Roger Waters ”This Is Not A Drill” Tour @Scotia Bank Arena – Fri., July 8th, 2022
It was a Friday night in Toronto with multiple choices of live music in the city. We had the privilege to attend Roger Waters, ”This Is Not A Drill” concert. The event ran a bit late because of the tight security checking in concert attendees. After a 45 minute delay, the much anticipated show commenced.
The welcoming message to the audience stated, “If you’re one of those ‘I love Pink Floyd, but I can’t stand Roger’s politics’ people you might do well to fuck off to the bar right now,” broadcast across the PA and on LED screens. The four corner LED screen made it a great visual spectacle.
The concert set up was, ”in-the-round” with 4 ”cat walks” which commenced with one of Roger Waters’ biggest Pink Floyd songs, “Comfortably Numb” A lot of dark lighting and a gigantic perpendicular wall with imagery filling the stage coinciding with the song.
The helicopter sound effects blasting from the surround-sound speakers, the wall then lifted and turned into four gigantic video screens as Roger Waters emerged, and the band played some of their iconic tunes “Happiest Days of Our Lives,” “Another Brick in The Wall, Part II” and “Another Brick in The Wall, Part III,” a fan favourite from the Pink Floyd masterpiece, “The Wall.”
“This Is Not a Drill” is a direct response to everything that’s crazy in the world in recent years. Waters — the writer who wrote Wish You Were Here, penned the Orwellian tribute of Animals, and developed the landmark concept album, The Wall. There’s plenty to be concerned about in this chaotic earth, Waters addressed everything from abortion rights to transphobia to America’s rampant and storied war crimes.
Water has distanced himself from Pink Floyd, as he mentioned to crowd, “when i used to be in that other band”, the live show is still very much Pink Floyd’s style and it’s built a reputation for elaborate and immersive live performances, Waters and his crew have developed a uniquely memorable experience. Relying heavily on an enormous cross-shaped divider capable of splitting the multi-directional stage into four different panels, the crew had 12 different surfaces for projected images.
During “Wish You Were Here,” a typed story appeared on the enormous screens, detailing a memory of Waters and his old friend and former bandmate, Syd Barrett. As Waters reminisces, he and Barrett promised to start a band when they went to college, and then Syd’s mental health rapidly declined. It was an emotional flashback, and it helped “Wish You Were Here” provide the same heartbreaking story it first landed in 1975.
After a 20-minute intermission, the second half was still spectacular. The lighting was more complex, the famous pig floated around for a couple of songs. The show concluded on a much softer note, after the crescendos of The Dark Side of The Moon’s “Eclipse” and the depressing Doomsday Clock-inspired “Two Suns in the Sunset,” Waters’ face filled the enormous screens as he once again stepped behind the keyboard.
Waters explained the backstory for “Sad Old Lady,” an original track heavily inspired by an old Bob Dylan tune. As the song eventually wound down, the entire band lined up, still playing their instruments, and marched off stage.
Despite all the moral outrage and social frustration that propel “This Is Not a Drill” forward, we watched as the cameras followed the band down the stage steps, through the crowd, and into the backstage, where the band circled around Waters. With one wave goodbye from Waters, the camera cut off and the house lights went up. No clique encore, and the second show in Toronto will be on Saturday night.
The stage set up for This Is Not A Drill featured Roger Waters and his band:
Jonathan Wilson (guitar), Robert Walter (keyboards), Jon Carin (keyboards), Joey Waronker (drums), Gus Seyffert (bass), Seamus Blake (saxophone) and Dave Kilminster (guitar) in addition to backing vocalists Amanda Belair and Shanay Johnson—performing in the round
The Set List:
The Bravery of Being Out of Range(Roger on piano)
The Bar(Roger on piano)
Is This the Life We Really Want?(Roger on piano)
The Bar (Reprise)(Roger on piano)
We would like to thank FRAN DEFEO PR and Cristina Parvu, R&CPMK for the invitation to this event.