Roger Waters at the Pepsi Center, 11/23/10
Waters kicked off the second set with "Hey You" and segued into "Is There Anybody Out There," which he and the band played behind the wall. In yet another standout moment, during "Nobody Home," a section of the wall folded down like a Murphy Bed, revealing Waters sitting in a chair facing a TV screen on a set fashioned to resemble a hotel room, complete with a blazing neon sign visible through the window.
When the song ended, that section of the wall folded back in on itself, and Waters made his way to the stage in front of the wall for a stirring rendition of "Vera," which featured poignant modern-day footage of a young girl being reunited with her father, clad in military fatigues and presumably returning from battle, surprising her at school.
A shot of the two embracing framed the words that Waters sang next ("Does anybody else in here feel the way I do?") and the wartime images that followed. As Waters stood by himself at center stage, illuminated by spotlights and singing the words to "Bring the Boys Back Home," a modified quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower* played behind him that read:
"Every gun that's made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, A THEFT" -- in bold red letters -- "from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and not clothed. Bring the boys back home."
Before we had a chance to reflect on such anti-war sentiments, Waters dialed up "Comfortably Numb," featuring perhaps the most gratifying musical moment of the show, namely the pitch-perfect solo Dave Kilminster* played perched on top of the wall underneath a spot. Testifying to his prowess, my friend swears he saw him tuning his guitar between licks whenever he noticed that a particularly impassioned bend would pull a string sharp or render it flat.
That marvelous display was followed by "The Show Must Go On," in which the rest of the band joined Waters on stage in front of the wall. As if to bolster the notion that this music was being played live by actual human beings who could sing without the aid of pitch-correcting devices, the backing vocalists showcased harmonies tight enough to give even the most accomplished doo-wop crooners pause.
As Waters and his band started approaching the culmination of the set, the notorious inflatable pig made its appearance and briefly hovered around the arena before retiring as the band churned through a few more numbers -- most notably, "Run Like Hell," when various Apple-nodding references flashed on the screens, stuff like "iPaint," "iBelieve" and "iKill," superimposed over images of folks like Mao Tse Tung.
After a few more numbers, the show reached its logical conclusion as "The Trial" ended and a chant of "Tear down the wall!" erupted in the crowd. As if on command, the wall complied and tumbled down on top of itself, to rapturous cheers.
After a few beats, Waters and the band made their way to the stage in front of the pile and performed "Outside the Wall" in an almost acoustic manner, stripped of all the previous bombast, while construction workers clad in "iCrew" T-shirts sorted through the rubble behind them.
Exhausted but completely fulfilled, we left the Pepsi Center notably exhilarated, as well as a little daunted by the notion that we had probably just seen the best show of our lives. "It's all pretty much downhill from here," I said, shaking my head.
Ed note: * Added guitarist's name who played the "Comfortably Numb" solo and attributed Dwight D. Eisenhower quote.
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