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Home arrow Roger Waters 2022 arrow August 31st - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK, NY, USA (rescheduled)
August 31st - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK, NY, USA (rescheduled) Print E-mail
Roger Waters - This Is Not A Drill 2020 Tour

Capacity: 20,000
Concert starts: 8pm

Address of venue: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, New York 10001. MAP




Roger's new tour - THIS IS NOT A DRILL - has now been announced, and is a new production. As when his previous tour (Us + Them) was announced, details of what this new show will entail are brief; we suspect a new set list, and new presentation, and the image created to publicise the tour does note that the show will be "live in the round" - a departure from Roger's previous shows.

Those who have attended - or have seen pictures/video of - Roger's previous tours, will know just how spectacular and moving this new production is likely to be, and how it is a show you really shouldn't miss! From comments Roger has made in recent interviews, it could be his final tour...

For the regular sale of tickets, which starts on FRIDAY, JANUARY 31st at 10am (local time), CLICK HERE. Using this direct link also helps toward the ongoing running costs of this site, and is appreciated!

UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, this show has been postponed from its original date in 2020. Roger said about the cancellations: "Bummer, but if it saves one life, it's worth it."

Ticketholders are advised to hold onto their original tickets and await further information.

SET LIST - highlight the following with your mouse to read...
FIRST HALF: Comfortably Numb, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3, The Powers That Be, The Bravery of Being Out of Range, The Bar, Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Sheep. SECOND HALF: In the Flesh, Run Like Hell, Déjà Vu, Is This the Life We Really Want?, Money, Us and Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Two Suns in the Sunset, The Bar (Reprise), Outside the Wall.


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

Night twenty-four of the tour, with Roger and his band on their This Is Not A Drill tour, in the Big Apple - New York City - and the second of a brace of shows at Madison Square Garden. Brain Damage was there for both shows, and our review is below, joined shortly by some suitable pictures once we've gone through them all!

Initial reports from the fan community are that the show was quite an experience, but as always, we value your first hand views on all the concerts - so if you went, please let us know your thoughts!


Breathe, breathe in the air... Hmm. An apposite song lyric for the experience of seeing Roger Waters, and his new, "In The Round" production entitled This Is Not A Drill, over two nights at the end of August. Despite smoking of any kind being permitted in New York City's Madison Square Garden, it quickly became very clear that there were a number of people around the auditorium, on both nights, happily smoking cannabis to get "into the mood" for the upcoming concert, and during the performances themselves. The smoking of cannabis for recreational purposes in New York was legalised in 2021, and whilst it is still illegal to purchase in the state, just walking around the city it is clear that this restriction isn't holding people back. In our seats at Madison Square Garden, it took me back to past years seeing Pink Floyd perform, with a haze of aromatic smoke all around. It did take me by surprise that people were so openly smoking it within a building that prohibits it, with staff seemingly not spotting (or smelling) it, or turning a blind eye.

In a way, though, for some it perfectly set the mood. The cheering that met the initial announcements from Roger, including the exhortation that people unsympathetic to Roger's politically charged music go and find the bar, made that clear. The show, of course, starts with a new arrangement of Comfortably Numb (not a song one would expect to begin proceedings) but the stripped back, and fairly bleak, reading of the song was the perfect soundtrack for the visuals, which showcase the new screen structure to the audience for the first time.

The staging for this new production is in two parts: the stage itself, angular and in a cross shape, with two short "arms" and two long "arms", and a corresponding screen structure, which - as the show begins - rises to uncover the area that the musicians reside. The stage is black, as is the musicians' clothing, to presumably give more focus to the screens, and if you've seen Roger on his previous recent tours, there will be a familiarity in some of the footage, but also the type of images presented. There IS a lot of new footage though, some of it very funny (a dancing fat-cat banker pig, for example) and some of it rather thought-provoking (albeit some near me clearly didn't quite get what Roger was trying to say).

One thing that did surprise was the relatively static nature of the staging/musicians. Normally, productions "in the round" feature a revolving stage, or different locations for musicians to ply their trade. This wasn't the case with this production, and it felt that Roger, along with the backing vocalists, were the only ones to really move around so that different parts of the audience could see them. Remember, people are sat completely surrounding the stage, from those on the floor, to those in the highest "nosebleed" seats. Even viewing from level two (as I was on the first night) the flown speaker stacks were covering parts of the screens, so from higher up, that would have been more marked. Indeed, Roger did seem to favour one particular location for a number of songs, which was a bit of a pity as it felt that for much of the gig, he wasn't that visible.

As I mentioned earlier, it does seem that the intention is to move people's focus to the screens, where the visuals reinforce the messages in the lyrics. I really don't want to go into too much detail, as I'm conscious that many will be looking to the reviews for insights into the shows, rather than reliving them in step-by-step detail. However, those who are after more traditional Floydian tropes will be pleased to hear that you still get to see things like elements from the Money onscreen film, for example, and there's not just a flying pig - which appears at the start of the second half - but there's the debut of Brian, an inflatable sheep, who seems to enjoy his traverse of the arena. There's also a nifty laser effect toward the end of the show - again, we won't spoil that either.

A side note is due, I think, to mark the harmonising by the backing singers (Shanay Johnson and Amanda Belair) which works really well, and to my ear, works better than the backing vocals on the previous tour. Their vocal on The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range was a good example of how well they seemed to fit the overall sound. They also seemed more relaxed and less choreographed than Lucius, who provided backing vocals back then. Lucius were great, but the contrast between them, and Shanay and Amanda, makes an interesting change. No doubt this was a conscious decision to change the sound, and of course, they are different singers anyway so one would expect some difference.

Talking of change, the setlist is obviously changed from the Us & Them tour, bringing in some different songs, changing the presentation of others, and bringing in a new song (The Bar) which was performed in two parts. This new song was one of the times we found Roger playing piano during the show, and he introduced the song with some explanation (again, not given here so as not to spoil the detail for future attendees). For those after Floyd classics, many of them are here, and presented in greater numbers than his solo material (which did come as a bit of a surprise). And for those, particularly in one area of the floor, don't be late back to your seat before the second half starts!

Sitting in a different position on each of the two nights gave me a slightly different perspective on things; level two (quite high up) on night one, level one on the second night. I couldn't stretch to a floor seat (had hotel and flights from the UK to factor in too!) but wonder how the overall view is from there? You'll be closer to the musicians but would the screens be as effective and impactful? Possibly...but I don't have personal experience of that. Sound and performance wise, the second of the brace of shows at Madison Square Garden was better than the first. Maybe it was a difficult place to set up and balance the sound, particularly with the unique staging? The audience reaction generally seemed better on the second night, and it can often be found that this helps the musicians' overall performance, even if subconsciously. We are probably talking fine margins though!

It is clear that Roger is having a whale of a time performing This Is Not A Drill. His initially announced European dates for 2023 remark on it being his "first ever farewell tour" (a presumably tongue-in-cheek oxymoron); as he is now 79, it is clear he will be retiring from live performance at some point in the not too distant future, yet his obvious fitness and enthusiasm point to that day being a way off yet.

If it IS his final tour, This Is Not A Drill is a fitting way for him to draw a line under his live outings, with a clarity over his feelings on display and presumably a hope that at least some of the audience will go away with new perspectives about certain people, places or events. If Roger's shows over recent years have taught us anything, it is that a concert doesn't have to be just about the music - social commentary and a degree of educating those attending will be included. Musically and visually though, Roger knows what his fans want, and delivers on all fronts.

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 ( Thursday, 15 September 2022 )
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