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Roger Waters – This Is Not a Drill

Roger Waters – This Is Not a Drill

By Todd McFliker | Photo by Jay Skolnick

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters lit up Miami’s FTX Arena on August 23rd with his dark This Is Not a Drill. Almost 20,000 concertgoers were thrilled to see the 78-year-old bassist surrounded by numerous catwalks and elaborate video screens. Over the summer, the icon illustrated his current trek to Rolling Stone’s Jon Blistein as a “new rock and roll/cinematic extravaganza, performed in the round.”

Prior to the talent taking the stage, Rogers’ voice warned Floyd fans who don’t care to hear his political messages to “fuck off to the bar.” Wearing black slacks and a matching t-shirt, Roger kicked things off with The Wall’s “Is Anybody Out There” and an obscured version of “Comfortably Numb.” A couple of ladies provided divine backup vocals, while post-apocalyptic images appeared on the hi-tech monitors. The boys delivered “The Happiest Days of Our Lives,” as well as “Another Brick in the Wall.” The rock star fingered the piano for a couple solo songs, and thanked all his faithful ticketholders who purchased their seats in 2020.

Hearing and seeing the second half of Wish You Were Here was extraordinary. Waters paid homage to Floyd’s late Syd Barrett with the contemptuous “Have a Cigar.” Early press photos and live performances were shared onscreen. Waters told the tale of growing up with Syd. They were young lads when they traveled from Cambridge to London to see a concert with the Rolling Stones. It was on their way home that they decided to start a pop band. That’s when we heard the familiar acoustic strumming of the title track, followed by a moving sax solo in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” Throughout “Sheep,” a monstrous balloon shaped like the animal floated over our heads. The TVs were filled with vivid computer animated creatures on an Orwellian farm.

It came as no surprise that Waters preached his poignant views on politics and humanitarian efforts around the globe. Photos and videos including everyone from Reagan and Trump to Biden, Putin and Bezos, along with clips of police brutality and wrongfully imprisoned leaders around the world.
After a set-break, the ensemble returned to The Wall with “In the Flesh” and a passionate “Run Like Hell.” Some more solo material was heard and we got to experience another highlight, the second side of The Dark Side of the Moon, starting with the familiar cash registers of “Money.” Audience members wrapped their arms around one another and swayed to “Us and Them.”

“Any Colour You Like” was a bit trippy, while “Brain Damage” was intense as it led into the fascinating “Eclipse.” Several lasers shot through giant triangles above our heads to form the record’s iconic cover. Rather than ending on a high note, Rogers felt the show must go on. He returned with some rather unfamiliar material, “Two Suns in the Sunset” and “The Bar (Reprise).” He lectured about the cost of education to nuclear holocaust, before concluding with “Outside the Wall.”

For any Floyd follower, the show was spectacular. But unlike Waters’ four previous tours, there was a lack of excitement. Where were the kids singing “We don’t need no education?” What about the erotic animation? And honestly, nobody wants to hear more preaching about the sad state of global affairs. Yet concertgoers expect nothing less from Waters. South Florida music connoisseurs have no complaints, as we were blessed with a sensational set-list of Pink Floyd classics.

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