A Prydonian Review of:
PNC Arts Center
August 6th, 1999
Arriving at the Arts Center we noted that the weather was perfect for an outdoor concert. An almost perfect blue sky made a beautiful backdrop to the recently re-constructed amphitheater.
Our first stop was the shirt vendor. Although high prices were expected, the designs offered were not expected at all. There seemed to be a particular lack of imagination displayed in the merchandise they were selling there. The shirts displayed a silhouette of a pig with "In the Flesh" carved in the side. There were no other choices available, such as what is usually available from a group or performer who has multiple albums out.
I would have expected more designs to be available since this tour was not supporting any specific album.
Proceeding on to our seats, we noted the stage design. When I had heard that the stage show could be "toned down" and that he had said he wasn't going to bring "Mr. Screen" with him, I had no idea that the setup would be so dramatically different.
The design reminded me of a Steely Dan concert I had seen at Madison Square Garden some eight years ago. Roger's stage still had the catwalk he has adopted as a standard for his stage design. The entire backdrop was a silver curtain used for projections (the replacement for the two and a half story round screen usually accompanying him on tour.
The difference was in the three floor lamps and the two sofas on stage. This gave the setup a warm "at home" feel. Roger used these props at various times during the show.
Although announcements were made several times to indicate that the show will begin at 8:30 promptly, the show actually started at 08:40.
Roger being the dramatic person that he is, opened with the second version of "In the Flesh" The line "Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel" A reminder of his status in Pink Floyd. Roger then proceeded on with "The Thin Ice", "Another Brick in the Wall Pt1", "The Happiest Days of Our Lives", "Another Brick In the Wall Pt2", and "Mother" completing the first side of "The Wall".
The next album visited was "The Final Cut" with "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" and "Southampton Dock". Throughout the show a slide presentation was used, again showing how much he had cut the cost of the show down. Although video would have been nice, it also would have distracted the audience from the music. The slides used for the Wall segments were taken from the 1990 Pottsdamer Platz show as well as some true Scarfe material.
We were then treated to two of the tracks from the "Animals" album. "Pigs on the Wing Pt1", and "Dogs". Dogs was played unabridged. During the lengthy keyboard part where the "dogs" are running, Roger and the remainder of the band sat down to play cards.
Roger then went on to play most of the "Wish You Were Here" album. Roger seems to have a need to dedicate a portion of each show to Sydd. This is not a bad thing, although a majority of the crowd doesn't know who Sydd is at this point. The WYWH set started with "Welcome to the Machine". The screen was filled with the all so familiar image of a dinosaur creeping across a desertscape. Following, he went into "Wish you were here" proper. At this point Sydd's image was on the screen amongst a psychedelic lava flow effect.
At the conclusion of WYWH, Roger spoke to the audience. Not that anyone could hear what was being said until the end "This one's for Sydd". The band proceeded to go into an extensive jam of "Shine on you crazy Diamond". This was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening as the musicians proceeded on, completely at ease and enjoying the song to it's fullest. Images of Sydd filled the screen again. Shifting from one picture to another.
During this, members of the audience behind us were "arguing" over what song this might be. There were shouts of "Momentary Lapse of Reason" and then response cries of "Why don't they do "Learning to Fly?" It appears that at this point the audience (completely blasted out of their minds) now thought they were in attendance of a Pink Floyd Concert.
The second half of the show started with a large set from "The Dark Side of the Moon", including "Breathe", "Time", "Breathe (reprise)", a Great Gig Intro, and Money. In my opinion, Roger should not have tempted the audience with the Great gig intro. When the Keyboards skipped to the end of the song, the crowd was obviously not pleased.
They continued the Dark Side with "Brain Damage". As always Roger was dramatic as ever with a cringed look and jumping up and down whilst singing the lines "If the band you're in starts playing different tunes". This won an overwhelming reaction from the audience. Even from those of us who believe that Roger is being petty with his refusal to mend issues between himself and his old bandmates.
After completing "Brain Damage", and "Eclipse" Roger then took the show into his solo work. Performed were "5:06 A.M.", "The Powers That Be", What God Wants, Pt2 "," Perfect Sense Pt1 and Pt2, "It's a Miracle", and "Amused to Death".
The band then took it's bows and left the stage. After a few minutes, they returned to close with "Comfortably Numb" ending the concert at 23:45.
It is interesting to note that it required two lead guitarists to perform music that Gilmour plays with his eyes closed. Although the guitarists accomplished an excellent interpretation of Dave's part, it is worth noting that none were able to produce that crisp clear sound on the breaking point of feedback that has become Dave's signature sound.
Roger, being the main force behind the Wall, and shouting the cry of "The audience isn't in touch with us" has really put his foot in it by playing so much Floyd from the beginning of the show. I for one would have loved to hear more of the Roger specific songs, like "IF", "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Grooving Together In A Cave With A Pict". Maybe something off of "More" such as "Cirrus Minor" or "Cymbaline" These are the lost classics that Roger shouldn't shelve. And beyond this there wasn't enough of Roger's solo career played until the end of the evening. The songs chosen for this section really weren't for the audience. It was quite apparent that when the "Amused To Death" set was played, that his spite towards Stanley Kubric was alive and well. (At the close of the show, whilst the audience waited for the Encore, a scene from 2001, A Space Oddessy was displayed on the screen and Monitors. This of course referencing Stanley's refusal to let Roger use a sound bite from the movie (see: hidden messages))
- Stephen Reinen