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

IN THE FLESH (DVD)

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

4.30 | 151 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Rites of passage

Let me get the cynicism out of the way early on (unlike Roger who has made a career of it!), as this is an excellent DVD. This is Waters Rites of passage, he is reclaiming his Pink Floyd heritage, he is finally shrugging his shoulders and adopting an if you can't beat them join them philosophy.

"In the flesh" is by and large a rendition of Pink Floyd classics. Yes, 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. There is of course no sign whatsoever of any of the band members other than Waters. While Roger 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 is "comfortably numb". Little room is found for improvisation or interpretation, the renditions are note-perfect and entirely faithful. In the credits, Waters even lists himself alphabetically, appearing second to last.

As I said, I wanted to get that cynicism out of the way early on, as this is a wonderful 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. The latter does a reasonable mini-me behind Waters on occasions, his neat grey suit giving him the appearance of the tour bank manager.

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. For example, during the opening sequence to "Time", he plays out the ticking clock on his bass, leaving the songs defining bass sequence to the keyboards.

Vocally, Waters sensibly relies heavily on the talents of his band, special mention being warranted for PP Arnold (looking younger than ever), 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. Indeed, on the bonus documentary, Fairweather-Lowe mischievously observes that "as if things were not complicated enough, he (Waters) throws in a new song".

In all, the performance lasts for a little under two and a half hours, incorporating some 24 songs. The light show and visual effects are to Pink Floyd standards. The DVD offers 5.1 surround sound and some nice extras, only the packaging is rather perfunctory.

In all, an excellent experience, this tribute band should go far.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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