In (kinda), and In The Flesh (maybe)

>> Sunday, April 13, 2008

I decided I didn't feel like walking up the street for brunch and coffee today.

One reason for that is I got to a late start because I decided to go ahead and watch Roger Waters's In The Flesh, a DVD I recently rented from CafeDVD. I've sort of put off renting this because while I've felt obligated to give it a shot since Pink Floyd's Live8 reunion in 2005, I'm also not really a Roger Waters fan. Roger Waters without Pink Floyd is a helluva lot less interesting than Pink Floyd without Roger Waters: The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking is an abysmally bad record, Radio KAOS is better but still mediocre, and Amused To Death is... well... actually, it's an album I don't own and never listened to because I was so burned by The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking and Radio KAOS (fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fuck you and your third album).

Anyway, In The Flesh isn't a bad show. It's not a particularly good one either. I know, I'm not really unbiased. But I actually did use the bathroom without pausing it and wandered downstairs at one point to grab my wallet and checkbook so I could balance my checking account. In some respects, Flesh is a pleasure: Waters has removed the stick from his ass and seems to be having fun in front of a crowd, his backing band (particularly Andy Fairweather-Low, Jon Carin and Graham Broad) is excellent, and it's a good setlist. Several songs--"Shine On You Crazy Diamond," "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun," "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range" and "Each Small Candle"--are well-rendered. Other songs drag, however, and effects are used to rather little... effect. For some reason, Waters decided to project slides behind the stage in lieu of the films and inflatables associated with Floyd and Waters shows; sadly and predictably, pictures of giant pigs and frighteningly overprotective matrons aren't nearly as impressive as something bobbing menacingly over the stage or audience, nor are slides of a chrome dinosaur-cockroach stalking the viewer or of a reactor cooling tower cracking and spilling blood as ominous as Gerald Scarfe's original animation.

And the thing about that is the visuals aren't really necessary when the music strong--David Gilmour eschewed projections and props in his Meltdown and On An Island shows, and you don't particularly notice they're missing. Waters, for his part, is an engaging enough performer pacing the front of the stage and interacting with the crowd that he might have trusted himself and his band to carry the show without the need for half a lightshow.

But then this is another problem with Waters that he hasn't shaken--that he's an overly literal kind of guy who has trouble trusting the audience to get it and to have a good time. Take The Wall, for instance--one of the problems with The Wall is that "the wall" isn't a metaphor at all, although it's usually described as one. No, really "the wall" is a kind of concrete image that Waters wants to impress on the audience--hence the physical wall that was built on the stage during The Wall concerts in '80-'81 and in Berlin in 1990, and the imagery of the movie Pink Floyd--The Wall. The wall isn't a representation, it's a thing or a picture of a thing. Waters wasn't really saying it was like there was a wall between himself and Pink Floyd's audience--he was saying there was a barrier between them and it might as well be made of cinderblocks, too. At the beginning of the 1970s, Pink Floyd could represent the concept of dying with a film of a man surfing; a decade later, the Floyd would be smushing everyone's face into Hey, look! A big fat wall that represents a wall! That was 100% Roger Waters.

So anyway, that's how my morning was spent. Then I made brunch for myself, but my omelet turned out badly. My egg, mushroom, shrimp, cheese and chorizo concoction was extremely tasty, but it was not pretty.

And now I'm going to see if I can actually write anything before perhaps hanging out with a buddy this afternoon. Have a happy Sunday, folks.


Câmera Digital Monday, April 14, 2008 at 2:59:00 PM EDT  

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