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Roger Waters - In the Flesh - Live CD (album) cover


Roger Waters


Crossover Prog

3.60 | 164 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A fitting tribute

The CD version of "In the flesh" is a straight double CD packaging of the music which appears on the DVD of the same name. The 5.1 surround sound is of course replaced by conventional stereo, but there are no differences in terms of the track order or listing.

"In the flesh" is by and large a rendition of Pink Floyd classics. Space is found for a couple of Waters solo albums, in particular a lengthy extract from "Amused to death" (but notably nothing from "Radio Kaos"), but it the Floydian classics which dominate the performance. The concert (recorded in Portland, Oregon, USA in 2000) took place during the infamous Pink Floyd cold war so there is of course no sign whatsoever of any of the band members other than Waters. While Waters was the writer or co-writer of the material, his contribution to the original performances was largely confined to bass and vocals. He therefore gathers together 6 supremely talented musicians and three female backing vocalists to form what is effectively a top of the range tribute band. This in turn give the performance an air of clinical perfection, indeed it might be described as comfortably numb. Little room is found for improvisation or interpretation, the renditions are note-perfect and entirely faithful.

This is though an inspired statement by Waters. He selects songs from each album and batches them together. Starting with "The wall", which contributes four songs, we visit "The final cut", "Animals", "Wish you were here", "Ummagumma", "Dark side of the moon", "..hitchhiking", and "Amused..". The performances are powerful, and despite what I said earlier, sometime emotional. The under-recognised journeyman Snowy White adds some fine Gilmour like guitar, sharing lead guitar duties with Doyle Bramhall and Andy Fairweather-Lowe.

Waters own contribution to the performance is somewhat understated, being mostly confined to bass and most but by no means all of the lead vocals. Vocally, Waters sensibly relies heavily on the talents of his band, special mention being warranted for PP Arnold, Susannah Melvoin, and the wonderful Katie Kissoon. It is just a pity Roger did not allow "Time" to continue into "Great gig in the sky" where any of the trio could have stolen the show.

The set climaxes predictably but effectively with a return to the "Dark side.." then "Comfortably numb". The closing track, "Each small candle" is a strange choice, as it had not previously appeared on an album

In all, the performance lasts for a little under two and a half hours, incorporating some twenty four songs. Waters skilfully balances the crowd pleasing with his natural inclination to get the message across. While I have no hesitation in recommending the album, the extra dimension offered by the DVD renders it the essential option.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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