Review And Photos By Paul Salfen
To say that this weekend’s Roger Waters show in Dallas was divisive would be an understatement. After a two year delay, the Pink Floyd legend’s This Is Not A Drill tour finally came around and what a show it was. From beginning to end, the in-the-round presentation was full of stunning visuals, thought-provoking content, a beautiful stage presentation, and, of course, amazing music. At 79 years old, Waters still has that fire that made audiences fall in love with him. That voice that you would recognize on any track is still very much intact and his musicianship is always top-notch thanks in part to a very solid touring band. Before the show began, Roger’s voice was heard with the warning: “If you’re one of those ‘I love Pink Floyd, but I can’t stand Roger’s politics’ people, you might do well to f**k off to the bar right now. Thank you, and please enjoy the show.” He said it with a laugh but he certainly wasn’t kidding.
Opening with a dramatic and slowly mesmerizing dystopian video of a version of Comfortably Numb, Waters appeared out of nowhere after with no instrument for The Best Days of Our Lives and Another Brick In The Wall (Parts 2 and 3) before launching into a politically and socially-charged music-based presentation that featured every modern president in recent history – minus Jimmy Carter that declared each one a war criminal with their crime listed. But, of course, when it got to native Texans George Bush Sr and local resident George W Bush, various members of the crowd started disruptively yelling, although it didn’t receive an obvious mass disapproval as one might expect. Then social injustices and wrongdoings by police and military were on full display, along with other notable targets not getting away without their moments on the big screen. Of course discussion likely ensued around as it did in my section with the man next to me asking why a rich musician is lambasting and preaching to his likely mostly rich audience. Fair enough: heritage acts don’t typically have inexpensive tickets at this level, but that’s not the point. Waters was using his voice and platform to keep the names of those like George Floyd and Shireen Abu Akleh alive, no matter what the crowd thought. His support for Julian Assange was seen on the screen and in the lobby, where social justice causes were given a table and gave out information to anyone that would take it.
Even with all of the dark imagery and reminders of some harder recent historical moments during The Powers That Be and a newer track, The Bar, fans were rewarded with Pink Floyd classics like Have a Cigar, Wish You Were Here, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX) and Sheep (complete with a flying sheep overhead) to close out the first act.
The second act featured the brilliant second side of Dark Side of the Moon, which was a highlight, but there was also beloved favorites In the Flesh and Run LIke Hell that got the crowd fired up, but Money with Waters delivering his ever-famous bass line may have been the real highlight before closing.
Overall, those that got it really appreciated what Waters was trying to do and wouldn’t expect any less from him and for those that thought he should just shut up and play the hits, they obviously haven’t really been listening this whole time. He’s always spoken up and spoken out, even through his music and now more than ever in his career, it might be needed. The show is a completely unique experience and the beginning of a great artist’s farewell. It certainly should not be missed.