Roger Waters concert in Phoenix in 2022 linked Pink Floyd and politics

There are those among us who believe that the stage is not the place where artists can share their political opinions. A Roger Waters concert is the last place you should venture if that’s how you feel.

Fans entering the Pink Floyd bassist’s This is Not a Drill Tour in Glendale on Monday, October 3, were greeted by a woman handing out stickers that read ‘US militarism fuels the climate crisis’.

Right behind her, two men were encouraging people to sign a petition to stop the US extradition of Julian Assange. A banner at their table read “Free Assange” and depicted the WikiLeaks founder muzzled by an American flag.

It was the type of greeting you would expect if you has followed Waters with one eye since the 1970s.

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“If you’re one of those people who ‘I love Pink Floyd but I can’t stand Roger’s politics’, you might as well go (expletive) to the bar right now,” he announced. in a video message just before taking The Stage. Hilarious but wise advice.

Roger Waters performs 'The Happiest Days of Our Lives' and 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2' during his This Is Not A Drill Tour at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Monday, October 3, 2022.

This is a man whose greatest works include a conceptual treatise on capitalism loosely based on George Orwell’s satirical fairy tale, “Animal Farm”, dividing mankind into three groups – power-hungry pigs, conniving dogs and easily handled sheep.

I love this album.

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A set list interspersed with political statements

It’s rare to see a concert as politically engaged as Waters at the recently renamed Desert Diamond Arena, which unfortunately was only temporarily renamed Shine on You Crazy Desert Diamond Arena in this review.

As the 78-year-old musician led his band in ‘Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2’, the words ‘control the narrative, rule the world’ and ‘propaganda’ scrolled across the screen behind him.

“The Bravery of Being Out of Reach” was introduced by the video of Ronald Reagan’s farewell speech, superimposed with the caption “War Criminal: Killed 30,000 Innocents in Guatemala”.

And before laying out your “liberal elite” grievances, he then applied the same charges to every US president since Reagan, from George HW Bush (“the road to Basra”) to Joe Biden (“it’s only just begun …”).

Roger Waters Preforms "The best days of our life" and "Another brick in the wall part 2" during his This Is Not A Drill Tour at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Monday, October 3, 2022.

There were video tributes to the victims of police brutality, calls to free Assange, shots fired at the oligarchs and a helpful reminder that “the (expletive) pigs will kill us all” by stepping into the iconic sax of ” Us and them.”

He retreated from an epic sequel to back half classics of “The Dark Side of the Moon” by presenting “Two Suns in the Sunset” as a “pretty dark song” about death in nuclear war.

“And you might be thinking ‘Why is he going to do this? ‘” Waters said in perhaps the concert’s most impassioned rant.

“Well, that’s something we should be thinking about every day because our crazy leaders are drifting in the direction of poking other crazy leaders in the eye with sharp sticks,” he said. “And all these crazy leaders are in charge of extremely dangerous nuclear weapons and they could kill us all in the blink of an eye.”

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The song itself included images of people being vaporized in a nuclear explosion.

Did it feel a little heavy? Yes, of course — as did several moments during Monday’s concert.

It is a heavy vocation, which he took up with conviction.

A Roger Waters fan fist punches the air as he listens and sings the concert at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Monday October 3, 2022.

A message in the context of classic songs

What made the gig so engaging was how he managed to incorporate his thoughts on our crazy leaders into the context of the songs themselves, which sounded great and covered a lot of what your average fan of Pink Floyd might even reasonably expect to see.

From the moment he took the stage, he put the controls at the heart of Pink Floyd’s demographics with a haunting rendition of “Comfortably Numb,” the first of Pink Floyd’s 17 songs in a 24-song set, played against a post-apocalyptic horizon.

He even included a very sweet tribute to the great Syd Barrett on “Wish You Were Here”, during which he recalled their decision to form a band after seeing Gene Vincent in concert, and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, accompanied of the message, “When you lose someone you love, it reminds you that this is not a drill.”

Stripped of any real context, what he did would make for a pretty perfect experience of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits. The fact that it’s so much more than that is what makes Waters’ gigs more relevant than any other artist of his generation.

The production was spectacular – cross-haired staging and stunning, sometimes glitchy sound that felt like it could crush you during those nuclear annihilation scenes. And there was a flying pig. But if you’ve ever seen a Roger Waters tour, you knew that.

I may not agree with everything the British rocker has to say. But I totally agree that he should scream all the feelings he has from whatever rooftop an arena tour offers.

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Roger Waters 2022 Tour Setlist

“Comfortably Numb”

“The Happiest Days of Our Lives”

“Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”

“Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3”

“The Powers That Be”

“The Bravery of Being Out of Reach”

“The bar”

“Have a Cigar”

“Wish you were Here”

“Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)”


Set 2:

“In the flesh”

“Run Like Devil”

“Déjà vu”

“Deja Vu (Reprise)”

“Is this the life we ​​really want?”


“Us and Them”

“Any color you like”

“Brain Damage”


“Two Suns at Sunset”

“The Bar (Reprise)”

“Off the Wall”

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Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-4495. Follow him on Twitter @EdMasley.

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