Roger Waters makes pigs fly in DC

The Pink Floyd frontman wows with large-scale arena show

Thank fuck I’m not with the Washington Post.

Roger Waters singled out the paper — and it’s ultra-rich owner Jeff Bezos — as one unwelcome at his theatrical This is Not a Drill Tour in Washington, DC Tuesday night (Aug 18th).

The show at Capital One Arena was equal parts political message and autobiographical retrospective. I’ll leave the political analysis to journalists more estate than I. But allow me to offer this: no side is safe. Waters’ multimedia show takes aim at all sides. From a pig giving the middle finger to a call for human rights, Waters covered wide ground with displays that give deeper meaning to each song.

And the stage setup is a massive and beautiful construction. Set in a cross-shape in the center of the arena, it is capped off my a massive screen that raises only 10 feet above platform level. The height — or rather, lack there of — made the in-the-round performance more intimate. This mixed with the spectacle of Water’s immersive stage show to offer an evening of grandeur. And of course, a certain pink porker pops up.

To say anymore about what can be expected from the sheer scale of this show would spoil breathtaking moments for those planning to attend. The show takes 140 touring crew and 120 local crew to set up in each city. Oh, and “This is Not a Drill” holds more importance than you might at first think.

The music was, of course, heavy on Pink Floyd. Waters offered fans everything they could hope for. Parts 2 and 3 of “Another Brick in the Wall” were offered early. “Money” was a fan-favorite slapped in the middle of the second half. And “Wish You We’re Here” paid touching tribute to the late Syd Barrett, Waters best friend and Pink Floyd co-founder.

“Eclipse” stole the show with musical and visual magic that must be experienced to be believed. Water’s band was large but in sync, flying across the complex prog rock instrumentation with deceptive ease. They all, including Waters, wore all black — as if mourning for the a lost world that the progressive rock god himself longs for through his artistry.

Roger Waters is not an artist for the crowd that believes musicians should “shut up and sing.” Quite the opposite. But his fans know that. And for the uninitiated, he cheekily warns his audience of possible impending offense early on.

It’s clear that Waters will continue to sing the songs from his prolific songbook until the world is as ideal as he intones it to be. And hopefully that happens before pigs really can fly.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.