Well, it's taken me a few days to get my act together, but here goes... my review (with pictures) of Roger Waters The Dark Side of the Moon Live in Auckland.
Roger was passionate, and incredibly political (which I LOVED!), and looked as though he was having a great time. He's looking a bit older (aren't we all?) and his voice doesn't have the range or purity it once had, but oh.my.God - what a privilege, what a thrill, what an honour to see the man who wrote The Dark Side of the Moon actually performing it - right there on stage in front of you. Wow.
The sound was absolutely crystal clear, and the visuals were fantastic, with an enormous video screen stretching the width of the entire stage, across which played visuals specifically designed for each song.
It was one of the happiest gigs I think I've ever been to - everyone was obviously pretty darned pleased to be there, and the crowd was so good-natured - it was just a complete joy to be a part of it.
I think I'll post my pictures now and put little comments in between them. There's quite a few. Some are pretty blurry, but I like them anyway, so here goes... and if you make it right to the end of this blog post, you might also find a few snippets of video along the way. Enjoy! And if you want to see a bigger version of any of the pictures, just click 'em!
I was so awe-struck by just being there that I didn't even get my camera out until Shine on You Crazy Diamond, which was the fourth song. So I have absolutely no record of In the Flesh, Mother or Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.
Which is a shame really because there was some lovely stuff on-screen for Set the Controls..., with old black and white footage of Pink Floyd frolicking in a field, preceded by an incredibly huge and stunningly beautiful closeup view of the burning edge of the sun, which slowly made its way up the screen and disappeared, only to reappear and make its way back down the screen at the end. There's a pic of it in the programme - maybe I'll scan it sometime and add it here.
So these first few pictures were all taken during Shine on You Crazy Diamond, which is one of my all-time absolute favourite songs ever. Oh! I just adore it! Ambient music before there was ambient music, lyrical, utterly beautiful, and so heartfelt and sorrowful.
Dear Syd, you crazy, inspired genius of a man. I know Roger loved you very much - and he sang this song with such passion - it was filled with all the love and frustration he felt for you, and imbued with sorrow at your death. Rest in peace, Syd - you crazy diamond - shine on.
The sax solo at the end of Shine on You Crazy Diamond
You know, even the queue for the bus to the North Harbour Stadium was an incredibly friendly place to be, with complete strangers chatting happily to each other. The guys behind us had come all the way from Invercargill, and one of them was a complete concert virgin - this was his first-ever gig! Crikey! He'll be hard-pressed to beat it...
We felt awful 'cos near the front of the queue it split into three or four sub-queues, and we thought they'd already got on another bus, but as we drove away (to rousing cheers from all the passengers) we saw them still waiting at the very front of the queue next to ours. Bummer! I hope they all got there in time!
Have a Cigar was next. I got nuthin'.
Wish You Were Here - another of my favourite songs. This is the same screen that began the concert, as people were settling down in their seats and sorting themselves out. Occasionally a hand would reach across and change the channel on the radio, and we'd get a bit of Elvis, or Abba (channel quickly changed!) or something equally cool.
And here's the video... apologies in advance for the quite dreadful lack of control in the camera-holding department for this one. I was much too excited to hold it steady - plus I was trying to look like I wasn't taking a video in case security had been instructed to prevent any illicit video-taking. The other videos are much steadier, I promise... Maybe shut your eyes and just listen to this one :)
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year...
At the end of Wish You Were Here the screen filled with flickering candles...
...and poppies rained down amongst them.
It was quite beautiful and a very moving segue into two songs from The Final Cut - Southampton Dock and The Fletcher Memorial Home. I particularly appreciated the image of George Bush that appeared amongst pictures of a whole lot of other terrorists for the video that accompanied The Fletcher Memorial Home - and by the amount of cheering from the crowd, it seems as though I wasn't the only one! Go Roger, go!
The first inflatable appeared during (I think) Perfect Sense part 1 & 2 as this astronaut floated gracefully from one side of the stage to the other, accompanying his buddy on the screen. More was to come in the way of inflatables... much, much more...
My blurry attempt to grab a close-up of Roger from the big screen at the side of the stage. I like it - I think it captures the essence of ol' Rog, even if not the detail...
The following five images are from Roger's new song Leaving Beirut, which is the story of the openness and welcome he found when in the Middle East as a young man travelling alone - and his criticisms of the Bush regime's current stance in that part of the world. It's one of the most political songs I've heard in a long time - and it was completely AWESOME. It was accompanied by a comic strip of the story on the big screen. My favourite lines (accompanied once again by a great cheer from the crowd) were:
Oh George! Oh George!
That Texas education
Must have fucked you up
When you were very small!
Here's a bunch more:
Every time a smart bomb does its sums and gets it wrong / Someone else's child dies / And equities in defence rise.
Don't let the might / Of the Christian Right / Fuck it all up for you and the rest of the world.
Not in my name Tony / You great war leader you / Terror is still terror / Whosoever gets to frame the rules.
Bloody brilliant. What an awesome song.
And then came Sheep. I'm not as familiar with Animals as I am with some other Floyd albums, and I was really busting to go to the loo, so when I saw Kirsten heading off towards the concourse area I went with her. We were almost at the top of the stairs when we heard a great roar from the crowd, turned around and saw a GIANT inflatable flying pink pig being towed around the arena on a pair of kite strings.
The "pig wrangler" took it on a tour right around the stadium, and fortunately I still had my camera with me, so I got a whole bunch of pictures. It was well cool. It was covered in graffiti, as you will see. I loved it. So did everyone else.
On this side it has an American flag on top of a peace sign, and it says Kafka Rules OK! and Tino Rangatiratanga and Cut along the dotted line next to a dotted line around its throat.
Here you can see Don't be led to the slaughter and Habeus corpus matters.
As the pig turned away from us to go back towards the stage, another great roar went up from the crowd. Across its arse (a mighty appropriate place for it, IMO), was written the words Impeach Bush now! Heh. Heh heh heh.
Here's side 2 again. It says Save our bacon, Don't be led to the slaughter and Habeus corpus matters - a lot! - and there's an arrow pointing towards Impeach Bush now! that reads Only dimly aware. Too right!
There was one more thing written on the pig. On its tummy it read Free at Last so at the end of the song, they freed it - and the pig sailed slowly up into the night sky, accompanied by cheers from the crowd. Wonder when it'll turn up on TradeMe...
INTERMISSION. Mad rush to the loo by all the old bastards in the crowd. Glad we went when we did. Some chick in the stands displayed her "hooters" (Gerrard's word, not mine!) to the entire crowd, who were most appreciative. They were quite good ones actually.
Everyone stands up and moves around a bit... YES! The entire crowd SAT for the whole of the first half!! (Apart from when we jumped up at the end of each song to go Woohoo! cheer cheer clap clap.) Very civilised! Getting old, you see... pacing ourselves...
Strong smell of Best New Zealand Green in the air. Stick my nose heavenwards and sniff hard to try and get a whiff. Start getting veryveryvery excited about the prospect of hearing/seeing The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. Small full moon projected onto the screen slowly gets larger and larger.
Stadium lights suddenly go out and we hear THE HEARTBEAT, getting louder and louder and louder. Crowd goes mental. I go insane. A red light appears at the side of the huge full moon that fills the screen, and turns into a massive satellite that hurtles towards us at full speed. Crowd goes more insane. I go more mental. Here's Speak to Me and part of Breathe...
"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad..."
Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.
I think these next five are all from On The Run. The visuals were so pretty! And pretty full-on too, especially with that crazy instrumental. I can imagine if you were stoned or tripping it would have been a fairly intense experience.
And then came Time - with the most wonderful drum solo by Graham Broad. I loved this song when I was kid, and I still do. And now that I'm older I kinda see where he's coming from, too:
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
And the best line of all...
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.
I don't have any pictures from Breathe (reprise), but I have to include my favourite lyrics from that song here:
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell.
Last week at work Viv caught me wiping tears from my eyes as I listened to The Great Gig in the Sky on my iPod. God it's such a beautiful, mournful, terrifyingly tragic piece. I thought for sure I'd weep all the way through the live version. In fact I didn't, but I did take a bit of video of it. Carol Kenyon kicks ass! Here it is:
"And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it, you've gotta go sometime."
Next one of course was Money. I used to love singing along with this one as a kid - and not surprisingly, I still do.
Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you're okay.
Money, it's a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I'll buy me a football team.
Money, get back.
I'm all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it's a hit.
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.
I'm in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.
Money, it's a crime.
Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a rise it's no surprise
that they're giving none away.
Oh my God. Us and Them. Apart from Brain Damage it's my favourite song on the album. Here's a bit of it, followed by a bunch of images accompanied by my favourite bits of the lyrics:
Forward he cried from the rear
and the front rank died.
And the general sat and the lines on the map
moved from side to side.
Probably the most influential words of my entire early teens. Together with my immersion in the punk scene a few years later and my first serious boyfriend who taught me about Socialism, those few words made an enormous - and lasting - impression on me. They still resonate with me today as strongly as they did mumbletymumble years ago, especially considering who's in charge of the White House right now.
Thank you Roger. Your words helped to shape the person I am today, and I'll always be grateful for that.
Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There's room for you inside.
Out of the way, it's a busy day
I've got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died.
This next lot are from Any Colour You Like:
Are you beginning to notice a theme running through the graphics here?
I can't quite put my finger on it but...
There's somthing really familiar about that big round thing that always seems to be on the screen.
It reminds me of... of... of the...
No. It's gone. Losing my mind I'm afraid. It's old age you know...
Anyway. Now we come to my other most favouritest song on the album. Brain Damage. Quite appropriate really.
Here are a coupla pics, once again accompanied by the best bits of the wordz (IMHO). Actually, you know what? I can't just cut bits out of this song. I'll have to include the lyrics in their entirety (sung VERY LOUDLY by me):
The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.
The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.
And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.
The lunatic is in my head.
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me 'til I'm sane.
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me.
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.
Be happy I didn't make a video of this one. All you'd have heard would have been me SINGING ALONG AT THE TOP OF MY VOICE. Best you don't have to go through that.
And finally... Eclipse:
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."
...and as the last bars of the song faded away and the heartbeats filled our ears the crowd finally - finally - leapt to their feet as one and went completely nuts.
Now the last time I went to a big outdoor gig in EnZed (Robbie Williams as a matter of fact - what's it to ya? Eh?) the crowd was so unfamiliar with "concert etiquette" that Robbie actually had to ask (in a very small voice from backstage) whether or not we wanted him to come back for an encore. Because when he first went off stage everyone went "well that was nice, what did you think of it? [insert name of friend/lover here] Blah blah chat chat... pardon? What's that? You want to know whether you should come back on again? Oh well yes that would be quite nice. Yaay."
Not so with our Roger. We might have been an old fogey sit-down average-age-somewhere-over-forty kind of a crowd, but boy, did all 20,000 of us know how to yell, scream, woohoo, clap and whistle for an encore! And thank God, once he came back on, apart from a few people who decided to sit back down (and who soon got up again 'cos they couldn't see) we stayed standing for the rest of the gig. Hooray!
My photography skillz completely left me at this point and it all went a bit pear-shaped. I have nothing from Happiest Days of our Lives (in fact I can't remember it at all), and definitely nothing from Another Brick in the Wall part 2 because I was far too busy singing along (again at the top of my voice - apologies to anyone who was nearby!) and pumping my fist in the air at appropriate moments.
I do however have two rather bad pics from Vera / Bring the Boys Back Home. I have no idea what was written on the American flag. Wish I'd caught it in time:
I do quite like this one actually. Nice symbolism:
The final song was Comfortably Numb. What a perfect way to finish! I was on some other planet during this song - just drifting away completely inside the music, enfolded within the lyrics, lost in another dimension with the duelling guitars. It was wonderful:
Here's a picture of the team afterwards:
From left to right:
Paul, me, Viv, Kim, Kirsten, Gerrard.
On the way out I desperately wanted to get a souvenir of some sort. It was that kind of gig, one that you want to remember for ever. Kim was dead against going anywhere near any of the merchandise stands, 'cos she didn't want to spend any more money, so in the end I broke away and squirmed my way back through the crowd. I didn't even really have any idea what was there, but it turned out to be programmes and posters.
I am now the proud owner of a limited edition poster (soon to be framed and hung in a place of honour somewhere in the drawing room) and a programme. Didn't get the T-shirt (haha) because the queue for the T-shirts was about 20 deep before the gig, and it was right at the other end of the concourse. I want one now! Bummer!
The poster is totally fab. It's a still image from the video at the start of The Dark Side of the Moon, where the satellite's coming right at you from around the back of the moon. It's huge and really nicely designed - and the best bit? It came wrapped in plastic with a very strong cardboard backing so it didn't get munted on the journey home. How thoughtful is that?
And the programme is a complete work of art. It's printed on luxuriously thick paper and comes in its own album cover-type sleeve. It's full of the most gorgeous artwork, embossed text, awesome photos and a fascinating interview with Roger: "on the eve of the second stage of his 'Dark Side of the Moon Live' world tour, Roger reflects on its progress so far, as well as on the continuity of themes running through his work and long career."
Here's my favourite quote:
When I got to America I ran into a little bit of resistance, though it got less and less as the tour went on. It also became individual: the odd bigot who was affronted and had obviously never had any conception of what my work was about, and was probably at the concert only because of Dark Side of the Moon's and Pink Floyd's success.
There was one guy in New York, for example, who after Leaving Beirut gave me the finger all the way through the rest of the show. I think that's because the song extols the virtue of an Arab family and criticizes George Bush and the extremists of the Christian Right, he wrongly assumed I was attacking the USA. Not so. After all, the citizens of the USA are 'only ordinary men' too. It is the foreign policy of the current administration that is insane.
On the same topic, I subsequently received a letter from an American man and his wife that accused me of conducting a political rally at the Hollywood Bowl. His wife, he says, had always been a huge fan of me and Pink Floyd, and was devastated that I should express myself politically during the show. Well, she may have been a fan of something, but it was certainly never of my work, for had she been she would have known what to expect.
That's one downside of doing Dark Side of the Moon: some people will have brought tickets for the same reasons I assume this couple did - because they are attached only to a vague idea of what Pink Floyd was, and have never actually listened to the songs.
When people criticise me for being political rather than being simply entertaining (as this American couple did) they clearly haven't paid any attention to the thrust of my work. The guy also said that I shouldn't be allowed to attack George W Bush because I wasn't an American citizen which is as daft as saying non-Germans couldn't ever criticise Hitler or non-Iraqis couldn't ever criticise Saddam Hussein. It's ridiculous.
Besides, as I say in the song that so ironically upset them: 'you've got freedom of speech'. And they have in the States. That's one freedom Americans have protected. I have the right to express myself, my feelings, and my ideas. In that sense I don't choose my subject matter. I'm driven to it by my responses to the world I live in. I'm not even faintly interested in being merely entertaining.
You rock, Roger! Or, as 1956DavidC commented on my YouTube page for The Great Gig in the Sky today:
RW should, really, be the boss of the world.
In the Flesh
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Shine on You Crazy Diamond
Have a Cigar
Wish You Were Here
The Fletcher Memorial Home
Perfect Sense part 1 & 2
Part 2: The Dark Side of the Moon
Speak to Me
On the Run
The Great Gig in the Sky
Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Part 3: Encore
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall part 2
Vera / Bring the Boys Back Home
And here's the band, because they were awesome:
ROGER WATERS: vocals, guitar and bass
ANDY FAIRWEATHER LOW: guitar, vocals
JOHN CARIN: keyboards, vocals
GRAHAM BROAD: drums
DAVE KILMINSTER: guitar, vocals
SNOWY WHITE: guitar
IAN RITCHIE: saxophone
HARRY WATERS: Hammond organ
PP ARNOLD: vocals
KATE KISSOON: vocals
CAROL KENYON: vocals
At the end of the programme there are two pages dedicated to bios of the band members, great photos, and a chance for them to plug their latest albums; and a whole other page listing the entire crew. Nice!
There's also a page dedicated to Roger's charitable endeavours. Go to Millennium Promise to find out more about anti-malarial bed nets and other groovy stuff.
You may have realised that I'm not great at doing proper traditional concert reviews, so I'll leave it to the experts and point you in the direction of the review from the Dominion Post - Gig review: Roger Waters' Dark Side of the Moon - which begins with the words "Roger Waters makes you feel like nothing else outside of the stadium in which he is performing exists." Nice.
I'm not not going to bother referring you to the Herald review, which was obviously penned by an idiot with a tin ear and no heart. Come back to us when you've written something that's sold over 40 million copies and is still going strong, okay, matey?
And here's another excellent review of an earlier concert in the tour - Concert Review: Roger Waters - The Dark Side Of The Moon Live. There's an interesting political discussion going on in the comments, too.
And here's one from B.V.K. Dark side of the moon - Bright side of Waters! who went to the Shanghai gig and borrowed some of my photos cos he didn't take his camera. Nice review, B.V.K.
Golly gee I love Roger Waters.
[UPDATE 04/02/07]: There are a bunch more videos of the Auckland gig up on YouTube now. Here are links to all of them. Check them out!
Large version of Wish You Were Here candles image for theplasticpoet. Glad you like it, dude! Let me know when it's on your blog - I'd appreciate a link to my blog and a photographer credit to me (webweaver). Thanks heaps!
Technorati tags: Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon Live, Dark Side of the Moon, concert, Auckland, North Harbour Stadium, New Zealand, American politics, George Bush, impeach, Bush, YouTube.
You are here: Home > Roger Waters - Dark Side of the Moon Live - Auckland 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Well, it's taken me a few days to get my act together, but here goes... my review (with pictures) of Roger Waters The Dark Side of the Moon Live in Auckland.