One should expect nothing less than a spectacle when considering Pink Floyd – or any of its former members – in a live setting. Roger Waters least of all. And on his Us + Them tour, Waters brought a grand spectacle, complete with an awe-inspiring light show, artfully composed video and dancing children clad in orange prison jumpsuits.
And pigs. Giant, flying pigs.
Shortly after 8pm, the lights dropped inside the arena and the noises started. Unintelligible noises. Random and rhythmic, rising up from the from beneath the excited shouts of the packed stadium, there came familiarity in a beating heart as it spilled up and over into Breathe.
That was when it became real. This is Pink Floyd – live and direct from the source. Of course establishing reality was only the first step into the surreal reflection of our world.
Welcome to The Machine – its cold ruthlessness lay bare with startling and violent animation. Welcome to The Wall – where we were prompted to RESIST at all costs the insidious mechanisms of mind-control that begin with the educational system. Welcome to America – where the players donned animal masks during a not-so-subtle anti-Trump exhibition accompanying Dogs and Pigs (Three Different Ones).
Stellar musicianship was on display all night. From deep cuts like One of These Days to heart-rending classics like Wish You Were Here, Waters and his team of players delivered with soul and energy unique to Pink Floyd. Notably, the backup singers got their moment in the sun, winning the arena over with their stirring dual performance of The Great Gig in the Sky.
But the real moment came toward the end of the second set. That moment of transcendence, it came with the appearance of a massive pyramid of white light beaming across the arena during Eclipse. That was when everything under the sun – love and hate, peace and war, life and death – that was when it all came together as a single, ineffable force of being and rose to the peak of the pyramid in spectral rays of shimmering light.
Or perhaps that’s only how I experienced it. Perhaps those are the only words available to express the cumulative impact of the past two hours. Art is subjective. It is an individual using any means available to translate in-sight into something that can be perceived by the physical senses. What visceral truths an others may glimpse from behind the outward portrayal is dependent completely on them.
Roger Waters brought art to San Antonio last night. I am very pleased that I was there to witness it.