Over the weekend the Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters played a couple of politically driven shows at Denver’s Pepsi Center, and I made it out to see him on night 2. The legendary rock star played for about 2 and a half hours collectively while he and his band belted out magnificent renditions of all the classic Pink Floyd hits, as well Roger Waters’ own exclusive songs. Although there will be griping in this review/re-cap, none of it has absolutely anything to do with the sound. Waters has gone out and put himself together a group of world class musicians, and he himself sounds just as great as he always has. It truly was a mind blowing experience for me getting to hear some of my favorite songs of all time live and in person.
Unfortunately though, there was several parts of the show that did take away from my experience and I’ll start with the big one, which if you read the headline, you know what I’m about to talk about. Pink Floyd’s music has always reflected on different aspects of society, so it’s not a surprise that one of the main men behind most of those songs is very outspoken when it comes to politics. And I have nothing against a man of his credibility and fame using his position to spread a message, but a large portion of this show did really just come off as an anti Donald Trump rally, and that is not what people like me paid ALOT of money to see.
I’m leaving my personal views and beliefs out of this, one because I don’t follow politics or have any really strong beliefs on either side, but two because his views are his views. His opinions. Everyone is entitled to that, so I don’t fault him for thinking the way he does, but I think that even the biggest Trump haters are going to agree with me here.
My first big problem with him doing this however, I already mentioned. And that would be the money issue. I paid $125 (face value) for my seat, second level pricing. Had a fantastic view and my seat was right up from ground level. Though not every single person there paid as much as me, they all paid a lot and many paid even more, I believe it was a sold out show. That being said, thousands of people broke their bank to see one of the greatest musicians of all time play some of the greatest music of all time. Not to be preached politics.
My other big issue with this was that it was not just a slight mention, it was heavy. Full video presentation about the president, along with other displays including a giant flying pig with Trump’s face on it were just some of the political aspects featured at this show. Now the problem I have with this, are not his views or opinions that he is entitled to, its the fact that this created a 100% one sided environment which is NEVER a good thing. It only alienates the people who maybe have opposing beliefs. People, who in this case apparently paid big money, only to be ridiculed. This kind of presentation, in this kind of environment only causes tension. That is, unless all of the tens of thousands of people that were there shared the same views, but the man is our president, so the chances of every single person being against him is slim to say the least.
Seeing Skillet the night before proved to me that an artist can, and should slip in their beliefs to their performance. It is important to show what they stand for and what is important to them, but it should be done subtly, delicately, and it should be expressed that these are just the artist’s beliefs and it is ok for you to have your own, even if they differ.
To me, take away the fact that ‘that’s not what we paid to see’, the other part alone is what jeopardized this from being an amazing experience for me . In the world we live in, the world of hate and fear, people use these kinds of things as escapes, and that aspect going to this concert I’m sure was ruined for many people. People who felt as though they were directly being told that what they believed in was wrong, or people like me, who could just feel the uncomfortableness and tension in the air. Which, especially in light of recent events, is not a good feeling.
Another thing that took away from the show a little bit for me was Roger Waters complete lack of interaction with the crowd. Waters had no opening act, so the whole night was left to just him to entertain us, and besides when he sang, he barely said a word throughout the performance. In my head, if I just wanted to listen to a band, I’d put on a CD. When I’m paying to see a concert, I’m paying for the experience, which goes beyond the sound. The lack of interaction with the crowd didn’t bother me to much in this case though because the spectacular special effects and displays that played a huge part in the show made up for it.
Behind Waters and his band was a giant screen that stretched from both sides of the arena and had a kind of visual story that went right along with the set list and the show also included a spectacular laser light display. Overall, even with all that ranting, I still am super happy I decided to go to this show. Negative things aside, nothing can replace the feeling of hearing The Wall performed live or seeing The Dark Side of the Moon projected with lasers in the middle of the arena. Happy to cross this one off my bucket list.-Johnny K