Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Roger Waters at the Moda Center on 09/10/22

Photos and Review by Brent Angelo

To say that Roger Waters has had a huge impact on the culture of music is a major understatement.

As a founding member of Pink Floyd, he was a driving force in that band as a songwriter, co-lead singer, instrumentalist, and concept director. Pink Floyd pushed the limits of what was possible at that time.

Albums like 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon remain one of the most respected and beloved albums of all time by both fans and critics. Pink Floyd’s success would grow through the seventies and by the eighties, Pink Floyd were one of the biggest bands in the world reaching a super stardom level that not too many have achieved.

In the mid-eighties, Roger Waters left Pink Floyd and would again then push musical boundaries on his own. In 1990 for example, he staged one of the biggest concerts ever done to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. “The Wall” was an epic performance and done at pivotal time in world history.

Roger Waters' current tour is titled This Is Not a Drill addresses many world issues and packs a lot of punches. The tour was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but the Covid 19 pandemic pushed back those plans until this year. Portland just got its rescheduled show on September 10th at the Moda Center. The tour’s stage is set in the round stage and is adorned with large video screens filled with his stunning visuals. With the music of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters' solo work, the show is a brutally honest reminder of things going on in our world.

Right before the concert starts, he makes a public announcement over the speakers and on the video screens. The audio/visual message goes “if you are one of those “I love Pink Floyd but I can’t stand Roger’s politics you might do well to fuck off to the bar right now”, which was followed by massive applause.

As the show began, video screens showed an animated city with its people, who were seen in the dark as “Comfortably Numb” filled the arena. That stripped-down version of the song along with that video created such a heavy mood in the arena and painted a dark picture of people in the world right now.

Roger Waters then walked up on stage to start the show officially with “The Happiest Days of Our Lives”, which segued into, “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”. Roger Waters' solo song “The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range” called out recent US Presidents as War Criminals for things like the use of drone strikes. The first act would include a new Roger Waters song “The Bar”. The song was written during the pandemic lockdown period. This is Roger Water’s explanation of the song.

“‘The Bar’ is a place in my head, an imaginary place, but it’s also a real place. There are bars all over the world. In my head, it’s a place where you can maybe have a drink, certainly meet your friends, and hopefully meet strangers. You can exchange opinions with strangers and friends with no fear or favor, and it’s somewhere where you are welcome and can exchange your love for your fellow man without fear. There are two characters towards the end of this little bit of this song, and they’re two women. One of them is a homeless Black lady who lives in a cardboard box somewhere with a chihuahua. The other younger lady, a Lakota Sioux from North Dakota, sees this lady and decides to cross over and help her. She helps by bringing her to the bar, where we all look after her.”

The first act would also see Pink Floyd classics like “Wish You Were Here” and “Shine of You Crazy Diamond” then close with “Sheep” before the show Intermission.

The second act would be hardest hitting. “Run Like Hell” would shine a light on the terrible story behind Chelsea Manning’s leaked video of an US military attack on Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. It is a hard video to watch telling some awful truths about some of our own in the US military. First it was Roger’s angry response to what happened, and it was also Roger’s plea with the audience to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange set free from prison. “Déjà Vu” would tackle tough issues as well with screens displaying “Fuck the Supreme Court”, “Fuck Drones”, and “Fuck Your Guns”. You could see the last one didn’t sit too well with many in the crowd. Remember he warned you at the start of the show. 

It was Pink Floyd’s ‘Two Suns in the Sunset” along with video animation that hit me the hardest. The video showed a van driving through an area that could be a forested area like we have in the Pacific Northwest. On that road, a van comes to a screeching halt, the driver gets out as he watches in horror as a nuclear bomb mushroom cloud goes up into the sky and now sees the fires of destruction are headed his way. It was a terrifying visual and one that could honestly happen with increased tensions in our world right now especially with Russia and Ukraine, Roger Waters argued that the US specifically Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin need to get together, have real talks, and bring an end to what is going on with Ukraine.

Roger Waters is very passionate about what he believes in. He continues to fight for the human rights of all people in our world and continues to use his musical theater as his way of getting his views through to the people. This Is Not a Drill delivers great music, amazing imagery and a hope for real changes to be made in our world.

Roger Waters
This Is Not a Drill (Tour 2022)
Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
September 10, 2022

Set One
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
The Happiest Days of Our Lives (Pink Floyd)
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 (Pink Floyd)
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3 (Pink Floyd)
The Powers That Be
The Bravery of Being Out of Range
The Bar (new song)
Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX) (Pink Floyd)
Sheep (Pink Floyd)

Set Two
In the Flesh (Pink Floyd)
Run Like Hell (Pink Floyd)
Déjà Vu
Déjà Vu (Reprise)
Is This the Life We Really Want?
Money (Pink Floyd)
Us and Them (Pink Floyd)
Any Colour You Like (Pink Floyd)
Brain Damage (Pink Floyd)
Eclipse (Pink Floyd)
Two Suns in the Sunset (Pink Floyd)
The Bar (Reprise)
Outside the Wall (Pink Floyd)

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