Roger Waters Brings Pink Floyd Music to 2016 Desert Trip

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Roger Waters at Desert Trip, October 9, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip)

Roger Waters at Desert Trip, October 9, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip)

Roger Waters closed the first weekend of the much ballyhooed Desert Trip festival in Indio, Calif., on Sunday night, October 9, 2016, 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.

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.

Related: Our Desert Trip reviews of the Rolling StonesPaul McCartneyNeil Young and Bob Dylan

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.

Watch him perform the title cut from Wish You Were Here

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 performs during Desert Trip in Indio, California, oct. 9, 2016 (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip)

Roger Waters (center) performs during Desert Trip in Indio, California, Oct. 9, 2016 (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip)

Roger Waters Setlist
Speak to Me
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
One of These Days
Breathe (Reprise)
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
Brain Damage
Why Cannot the Good Prevail (a poem by Roger Waters)
Vera (Acoustic version)
Bring the Boys Back Home (Acoustic version)
Comfortably Numb

 Watch Roger Waters perform “Comfortably Numb” at Desert Trip

Waters was forced to postpone his most recent tour, due to the pandemic. It’s been rescheduled to begin in 2022; tickets are available here and here.

Daniel Kohn

2 Comments so far

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  1. Phil
    #1 Phil 10 October, 2016, 19:20

    Gilmour’s voice and guitar are sorely missing.

    Reply this comment
    • BigT
      BigT 10 October, 2016, 21:47

      Totally agree brother. Both Waters and the other guy singing Money sound terrible. Waters may have been the mastermind behind many of the album concepts and songwriting, but without Gilmour’s soulful voice and bluesy guitar, he just sounds pathetic.

      Reply this comment

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