Roger Waters closed the first weekend of the much ballyhooed Desert Trip festival in Indio, California, Sunday night following a powerful opening set by The Who. Waters hit the stage to perform a number of Pink Floyd cuts that deviated from his tours in recent years. For the better part of the past decade, Waters has hit the road with The Wall in tow, and his iconic album has served him well. He played those tunes here, as well as tracks from The Dark Side of the Moon, but for this one, he also dug deeper.
Related: Waters announces 2017 tour
Waters’ set featured a number of Pink Floyd rarities, eliciting loud cheers from longtime fans who likely never expected to hear some of this material performed live. He used the occasion to make several statements: During “Fearless,” in particular, Waters displayed images related to Ferguson and Gaza, stating, “We are human.” Whether or not you agree with the intricacies of his politics — and many at the show did not — at least the bassist spoke up, making his comments at the same time that the second Clinton-Trump debate was taking place in St. Louis.
Along with rarities like “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” from 1968’s Floyd album A Saucerful of Secrets, and “One of These Days,” from 1971’s Meddle (more closely associated with guitarist David Gilmour’s post-Floyd outfit), Waters dug even deeper into his bag of tricks for an array of songs from 1977’s Animals. In the post-breakup era, these songs have largely been neglected by Waters.
Watch Roger Waters perform “Another Brick in the Wall” at Desert Trip
Unsurprisingly, Waters went after Donald Trump, alluded to in the use of Floyd’s famous inflatable pig and images projected on the background screen. The message was loud and clear: to say that Waters doesn’t like Trump would be a major understatement. Words like “pig,” “coward,” “racist” and “sexist” were displayed on the pig and others were flashed on screen.
Waters played his prog-informed songs with a sense of urgency that probably comes from not having dipped into that part of his catalog in years. That and channeling the smokestacks from the Animals album’s cover certainly helped crank things up a notch: Love him or hate him, Roger Waters will always have something to say. As he closed out the first weekend of Desert Trip (the same program will be repeated next weekend), his words and display managed to impact the crowd in a fashion that will resonate for some time.
Roger Waters Setlist
Speak to Me
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
One of These Days
The Great Gig in the Sky
Us and Them
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
Welcome to the Machine
Have a Cigar
Wish You Were Here
Pigs on the Wing 1
Pigs on the Wing 2
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Why Cannot the Good Prevail (a poem by Roger Waters)
Vera (Acoustic version)
Bring the Boys Back Home (Acoustic version)
Watch Roger Waters perform “Comfortably Numb” at the 2016 Desert Trip festival in California
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