sixteen years previously, was palpable. Wiping tears from his eyes, Roger took time to acknowledge the significance of the day, and the location.

"Excuse me for being a bit emotional. This is a very sad anniversary for a lot of people in this town and we feel for the families of all the innocent people who were killed on that day 16 years ago. Obviously. And also for the first responders who died since from the diseases they got from working down there. But also obviously for the hundreds of thousands, even millions of people in the rest of the world who've died since that day because of what happened and the responses to it." Thumping his chest, he continued: "So let our hearts be with all of those innocent people all over the world whoever they might be, whatever their ethnicity or their nationality or their colour or their religion.

"We've done about 40 dates in the States and wherever we've played, we've discovered what we've discovered here in this room tonight: there is a lot of love in this room, and we feel it so strongly. Without doubt there is a lot of love in this great country and it is rising to the surface, and it WILL take on the hatred and bigotry, and it WILL overcome, and I'm proud of you."

After a band introduction, comes the inevitable encore, but without the nonsense of leaving the stage. The pairing of Vera and Bring The Boys Back Home (with a particularly affecting vocal) leads to the inevitable Comfortably Numb, complete with floating orb, lasers, and confetti fall. A great end to a wonderful show, which was given additional poignancy with the anniversary of 9/11, not too far from the site of that horrible event.

Day two, and the general feeling in New York seemed to be less solemn and more purposeful, with a sense of determination, and this translated into the audience and the performance.

Most of the above commentary for the first of the brace of shows applies for the second, so I won't run over the same old ground. Toward the end, just before the band introductions, he shared his thoughts on the pair of shows.

"I've no idea how many times I've played in New York City but last night, and tonight, have been completely different than any of the other times. There's something that has happened, which is very cool, I have to say. It's not cool, at all, it's very warm, but it moves me greatly, so I thank you all very, very much. Not just for being here, but for being so kind, and welcoming, and full of love..." After collecting himself, he introduced the band, and Comfortably Numb brought Brooklyn events to a close.

For me, that was the end of the Roger Waters Us + Them tour experiences - for the time being, that is. I'll be seeing him in Europe, and the shows really won't come around soon enough. I think (and this is a bold statement) I prefer this tour, visually, and musically, to The Wall. And we all know how spectacular that was! I think he has really managed to raise the bar on this tour - and it isn't just the technology, which has improved the visual side of things. The band seem to be on fire, and the performances are hugely enjoyable. If you get the opportunity to see the show on the remainder of the tour, I really urge you to do so if you possibly can. It shows Roger Waters arguably at the top of his game, having a whale of a time performing, and it could be his final tour...

YOUR HELP NEEDED! We want to cover Roger's concerts the best we can, to share the experience with everyone, especially those who won't be able to attend the shows. We'd love to see ANY pictures, tickets scans, reviews, newspaper reports, and anything else you come across for this show - we look forward to hearing from you!

Last Updated ( Friday, 10 November 2017 )
 
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