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Review & Set List: Roger Waters @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

When Roger Waters last toured Australia in 2012 he tore down the wall. For the ‘Us + Them’ tour he is tearing down The Wall(nut), US president Donald Trump.

Since the early 70's Roger Waters has always delivered one of the greatest shows on Earth. He did it with Pink Floyd and he is doing it solo. But don’t go along expecting to be uplifted. The show is a roller-coaster of emotions largely built around America’s pig of a president.

Waters exhausts his audience with musical brilliance. You will leave this show emotionally drained. He makes you think about what is happening today with songs written almost half a century ago. Sadly, the warnings in the music of Pink Floyd have as much relevance in the 21st century as they did in the 70s. Welcome To The Machine.

The blackness of Trump’s soul was captured perfectly with ‘Dogs’ and ‘Pigs (Three Different Ones)’, all up a 30 minute expose of the most crooked US president since Nixon. Crooked Trump’s inane quotes are flashed on the screen including his obscene remark about wanting to date his daughter. These have been constantly refreshed on the tour because Trump talks shit every time he speaks and there is always something newer to use. When we look back at footage of this tour (if we all survive) it will reflect America’s darkest moment.

Roger did his part in keeping Melbourne’s youth gainfully employed. Everywhere the tour goes, local students take part in ‘Another Brick In The Wall’.

While the ‘Animals’ tracks are the centrepiece, ‘Comfortably Numb’ is the masterpiece. There is no coming back from this one. The audience is spent by the end of it.

‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ deservedly gets a good run across the setlist. The name of the tour ‘Us + Them’ comes from that albums focal point. ‘Time’ is just breathtaking.

‘Us + Them’ isn’t all retro. Four songs from ‘Is This The Life We Really Want’, Waters first rock album in 25 years are in the show. Three are clustered in the first half, ‘Deja Vu’ could easily fit on ‘The Final Cut’ (which isn’t represented on this tour. ‘Smell The Roses’ gives another sense of currency to the second half showcasing the relevance of Roger’s new music up against the old. It is important to hear where an artist is musically today and Roger Waters can bite as hard lyrically in 2017 as he did in 1977.

From Deja Vu:

If I had been God
With my staff and my rod
If I had been given the nod
I believe I could have done a better job

From Smell The Roses:

This is the room where they make the explosives
Where they put your name on the bomb
Here’s where they bury the buts and the ifs
And scratch out words like right and wrong

Waters leaves the David Gilmour vocal parts from the original Floyd albums to guitarist Jonathan Wilson. Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig are stunning performing the vocal chaos of ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ and tranquillity of ‘Eclipse’.

Waters told Brisbane fans earlier in the week that this is probably the last time he will tour Australia. He was here with Pink Floyd in 1971. Next was his first solo tour was ‘In The Flesh’ in 2002, then ‘The Dark Side of the Moon Live’ in 2007 and ‘The Wall Live’ in 2012. ‘Us + Them’ may very well be the last chance many Australians will see Roger Waters live again. Do not miss this chance.

The set list:

Set 1
  • Speak to Me/Breathe (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • One of These Days (from Meddle, 1971)
  • Time (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • Breathe (Reprise) (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • The Great Gig in the Sky (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • Welcome to the Machine (from Wish You Were Here, 1975)
  • Déjà Vu (from Is This The Life We Really Want, 2017)
  • The Last Refugee (from Is This The Life We Really Want, 2017)
  • Picture That (from Is This The Life We Really Want, 2017)
  • Wish You Were Here (from Wish You Were Here, 1975)
  • The Happiest Days of Our Lives (from The Wall, 1979)
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 (from The Wall, 1979)
  • Another Brick in the Wall Part 3 (from The Wall, 1979)
Set 2
  • Dogs (from Animals, 1977)
  • Pigs (Three Different Ones) (from Animals, 1977)
  • Money (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • Us and Them (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • Smell the Roses (from Is This The Life We Really Want, 2017)
  • Brain Damage (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • Eclipse (from The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
  • Mother (from The Wall, 1979)
  • Comfortably Numb (from The Wall, 1979)