Fans of the classic rock band Pink Floyd packed the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City to hear their favorite tracks from co-founder, ROGER WATERS. Though he had written most of the politically charged material for the group, contributing most of the lyrics to The Wall, many seem to have missed the point.
Currently on his This Is Not a Drill tour, the show opens with the simple message, “If you’re one of those “I love Pink Floyd, but I can’t stand Roger’s politics” people, you might do well to fuck off to the bar right now.” Having seen people walk out of his show in anger in 2017, I could only imagine how charged things would become.
This would quickly come on display within the first 20 minutes of the concert, with the night’s first solo effort from Roger, The Powers that Be. Though originally written in the mid 80’s, the songs themes still resonated today, with the monitors hanging over the stage showing video of police brutality, both real, and animated, and showing the names of those killed by police, with the listed crime as “being black” or “being mentally ill”
More solo material, and political statements, followed with The Bravery of Being Out of Range, with video of various US Presidents, from both parties, captioned with “War Criminal”.
Roger took a moment to address the crowd, and introduce a new song he had written during the COVID lockdowns, The Bar. Explaining that it’s an imaginary place, where people can exchange opinions with strangers, adding that “tonight, this room is the bar” In light of his opening remarks, this seems a tad cheeky. But the sentiment is sweet, as is the songs lyrics, about a homeless black woman, being helped by a Lakota Sioux, where she’s taken to the proverbial bar, where we all look after her, playing well into the themes of community, Roger has often espoused.
The concert would continue, largely with PINK FLOYD classics. After a short intermission, with Roger emerging in trench coat, and Marching Hammer armband, and theatrics ensuing, and video of drone strikes killing civilians, revealing that the footage was leaked by Chelsea Manning, and published by Julian Asange, with a message of “Free Julian Assange”
For those who are fans of PINK FLOYD, and the music, it would be hard to be disappointed by the current ROGER WATERS tour. With a full band, background singers, and impressive stage display, a wonderful sonic experience is delivered. The political messaging is more heavy handed this tour than in years past, but the warning is there, not just in the pre-roll video, but in the tour name itself: This Is Not A Drill.
Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin