×
Skip to main content

Roger Waters Holds Dress Rehearsal for the Tour of His First Album in 25 Years: See Photos & Details

Roger Waters, the architect behind Pink Floyd's far-reaching sound and vision, invited a cadre of friends and family on Sunday (May 21) to witness a dress rehearsal for his upcoming "Us & Them" tour…

Roger Waters, the architect behind Pink Floyd’s far-reaching sound and vision for their ’70s commercial peak, invited a cadre of friends and family on Sunday (May 21) to witness a dress rehearsal for his upcoming Us & Them tour. The live dates will come in support of Waters’ first rock album in 25 years, Is This The Life We Really Want?, out June 2.

The audience — which included record label and industry folk, as well as radio contest winners, and filled about one-tenth of the 20,000 capacity of New Jersey’s Meadowlands Arena — were privy to the full, two-hours-plus Waters show that launches May 26 in Kansas City, MO.

Roger Waters' Dress Rehearsal for New
Kate Izor

Waters, 73, whiskery and compelling, may be British-born, but he’s a universalist humanitarian, who, on his Us & Them tour (its name taken from one of the highlight cuts off Floyd’s 1973 classic LP Dark Side of the Moon) — will make pointed references to America’s current situation. In the rehearsal, he did this in both new songs and classic Floyd tunes: Floyd’s “Pigs (Three Different Kinds),” from 1977’s Animals, pairs up perfectly with a current leader who Waters pictures, particularly the on-point lyrics “Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are.”

The show — trippy, but not just for hippies — is a journey, as is Waters’ wont both solo and as a member of Floyd. But although the group’s vision was best illustrated through hugely successful concept albums (including 1979’s 23x platinum-selling The Wall), the songs easily stand alone as well; or serve as part of the bigger picture Waters has put together with his well-balanced set list.

Roger Waters' Dress Rehearsal for New
Kate Izor
Related

Waters’ six-piece band includes a second bassist, both for accompaniment, and for when the bass-playing frontman plays acoustic guitar or sings without an instrument. New backup singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig — vocalists of NY indie band Lucius, the blonde-be-wigged powerhouses shining in both the solo spotlight and background moments — make for a wonderful new addition. Without spoiler alerts, expect powerful, if simple political moments during “Another Brick in the Wall,” the final song before a 20-minute intermission.

In the rehearsal, Waters performed songs from The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Wish You Were Here and Animals, and even a casual classic rock fan will find much to relate to in his set. His new material, especially “Déjà Vu” (previously titled, pre album-release, as “Lay Down Jerusalem (If I Had Been God)”) and “The Last Refugee,” are particularly potent lyrically, with commensurate visuals that are often painful and beautiful at once.  

Roger Waters' Dress Rehearsal for New
   Kate Izor

The on-and-off rift between Pink Floyd co-founder Waters and guitarist David Gilmour may indeed prevent another Pink Floyd reunion — July 2005’s Live 8 Concert in London’s Hyde Park was the last time Waters reunited with Nick Mason, Rick Wright (who passed away in 2008) and Gilmour. But Waters does a stellar job keeping Floyd’s classic material fresh within the construct of current world events, and this sneak peak augured well for a tour that’s at once politically provocative and musically magical, even if the answer to his album title’s question — Is This the Life We Really Want? — remains ‘no.’