One word screams to mind when you say Roger Waters; legend. That is, when you know who he is and what he’s done. Before going to see him at Hyde Park I’d googled him but my knowledge (embarrassingly) of this man didn’t extend much further than that. So, I’ll forgive you if you’re not immediately familiar with his name. Even my dad, who I thought would be old enough to be in the generation that was on a first-name basis with the guy, asked shamelessly ‘Who’s that?!’ when I told him I’d seen him in Hyde Park last night. The lead singer of Pink Floyd, Dad. (I’m slightly disappointed at his unawareness, but what can you do?) Nevertheless, after you’ve figured out his more widely known title, it’s pretty clear that a concert headed by him will be a monumental music experience. But before BST, did I know what I was in for?
Waters’ entrance was nothing startling: no pop. No bang. No dramatic over-enthusiasm. He just strolled onto the stage. But his humble nature was testament to many of the underlying themes of his performance (if we’re going to really get deep about this) – he let the music, visuals and political undertones pervade through the crowd, as any decent musician knows it will with the right balance of skill, entertainment and attraction.
The first 45 minutes of his performance was filled with classic, slightly more toned-down tunes to ease the crowd in. After hearing the majority of his songs for the first time there and then, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them (and if you’ve never listened either, stop reading this article and get on it. I insist.). The KILLER track from the first section was the duet performed by his two incredibly chic (thank you, blonde wig black eyeliner combo) backing singers whilst Waters was on guitar; their voices as smooth and stunning as the amber sunset that was setting above our heads. So, whilst Waters isn’t my usual Spotify selection of choice, the undeniable beauty of his LEGENDARY instrumentals and ability to write music with real depth proved enough to have a non-committed fan completely hooked.
Then came a small (and much deserved) ten-minute break for both Waters and the crowd, before he resumed. Enticing graphics during the interlude set the scene for the next hour of Water’s performance – screens plastered with RESIST (a favourite word of Water’s, I believe); clever, bold statements about his blatant dislike of Mark Zuckerberg and resisting (there it is again) the unfree democracy we currently live in… as you can already tell, we were in for a very politically charged round two.
Primarily thought-provoking and engaging (we all love a bit of Trump slating now and then, right?) the weight of the political messages feltslightlyoverwhelming at points – when Water’s enacted hanging himself (the metaphor based on the nature of free will in our democracies) it definitely bordered on insensitive… However ultimately, all the points Waters raised are issues that we all think we’re aware of and yet need reminded of to actually act upon: the rise of fascism, the reality of global warming, the simplicity of human rights (that are currently not being globally upheld). And a gig like Water’s serves as the perfect bridge between reminding people in a creative context to instil passion for the cause as opposed to stirring disillusionment.
But back to the music. Over and above the fact Water’s brought a substantial political aspect into his performance, he continued to absolutely nail his set. Alongside the more passionate music he threw out all the stops with a heavily visual performance: an inflatable pig, a reflective (and beautiful) sphere and psychedelic lights, all of which made the end of his performance border on mesmerising. Ultimately, everyone was there to see and hear him perform, and we got a show that struck us all no matter how much the political messages spoke to us individually.
However, as a last note, I want to draw on one of the finer points that Waters chose to make. He wanted to remind us that we’re all brothers and sisters – he made a specific point of saying so. It was a poignant moment in a very stark, politically charged performance. And at the heart of this simple message and stand-out show, I know I won’t forget any elements of Water’s BST set anytime soon.
In the words of the legend himself: STAY HUMAN!
Till next time,
Alexa (ya QUEEN)