Roger Waters: ‘This is Not a Drill’ in Los Angeles

This was definitely not a drill, but Roger Waters’ Los Angeles stop at Crypto.com Arena was certainly one of the more brilliant concert experiences in recent memory. Originally scheduled during peak pandemic times in 2020, there’s been no shortage of world-going-to-hell material to further infuse the proceedings of Waters’ current tour, and he lets us know it. Presented “in the round” with an end-to-end stage split by a short side-to-side axis, the show (September 28, the second of two nights here) was an immersive musical, visual, political, and personal journey. Waters and his band played to, and for, everyone. 

Roger Waters – 09.28.22. 📷: Jim Brock Photography

The impeccable sound came at us from everywhere, not an easy task in the notoriously cavernous and echoey arena (tough job of the night went to the drone pilot behind the chaotic aerial ballet of a few loose farm animals). With video screens that mirrored the entire stage layout, the stunning visuals were often layered with truth-telling narrative from Waters. During “Wish You Were Here,” the origin story of Pink Floyd, when Waters and Syd Barrett were young lads, flashed above the band as Waters went from stage edge to stage edge. 

“We had a dream. For a while, we lived it. The rest is history. Then it all went a bit pear-shaped… When you lose someone you love, it does serve to remind you. This is not a drill.” 

Roger Waters – 09.28.22. 📷: Jim Brock Photography

Indeed. Most of the two sets were steeped in his former band. Set two began with Waters in fascinista regalia with goose-stepping imagery to drive home Floyd’s “In the Flesh” and “Run Like Hell” (“Are there any paranoids here tonight? This one’s for you!”), and there are few bass lines as recognizable as the intro to “Money,” which followed a few songs later. 

Roger Waters – 09.28.22. 📷: Jim Brock Photography

“Comfortably Numb,” “Another Brick in the Wall (Parts 2 and 3),” “Have a Cigar,” “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” (Parts VI-IX),” and “Us and Them” are all part of the tour’s setlist. The robust support of Jonathan Wilson and David Kilminster on guitars, Gus Seyffert on guitars and bass, Seamus Blake on sax, Jon Carin on keys and guitar, and drummer Joey Waronker never wavered, soaring in all the right spots (and it was especially satisfying to see Greyboy Allstar Robert Walter on keys with the tour). A shoutout to vocalists Amanda Belair and Shanay Johnson as well. 

Roger Waters – 09.28.22. 📷: Jim Brock Photography

Towards the end of the night, Waters gathered the band ’round the piano for a reprise of his recently penned “The Bar” to close the night, throwing back shots of mezcal together that made the 20,000 in the room feel like they were in their corner bar. Whether you abhor the man’s politics or embrace them doesn’t change the fact that this is a tour not to be missed.

[ONE: Comfortably Numb, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3, The Powers That Be, The Bravery of Being Out of Range, The Bar, Have a Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX), Sheep; TWO: In the Flesh, Run Like Hell, Déjà Vu, Déjà Vu (Reprise), Is This the Life We Really Want?, Money, Us and Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Two Suns in the Sunset, The Bar (Reprise), Outside the Wall]

Roger Waters – 09.28.22. 📷: Jim Brock Photography

 

 

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