Roger Waters is currently on his “Us and them” tour which started last year and is now making it’s way through Europe including four nights here at the 17,000 capacity Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.
On this tour there is no support, just Roger Waters and his band doing two sets with a short interval between them. When the start time arrived, nothing really happened – a video with almost no movement played for 20 minutes with the sound of waves and seagulls. A bit boring (ok very boring), but it did hint at things to come as the sound of the seagulls wasn’t just coming from the front – they were all around us. Finally after 20 minutes the show started as the band came on stage, and from then on, all I can say is WOW, just WOW.
Nobody else uses sound and vison quite like Roger Waters does – sound is something that Pink Floyd experimented with from the start. It’s incredibly rare to hear anything other than front speakers (with relay towers further back in big venues), but with Roger Waters it’s surround sound, so as a good example at the start of the Pink Floyd song “Time”, rather than the sound coming from the front of the arena, it’s all around you, with different clock alarm sounds coming at you from different directions – it really does give the sensation of being in a room full of clocks with them all chiming around you.
As for the visuals – it’s not just footage on a screen behind the band, it’s a more immersive experience than that, with lights that change colour around the arena, and in the second act something pretty spectacular and unexpected (I won’t say too much to avoid spoiling it for fans going to the UK dates). It’s the choice of visuals too where these shows excel – powerful images to drive home the messages in the songs. Fans who have seen him before won’t be surprised to see a giant inflatable pig, plastered with slogans, flying around the arena.
With arena shows becoming increasingly expensive, you come away from some shows wondering where all the money went – there’s a band, and maybe a screen behind them or either side of the stage. With shows like Roger Waters you can see exactly where the money has gone – it’s gone on creating a mind-blowingly good show, and that really does help you feel better about spending a lot of money on gig tickets – feeling that you got your money’s worth.
Tonight’s show drew heavily from “Dark side of the moon” with “Time”, “Money”, “Brain damage”, “Eclipse” and “Us and them” all featuring in the set. We got songs from “The Wall”, “Animals” and “Wish you were here” and even a song from “Meddle” (One of these days). There are also songs from the most recent Roger Waters album (Is this the life we really want).
It really is an incredible show – fantastic songs performed beautifully, stunning visuals and crystal clear sound. There are some shows where you come home and think “That was a good night”, but tonight I’m sitting here still smiling after one of the best shows I’ve seen in years.
One of These Days
The Great Gig in the Sky
Welcome to the Machine
The Last Refugee
Wish You Were Here
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Another Brick in the Wall Part 3
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Us and Them
Smell the Roses
Wait for Her
Part of Me Died