Monday, 14 May 2007

We're All Comfortably Numb


Unlike many of my teenage dreams that have been smashed on the rock of our cruel world, this one came true and not only once but fortunately twice. It was back in 1988 when I first listened to Pink Floyd music and since then their musical talent, Waters’ lyrics-writing professionalism and Gilmour’s warm mellow guitar playing captivated me. For me, listening passionately to PF music is an experience, which dramatically altered my appreciation for Rock music for years to come. May be I am not lucky enough to be one of the 60s or 70s generations who grew up with their music but their pearl albums of the 70s relentlessly and progressively “rock” you to the bone. And that was exactly what happened to me last night at the Earls Court venue when my friend and I went to see Roger Waters live performance. Twelve years ago and at the same venue, PF (Gilmour, Wright and Mason) performed their last infamous PULSE show still remembered for its extraordinary sound and light effects.
The doors opened at 6:00 pm and our seats were in block two, not very far from the stage but unfortunately not right in front of it. We sat there waiting patiently for Roger and the band to start. The stage was already set and all the instruments were ready and plugged. Bob Dylan’s music was filling the venue. on the screen at the back of the stage, a surrealistic picture showing a fifties-style, wooden made radio with big rounded knobs, a bottle of whiskey and ashtray in front of it. A small toy of World War-Two aeroplane was placed over the radio. This picture kept dead silent until around 7:00 pm when some life has been blown into it. Someone is sitting back there smoking but you can’t see anything from him but his hand frequently changing the stations. His cigarette on the ashtray and a smoke-filled air in the room and 50s Rock’n Roll music started playing. Few minutes later it was followed by Jazz. At 7:30pm, everybody in the venue was eagerly expecting Roger Waters and the crew to walk in to the stage. I continued watching the screen behind. The hand moved again and we heard a male voice speaking Dutch I think, and I only understood the words “Radio Luxemburg”. Waters’ fans knew the influence that “Radio Luxumburg”has left on his career as a musician and lyricist when this radio station was launched in early 60s. Waters’ album “Radio K.A.O.S” was to some extent related these memories.
The venue lights faded way, the crowd is silently waiting and gradually the Dutch voice gave the way to a loud opera music and suddenly, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the voice of Roger Waters and the noise of his band blew up the venue and broke the silence of the audience, singing “in the flesh”. Dressed in black with his Richard Gere-look-like face, Waters’ performance on the stage was astounding.
The first set of the show was dedicated to PF works from their heydays in the 70s with only two songs from his solo work. The second song was “Mother” from "the wall” album and featured Katie Kisson’s awesome voice. A flashback into Syd Barrett’s era came with the third song “set the control to the heart of the sun”. Three pearls from their “Wish You Were Here” diamond album followed: Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Have a Cigar and Wish You Were Here, respectively. Until now, the great guitar solos were alternating between two gifted guitarists, Dave Kilminster and Snowy White. However; with “Leaving Beirut” Andy FairweatherLow demonstrated his amazing talent on guitar together with Ian Ritchie on Tenor Sax.
“Southampton Dock” and “Fletcher’s Memorial Home” followed from “The Final Cut” album and again were amazing. The last song in the first set was “Sheeps” from “Animals” and the legendary Floyd’s giant pig was flying above our heads.
Fifteen minutes break separated the first set from “The Dark Side of The Moon” complete album. Nick Mason replaced Graham Broad on the Drums and reminded us of PF original band members. More visual techniques differentiate this show from last year’s Hyde Park one. And for the first time in years, the “Great Gig in the Sky” is performed by one female voice only, rather than the usual three female voices, this time by Carroll Kenyon. Harry Waters, Roger’ son, played Piano at this song and Jon Carin played almost all keyboards through out the second set and was the Lead Vocalist on “Us and Them”. While singing “The Lunatic” the infamous Prism of Light was shining until the end of the album. The encore consisted of three songs from “The Wall”: the Happiest Day of Our Lives, Vera and finally the unforgettable, eternal, mesmerising and magnificent “Comfortably Numb”.
And finally what can I say about last night: Three hours of extraordinary solid Progrock and limitless creative music I have experienced in a “Floyd’s Trip” with Roger Waters. Among many of DSOTM performances, I personally believe this was the “Darkest” and we all left the venue “comfortably numb”.

49 comments:

Konfused Kid said...

you will call me a new fart, but I never ever understood Pink Floyd, After I soaked my Metallica collection with appreciation I tried to dig 'deeper' but I couldn't really appreciate anything Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd ever did. I did appreciate Zeppelin at some points, and some Sabbath songs are okay, but Floyd's music for me was like landscapes that doesn't begin and doesn't end, like something still early in creation. I dont know man...

Oh and welcome to the blogosphere, you missed our radar but i'll add you to the Iraqi Blog Count soon as i can.

Sheko Mako said...

Konfused,

thanx for your comment and thx for adding my my blog to your IBC.

Re. Pink Floyd. it looks like you are more Heavy Metal related and also to some Hard Rockers (Aerosmith and Guns'n Roses)and I am not surprised that you do not like Pink Floyd but I wonder how comes you do not like Black Sabbath. they inspired and actually established the roots of Heavy Metal. all the bands you like (as mentioned in your profile) were inluenced to some extent by Sabbath. Led Zep. are rockers but more Blues oriented especially their early albums but again they are far away from Metallic or Iron Maiden.
Pink Floyd is mainly a Progrock band emerged from the psychedelic scenes of the 60ss. they are pioneers in Concept albums and very long tracks which was something weird at late sixties. Waters' lyrics writing talent is unquestionable and always innovating. they were the first who successfully introduced light shows and sound effects in their works. if you like Progrock and bands like Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Camel, ELP, Gentle Giant...etc. you will definitely love PF but if you are not into Prorock it is very difficult to "digest"

have a good day

Iraqi Mojo said...

I love Pink Floyd. I remember in 1981 riding in my dad's car on our way to school in Mansur my dad liked to play a tape with instrumental music, and one of the songs on there was Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" - an instrumental version. I had no idea at the time that the song is about war!

I will also add you to my blog, if you don't mind. Your response to Omar's post about sectarianism is excellent.

Sheko Mako said...

Iraqi Mojo,
thank you very much for your comment. so we were neighbours one day. I lived in Al-Dawoodi near 14 Ramadhan street. do u remember Aghanina records shop, Amanina and Zahid?
thank you for adding my blog. I will do the same.

Regards

Iraqi Mojo said...

sheko mako, I'm not familiar with those places - last time I was in Baghdad was 1982. We lived in 7ay el Muhendiseen, near shari3 Falastin.

Sorry for the late reply. I got busy and kinda forgot about you:( but I added you to my list of Good Peeps, so I'll be checking you regularly from now on. It will be good to practice reading Arabic here.

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