Tuesday, August 1, 2017

28 July 17 - Roger Waters' Us + Them


Trump is a pig!

Politics, rock music and Pink Floyd go controversially together ever since the early days of progressive and psychedelic rock back in 1965. This five-member band achieved worldwide fame with complex music compositions, philosophical lyrics and elaborate live shows that will leave you mind-blown and hungry for more. And though not together as a full band, Pink Floyd still remains as one of the most influential music groups in rock history ...even in this new millennium.

Recently, SouthSide had the extreme chance to attend the final concert of Roger Waters' Us + Them ...and wow, blogspot readers, she was certainly mind-blown by the elaborate stage production, graphics and effects this legendary rock musician put into his three-hour long concert. Yes, three glorious hours of hanging out with other Pink fans singing along to songs that still ring dear and true like "Time", Welcome to the Machine" and "Another Brick in the Wall part 2". And yes, she did hear and read the angered mumblings from diehard Floyd fans who were boycotting his shows because of Roger Waters and his political views ...especially his disdain for President Trump. Again, this reviewer would like to reiterate to those fans - Pink Floyd has been politically controversial for over 40 years. It's about time you realize that because it's never going to change. If you don't believe this reviewer, then re-listen to Pink Floyd's iconic album - Animals and rediscover where in the three animal groups do you belong - Dogs, Pigs or Sheep.

Back to the concert...

Plenty of "wow" factor for the eyes to be amazed throughout this show. The video images display on the big screen helped enhanced the concert experience like a typical Pink Floyd show should. But remember this is a Roger Waters; concert, so there were many songs not performed during the double set (with a 10 to 15 minute intermission in between). Still, there were enough memories for you to cheer as well as sing along with Roger, blogspot readers. As far as the concert being very political and dark, well, it wouldn't be a psuedo-Pink Floyd concert without that atmosphere surrounding you. The night began with "Breathe" before quickly moving into "One of These Days" which seriously had this reviewer's head banging to the iconic angered-tone composition and then the one song that her heart pounding so hard - "Great Gig in the Sky". Blogspot readers, this one song that got SouthSide interested in Pink Floyd before listening to the entire Dark Side of the Moon album as a teen. Though nothing like the original track 4, it certainly a moving moment for her ...to see the billions upon billions of stars on the screen as the two female singers graced the entire crowd with their rendition of this song. 

Best live version ever. For this reviewer, it a natural high (besides the herbal smoking going on around her).

Need a moment to calm down again, blogspot readers.

"Welcome to the Machine" as haunting as the video imagery portrayed on the screen, this song truly exploded with some raw emotions only to realize how much the philosophical lyrics still ring true in this millennial age. "What did you dream" / [never mind] "We told you what to dream". In some ways, we inside a machine ...constantly checking in (or out) to found out what's going on ...how to run our lives or even live our lives. How scary is that? Very. After a few opening classic Pink Floyd songs, we arrived to the part where Roger Waters' vividly expresses his political views ...his disdain for the use of violence and war to create peace and harmony. During the song "Picture This", the artist poses the question "why are we so mean" to which he answers "we're so greedy". Sad to say - that's true, blogspot readers, whether you want to believe or not. And he's not rather calm about expresses his political views behind scenes from the war in Afghanistan or Syria. No, instead, Roger spits it in our faces so we cannot deny that this is what we have come to as a society before returning to another classic Floyd song "Wish You Were Here".

There were moments as SouthSide sat in her seat (singing along) if the setlist was primarily designed to incite a certain type of reaction from the audience, blogspot readers, particularly during this song and "Another Brick in the Wall part 2) which featured a group of kids in prison garb before disrobing to reveal their "RESIST" t-shirts. And believe it or not, that was the major theme of the Roger Waters' Us + Them concert ...our need to resist and not confirm to the totalitarian feel of this current presidential administration. Even while the word "RESIST" was brightly lit on screen, this reviewer had definite feeling the concert was bout to get darker and more political ...and she wouldn't have it any other way, blogspot readers, because it made sense to her as well as to the other Pink Floyd fans. Just we didn't know at the moment when the house lights came up. It came with anticipated excitement to hear and see what Roger Water’s had planned next for us after the intermission…

Intermission ...yet it wasn't any ordinary intermission, blogspot readers. This intermission seemed quiet at first until our ears were bombarded with noise and sounds of police activity ...gunshots ...sirens ...helicopters flying overhead inside the United Center! We were under attack as the lights dimmed to blackness again and out from that said darkness came the iconic image from Pink Floyd's Animals album including a flying pig and factory coming to life in the middle of the main floor! OMG! What a view! SouthSide felt sorry for those on the main floor because they didn't get the full effect of this stunning imagery like she did from the upper 300 level where she sat. Celebrating its 40th anniversary of the release, Roger and the band graced this crowd with classic renditions of "Dogs" and "Pigs" which became the loudest booing sequence whenever images of Donald Trump were displayed during this song. To truly turn this part of the concert into an anti-Trump rally, there was a floating Piggy Bank of War circling around the stadium as well as many of the infamous quotes by Donald displayed on screen before continuing the ridicule of Trump and his pal Putin in "Money". Such quotes like " What's the beauty about me? I'm rich..." and many others like "grab 'em by the pussy". Yes, ultimately, blogspot readers, it's all about "Us + Them" and Roger certainly paired the deep-thinking lyrics with images to create on heartfelt moment that was definitely powerful to feel as well as hear and see at the same time.

So, you better "Wake Up and Smell the Roses", blogspot readers or you could be next with your name on the bomb. What's happening today ...at this moment effects not just you but everyone around you ...around the world. The world is watching us and Donald Trump. "...Don't worry, I'm going to get political..." Roger promised as he told the crowd that there was a lot of love and hope felt from this town during his time here in Chicago and suggested we should "...spread it across this nation..." Then he wowed the crowd (and SouthSide) when the production team recreated the iconic Dark Side of the Moon album cover during "Brain Damage / Eclipse". Oh, blogspot readers, this reviewer was so in awe by this that she had some tears in her eyes. Way breathtaking to behold in person before moving into "Vera and Bring the Boys Home" (from The Wall) to which he asked the crowd to sing along ...we do need to bring our boys home from foreign places and war, blogspot readers. To cap off an amazing night of Roger and Pink Floyd, it was another sing along time when he closed with "Comfortably Numb" while aromatic fog drifted over the main floor and confetti paper - "RESIST" rained around them.

What a night!

SouthSide had to rest and relax for a minute to allow the experience soak in before going home. 

If you haven't seen Roger Waters' Us +Them, this reviewer highly recommends seeing it despite your political views or what you feel about Roger Waters and his political views. Go see it for the music ...the elaborate production and visual effects that will dazzle the mind and leave you feeling breathless ...hungry for more.

Until next time, support your local scene,

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