No matter what are your political leanings, Roger Waters and company put on one of the most visually stunning shows I have ever seen. Every seat in the Smoothie King Center was treated to a special experience. At times, the magic that was happening before my eyes was way beyond comprehension. The whole "a picture is worth a thousand words" couldn't be anywhere near the truth. If I've ever had one of those music highs that seemed to last for days, this would be it.
The set for his Us + Them Tour 2017 is composed of Roger's latest effort, Is This the Life We Really Want? (his first album since 1992's Amused to Death) along with Floyd classic albums: Works, The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, and Wish You Were Here; The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon getting the most respect. One of several beauties of his set was the flow of the set itself, his solo material merging well with the Pink Floyd material. The intermission was perfectly placed after "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" which featured about a dozen children in prison jumpsuits from the Dancing Grounds organization. At the end of "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" into "Another Brick in the Wall Part 3," the group of kids scrapped their jumpsuits and revealed the echoing sentiment of the night: "RESIST."
What came next really wasn't all that surprising, considering the political environment we're in today. A friend said that basically, going to a Roger Waters show and not expecting it be political, is about as crazy as going out in the rain and not expecting to get wet. Needless to say, the crowd got drenched. During one of the most visually stunning parts of the show, eight massive screens came down from the ceiling and acted as an extension of the stage, with projected images that combined flawlessly. The symbolic power station images of Floyd's Animals album were dissolved into an anti-Trump lovefest and were accompanied by "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Money," which showed almost every conceivable non-loving Trump meme out there, as well as a slew of his own quotes. Joining the craziness at hand was a huge graffiti-laden pig drone that flew over the crowd. About two minutes or so into "Pigs," a handful of older audience members made their way out of the building. I totally understand not wanting to be bombarded with a political bashing, but if you had done just a bit of research, you would have known what was coming and could have easily sold your tickets. Wanting to be entertained without the politics is a lofty wish for a Pink Floyd/Waters show.
The evening had so many highlights that included an amazing laser pyramid-turned-prism, circa Dark Side of the Moon; amazing imagery throughout the set highlighted by the ones mentioned already and "Time" too; and the amazing backing vocals of Holly Laessig and Jessica Wolfe of the indie band Lucius, which grabbed the audience on more than one occasion. The final song of the evening was "Comfortably Numb," which garnered, by far, the biggest audience participation of the evening, rivaling "Another Brick in the Wall part 2," and was even highlighted by a raining-down of "RESIST" confetti. I would have rather heard "Us and Them" in its place and "Comfortably Numb" after "Money," but I completely get why it was framed in that manner.
Sadly, this was yet another "bucket" list show, in that it put an exclamation point next to my dad's "Wall" 45 and the legacy he built inside me. Also, since there is no way in hell of getting a proper Pink Floyd reunion, seeing Roger Waters play was a lifelong dream and a gift, since he cancelled his last New Orleans date at the arena.