Last Night... Roger Waters @ Pepsi Center

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Pepsi Center Better Than: Anything and everything you could possibly imagine -- truly a don’t-miss show.

What can I say about Roger Waters playing Dark Side of the Moon last night? To be honest, I’m kind of at a loss for the right words. There’s awesome, spectacular, marvelous, phenomenal, amazing, fantastic and unbelievable -- none of those words, however, even come close to capturing what it was like to sit in the Pepsi Center and watch one of the greatest rock stars of all time work his magic on stage. I will say this: If you get the chance in your life to see Roger Waters perform, do it! Pay whatever it takes. You won’t be sorry, and it will be worth every penny.

From the nosebleeds up in section 316, the high-definition video projection on a giant screen hung behind the stage actually looked real. I wondered why Roger Waters had an enormous bottle of Bushmills, a rocks glass, an ashtray and a radio on his stage. That projection was the root of the show; when the band was ready to come on, a large hand appeared from nowhere on the screen, taking the rocks glass back to unseen lips for a sip, stubbing a cigarette out in the ashtray, then turning on the radio, which played some random songs (including Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”) before kicking into “In the Flesh.” The floor lights went off, the stage lights came on and the show began.

Waters went through every Floyd album, although not in any particular order. The first set was a comprehensive overview of his music, plus songs from his solo album, Amused to Death. He ran through "Mother," “Shine On, You Crazy Diamond” (complete with images of Syd Barrett flashing across on that ginormous screen), “Have a Cigar,” “Bring the Boys Back Home” (complete with an image of a soldier with a knife in his back), “Wish You Were Here” (which always brings tears to my eyes), “Vera,” “Set the Controls for the Heart,” “Sheep” -- and a new song of his, “Leaving Beirut,” which tells the story of a seventeen-year-old Waters stranded in Lebanon and taken in by a poor family for a night. The entire show was extremely political; Waters has issues with authority -- particularly a certain warmongering American President -- and he has no qualms expressing his outrage. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that out of the four shows he’s playing on the American leg of this tour, two are in Texas (Houston and Dallas).

After taking a break, the band hit the stage again to play Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety: “Speak to Me,” “Breathe,” “On the Run,” “Time,” “The Great Gig in the Sky,” “Money,” “Us and Them,” “Any Colour You Like,” “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse.” Again, words escape me. Not only was the music stellar, but I have never seen anything like the visuals -- the infamous floating pig was back (released in the first set during “Sheep”), and to close out Dark Side of the Moon, an LED pyramid appeared as if from nowhere in the middle of the Pepsi Center, projecting a rainbow spectrum from its center, which rotated around the stadium, bathing every person in turn with light.

Of course, when Dark Side of the Moon ended, the crowd went nuts. No one even thought about leaving their seats. We stood and clapped our hands sore and shouted our throats raw until the band came back to play “Comfortably Numb” and “Another Brick in the Wall” for the encore.

Throughout the entire show, Waters was very humble. He seemed surprised to be receiving such unequivocally enthusiastic feedback from the crowd, saying, “It’s been so long, I wasn’t sure…” One thing is for sure: Roger Waters has still got what it takes to rock out a stadium full of people, seemingly effortlessly. I have seen many, many shows, but this was easily the best single-stage, single-band concert I have ever been to in my life.

-- Amber Taufen

Critic’s Notebook

Personal Bias: I am almost ashamed to admit this now, but I wouldn’t have considered myself a Roger Waters/Pink Floyd “fan” until last night. I liked their music okay, but I wasn’t hard-core. I really bought those tickets for my boyfriend’s benefit. And I’m so glad I did.

Random Detail: The floating pig went AWOL during Waters’ show at Coachella; he played Sunday night, and they just found the remains of the pig on Tuesday -- too late to repair it. Yet the pig appeared during “Pigs” at the Pepsi Center. How the hell did they do that?

By the Way: Was it just me, or was just about everybody in the building on something?

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