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Roger Waters Announces Us + Them Tour Dates for 2017

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip
Roger Waters performs during Desert Trip at The Empire Polo Club on Oct. 9, 2016 in Indio, Calif.

The classic Pink Floyd song “Us and Them” is about the haves versus the have-nots. Ironically or otherwise, Roger Waters may divide fans into just those two categories when tickets go on sale next week for his 2017 Us + Them tour of North American arenas. It’s his first tour not themed around a specific Pink Floyd album since the early 2000s, and follows a few years on the heels of his three-year Wall trek, which went down as the most successful tour by a solo artist in touring history.

Waters plays the second of two shows at the Desert Trip festival this Sunday, and a credit card presale for next year’s tour goes up the following day, with tickets going on sale to the general public a few days later, on Oct. 21. Us + Them is scheduled to begin May 26 in St. Louis and wrap up next Oct. 28 in Vancouver, covering more than 40 dates in 36 cities. Although no overseas concerts have yet been announced, ultimately, Waters tells Billboard, “we’re gonna do nearly 200 shows all over the world with the new show.”

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Waters’ first set at Desert Trip was heralded by many attendees as the highlight of a three-day jam that had such non-slouches as Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones for competition. But while it might be tempting to imagine his massive Indio gigs (and a trio of dates in Mexico City that preceded them) as a dry run for the Us + Them tour, he says this fleeting desert stand truly is a one-off, and the tour that begins next May will be substantially if not completely different.

“My plan absolutely is to move on,” Waters tells Billboard. “I’ve got a lot to say, and I’ve got a huge amount of material. I’ve got a whole new record [coming out next year]. Obviously I won’t play the whole new record live, but I will definitely be playing some of the music of it. This Desert Trip thing I accepted given the way the weekend was planned, which was sort of Rolling Stones/Beatles/Pink Floyd, and I thought, well, if I’m being given the mantle of Pink Floyd, it behooves me to take a good, strong, long, loving, nostalgic look at the work that David and Rick and Nick and Syd and I did together between 1967 and 1982. I think it’s a great body of work, and I was just happy to use this weekend to tip my hat to them and to that band. But moving on, we’ve got to save the world, man!” he laughs.

That’s not to say that his vision of moving on means foregoing vintage material in the Us + Them show. The fact that the tour is named after a Floyd song and not one of the new ones is testament to that. The balance between old and new material in next year’s set will be “most likely 80/20, I would think,” Waters says. “You know, if people are going to come see me in arenas or stadiums from Shreveport, Louisiana to Shanghai, China, and if I want them to listen carefully to what I have to say, and I do, I think it is absolutely essential that I give them a lot of songs that they recognize. And the fact is, because, whether it’s new material or from my solo career – from Amused to Death or Radio KAOS or Pros and Cons (of Hitchhiking) – or whether it’s anything from the records that I did in Pink Floyd, there is a general thread running through it. My basic ethos and philosophy hasn’t changed at all over the years.  So it doesn’t matter which bits of my career the songs come from. They’re still me telling my truth.”

And what truth will that be? “The new show’s going to be called ‘Us + Them’ because it’s really specifically about the line from this 1973 song ‘Us and Them’ that goes ‘With, without/And who’ll deny that’s what the fighting’s all about.’ Because the main message that I have to propagate, if I can, is embodied in the (concept) that the idea of perpetual war, which has been embraced by the neocons particularly in the United States of America, is an entirely wrong way for the human race to live… There’s a different way of organizing the human race that is better than this way. This way is driven by the greed of the few. There is so much money to be made out of killing people, and incarcerating people as well, that it’s a good model for people who are emotionally dead — like Donald Trump, for instance.”

Waters says that although the upcoming album — due to be his first rock studio album since 1992’s Amused to Death — is still well short of completion, he expects to have it in fans’ hands before the tour begins in May. He’s been working in L.A. with producer Nigel Godrich, of Radiohead collaborating fame.

A near-complete list of dates follows (with shows in San Antonio and Winnipeg set to be announced later). Watch Billboard for a complete Q&A with Waters that will cover how he put together his Desert Trip shows and the even stronger statement about Trump that he wanted to say before he put a check on himself.

Waters’ “Us + Them” 2017 North American dates:

May 26           Kansas City, MO        Sprint Center

May 28           Louisville, KY             KFC Yum! Center

May 30           St. Louis, MO              Scottrade Center

June 1                         Tulsa, OK                    BOK Center

June 3             Denver, CO                 Pepsi Center

June 7             San Jose, CA               SAP Center at San Jose

June 12                      Sacramento, CA         Golden 1 Center

June 14                      Phoenix, AZ                Gila River Arena

June 16                      Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena

June 20                      Los Angeles, CA          STAPLES Center

June 21                      Los Angeles, CA          STAPLES Center

June 24                      Seattle, WA                 Tacoma Dome

July 3              Dallas, TX                   American Airlines Center

July 6              Houston, TX               Toyota Center

July 11                        Tampa, FL                  Amalie Arena

July 13                        Miami, FL                    American Airlines Arena

July 16                        Atlanta, GA                 Infinite Energy Arena

July 18                        Greensboro, NC          Greensboro Coliseum

July 20                        Columbus, OH            Nationwide Arena

July 22                        Chicago, IL                  United Center

July 23                        Chicago, IL                  United Center

July 26                        St. Paul, MN                Xcel Energy Center

August 2                     Detroit, MI                  The Palace of Auburn Hills

August 4                     Washington, DC         Verizon Center

August 8                     Philadelphia, PA        Wells Fargo Center

August 9                     Philadelphia, PA        Wells Fargo Center

Sept. 7                        Newark, NJ                 Prudential Center

Sept. 11                      Brooklyn, NY              Barclays Center

Sept. 12                      Brooklyn, NY              Barclays Center

Sept. 15                      Uniondale, NY            Nassau Coliseum

Sept. 19                      Pittsburgh, PA                       PPG Paints Arena     

Sept. 27           Boston, MA                TD Garden

Sept. 28                      Boston, MA                 TD Garden

Oct. 2              Toronto, ON               Air Canada Centre

Oct. 3              Toronto, ON               Air Canada Centre

Oct. 6              Quebec City, QC         Videotron Centre

Oct. 10                        Ottawa, ON                 Canadian Tire Centre

Oct. 16                        Montreal, QC              Bell Centre

Oct. 24                        Edmonton, AB            Rogers Place

Oct. 28                        Vancouver, BC           Rogers Arena