27 May, 2012

IN THE FLESH - Roger Waters (2001)

Although not completely idle through the 90s, Roger Waters was mostly invisible after the release of Amused to Death, with most of that time spent working on Ca Ira.  Then in 1999, without anything to promote, he quietly began touring again.  In the Flesh is taken from the 2000 North American tour, filmed in Portland. 

These were relatively low budget and low key shows.  The stage didn’t even feature video screens, instead using simple projections to illustrate the songs. 

The show begins, appropriately enough with In The Flesh, with Waters standing aloof from the band on a riser behind the drum kit.  This would have been awful if it had continued that way but he comes down to join the rest of the band after the opening number and from that point on, Waters really does tear down the wall.  In the sleeve-notes of the accompanying album, Waters says that he wanted to reconnect with his audience in a way that he hadn’t attempted since the pre-Dark Side days and he achieves this admirably.

The setlist is predominantly arranged by album.  With the exception of the finale of Brain Damage/Eclipse and Comfortably Numb, songs from each album are played together, if not in the original album order.  It’s not a greatest hits show either.  There are two selections from The Final Cut, the entire first side of Animals and most of Wish You Were Here.  Solo material is saved for the second half of the show including a long and powerful selection from Amused to Death.  The encore is a new song, exclusive to this set, called Each Small Candle.

This arena show is about as intimate as any Pink Floyd-related show has ever been and is ever likely to be.  No flying pigs or exploding fighters here.  This is not to say that there isn’t some sense of theatre to the show but for the most part, the music is allowed to stand alone.  In the Flesh may be a rather obvious title for this concert, but it’s also most apt.

Extras are a 17-minute fly on the wall documentary or rehearsals and tour preparation, a photo gallery and band biographies.

Highlight:  Dogs
Feature:  * * * * ½
Extras:  * *
Audio: LPCM Stereo, Dolby 5.1


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