Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pigs Can Fly

The final show of the Desert Trip spectacular was Roger Waters' new Pink Floyd tribute band delving deep into the repertoire and bringing out a monster show... spiced of course with plenty of political angst.

RW was effectively kicked out of the Pink Floyd because he became overbearingly focused on war and alienation from his audience.  His dad had been killed at Anzio in WWII and he forever dug it up from about Wish You Were Here onwards.  The madness and alienation bit came I suppose from PF founder member Syd Barrett and was taken onwards to the point where RW combined the two in The Wall -- building a wall between the band and audience.  I'd seen RW's production of The Wall in 2011 on a couple of occasions and the political posturing and nonsense almost overturned the terrific show and one thing I do have to say is that his shows were/are/will be terrific.

As a random choice, here is the original band doing Green is the Colour, a lovely tune from More.

I'd seen the PF for the first time in I think 1972 or 1973 at the Empire Pool Wembley, a concert the music reviewers of the time really had little positive to say other than talk about Dave Gilmour's split ends ("for goodness sake, he could have washed his hair at least") but like so many others I didn't care about any of that, I just thought the music was fantastic -- this show was Dark Side and earlier tunes finishing with an immense version of Echoes.  Later shows I went to showcased the 3 core tunes that made up Wish You Were Here and Animals and of course all the later shows too up to and including The Wall when really annoyingly I lost by damn ticket a couple of days before the show at Earls Court and found it 2 days later!!  Aaagh!  Cost me 3 quid as well.

So all this said, I am a big fan.  I don't much care that they all fell out and went their own separate ways.  I also don't much care if they subsequently said they thought Atom Heart Mother and Umma Gumma were terrible albums too -- I loved them both as most likely did their army of fans many of whom were at Desert Trip tonight.  It was the music I was there for and not the other nonsense and I think that was what all real fans felt.

I was reading an article the other day that related that at the Live8 show when the originals reunited briefly that the PF were the only band to not be specifically announced.  The pulsing sound of 'Speak to Me' was all that was needed.  So it was here at Desert Trip although it was accompanied by a light and sound show...
The big question was what would the setlist look like?  How much attention would be paid to Rick Wright, the keyboard player, who RW fired for not pulling his weight given that it was very much Rick Wright's keyboard noodlings that started it all off back in the late 1960's?

Homage to the original Fab 5 -- including Syd, briefly
The answer was in the setlist and what a setlist it was.

1. Speak to me
2. Breathe
3. Set the controls for the heart of the sun
4. Time
5. Great gig in the sky
6. Money
7. Us and them
8. Fearless (Whoa!)
9. Shine on you crazy diamond
10. Welcome to the machine
11. Have a cigar
12. Wish you were here
13. Pigs on the wing
14. Dogs
15. Pigs
16. The happiest days of our lives
17. Another brick in the wall
18. Mother
19. Run like hell
20. Brain Damage
21. Eclipse
22. Poem by RW (that didn’t rhyme)
23. Vera
24. Bring the boys back home
25. Comfortably numb

Essentially 3/4 of the set was laced with keyboard intense stuff that Rick Wright was so good at which was very nice to see and hear.  I was really happy to hear Set the Controls played live and also surprised to see Fearless -- not one I expected at all.  This setlist was copied from but I don't think it is completely correct as I am pretty sure they also played One of These Days I'm Going to Cut You Into Little Pieces, an instrumental off Meddle.  But maybe that was my faulty memory.

For the Animals section, the backdrop was an awesome version of Battersea Power Station and the famous pig flew that night too (not the next week apparently as it was too windy) with a happy little honorific for Donald Trump painted on the side.  From this part on the politics stuff started.

The image of Battersea Power Station was fantastic.  One of the reviews didn't know what that industrial building was and had to be informed by a PF nerd... such is the quality of journalism these days.

Here comes the pig!

As I said before I'm not a fan of all that nonsense.  Why stuff your views down other people's throats... particularly when you are not a citizen of that country too?  Why should I care what you do and don't believe?  Why should you take this forum when the audience have paid a total fortune for their tickets to drone on and on and on about something that bugs you... particularly since in return you want to build a wall between yourself and your audience and thereby prevent them from reciprocating?  That's incredibly arrogant and presumptuous, but having said that the pig was pretty cool! And the music was great.  Not too much improvisation though. 

It was a long show and given that the Who started earlier than expected around 6.15 pm, this was another late one!  

I did say 'Cool Pig' earlier, didn't I?  Great show though.

As a footnote, since returning home all I have been listening to is The Who and PF in all their various incarnations!

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