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review added: 7/10/02



Roger Waters: In the Flesh - Live
2000 (2001) - Columbia Music Video (Sony Music)

review by Matt Rowe of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Roger Waters: In the Flesh - Live Program Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A-/C

Specs and Features

170 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1:78:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at ???), Amaray keep case packaging, Gearing Up behind-the-scenes documentary, band biographies, photo gallery (46 photos), Technical Sound Set-Up Utility, program themed menu screens, song access (24 tracks see track listing below), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0 PCM Stereo), subtitles: English


"Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?"

That lyric is derived from one of Pink Floyd's most endearing album Wish You Were Here. There were other spectacular, and no less engaging, albums in their long and tumultuous career but none asked the question more directly. The question, 'which one's Pink', has been bandied about for years. Ask any fan and you're liable to get different answers. This brings us to Roger Waters' DVD offering, In the Flesh - Live. Recorded during Waters highly anticipated and critically acclaimed tour from 1999-2000, which also yielded a live CD set, we get a greatly inspired and incredibly produced concert event. Roger Waters, arguably the greatest philosophical lyricist in rock's history, with apologies to Dylan fans, have visited depths of insanity, loneliness, disillusionment, religious discontent and fear. Fear of control, fear of death, fear of misguided intentions all make for very compelling visitation upon our own hearts. This is where Waters succeed. He displays all this dismay and confusion that we suffer but don't let out for perceptive review and brings them out for us to look at like children in a psychotic zoo of horrors.

Taken from the June 27th, 2000 show in the Rose Garden Arena at Portland Oregon, this disc presents Waters and his very able band performing songs that reach back into the early days of Pink Floyd with "Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun" from Saucerful of Secrets, inching forward through material from Pink Floyd's most successful period, notably Dark Side of the Moon through Waters' last album with the band, Final Cut, while beautifully embroidering his solo work into that vast tapestry. Waters, a consummate showman whose reputation for perfection is legendary and on show for all to see in this disc, has crafted a show almost as entertaining as those of his pre-solo days. You have all the elements of a Pink Floyd show, slyly hinted at during the beginning song by his mentioning that "Pink" was sick and stayed back but sent him to perform in their stead. There are props galore. Psychedelic and undulating backdrops reminiscent of days gone past, exaggerated cartoon characters and acted out scenes, all designed to stimulate the imagination. And this experience is important to the success of the show. Without it you may find yourself scratching your head, wondering just what in the hell is he saying.

The concert is a very laid back performance. The crowd in the front is a very subdued one. This is no raucous, drugged out gig. In fact, the audience seems to be in touch with what is going on. You never realize the vastness of the show until later when the camera pulls back, revealing a much larger venue filled with fans. The cameras are well placed, filming each member of the band in a protracted method rather than the machine gun style utilized by videos. When we get a guitar spot, we get to watch it for a bit, enjoying the finger style of the musician. We get to see lingering footage of the backup singers, the drummer and bassist. We can concentrate on the delivery of words as expressed by Roger Waters. All of this deliberate focus makes for a very satisfying viewing experience.

The band fielded by Roger Waters for this tour is capable. In many cases, while not a replacement for Pink Floyd in reality, you become so awed by the performances of the many musicians that comprise this group that you forget this isn't Pink Floyd. Andy Fairweather Low, who has played with Eric Clapton in the past, is so fitted into the organics of this band that it's hard to realize that he wasn't part of Pink Floyd to begin with. Doyle Bramhall III, the solo blues/rock guitarist dishes out excellent David Gilmour licks and John Carin, a keyboardist/guitarist who, ironically did extensive keyboard work with Gilmour's Pink Floyd for two post-Waters albums. Carin is so trusted here that he takes on the vocals for "Dogs". Graham Broad, Andy Wallace and Snowy White round out the band, while the incredible trio of female backups, Katie Kissoon, Susannah Melvoin and P. P. Arnold complete the lineup. I don't make the argument that two Pink Floyds can exist simultaneously. Rather, I conclude that Roger Waters is the heart and soul and whatever else you want to call him of Pink Floyd.

The selection of songs here are priceless. The performance of those songs as detailed below in the listing is lovingly and skillfully executed. Every song that endeared you to Pink Floyd and Roger Waters are here replicated incredibly. And this is just the concert. There is other material on the disc. There is a "30-minute" documentary called Gearing Up which showcases a rehearsal for the show that you see on this DVD. It's interesting to watch but not extraordinary. You do get to watch Waters direct the band to create the magic that will eventually happen onstage. The film intersperses the rehearsal with scenes of conversation between the band and scenes of relaxing moments and ends with a clever poke at the money aspects of the show. Although the listed length of this documentary is 30 minutes on the front of the case, in actuality, it's just slightly over 17 minutes. Even with the typo, Gearing Up is an apt addition to an already great package. Also included are decent band biographies and an interesting batch of stills, (46 in all) which capture every element of the show. You'll also find a Technical Sound System Set-Up Guide, which allows you place your speakers correctly, by way of sound pointers - Pink Noise!

The disc is presented in an anamorphic display which serves to make an already great disc an even better one. The show was filmed in High Definition. The sweeps of the camera are slow and engaging, allowing you to really watch the performance. The sound is delivered by either 5.1 Dolby Digital or Surround Encoded PCM Stereo and let me tell you, the sound distribution is right on. You hear sounds, the audience, members of the band, as if you were the camera, moving from point to point. This disc is how concert discs should be filmed and presented. The missing elements, which should be standard for all music DVDs, are discographies, and lyric content. Although the case lists lyrics as part of the package, I've yet to find them. As a CD reviewer for MusicTAP, lyric inclusion is one of the 'must have' components of any release.

This disc is an excellent buy. It provides you with more than 150 minutes of expertly filmed, high-powered concert footage. The disc contains 24 songs and may end up being one of your favorites. It sure is one of mine. This ain't no surrogate band. I think I now know who Pink really is.

Matt Rowe
mattrowe@thedigitalbits.com
Visit Matt Rowe's MusicTAP ------ Music Flows There!


Track Listing:

In the Flesh
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2
Mother
Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
Southampton Dock
Pigs on the Wing, Pt. 1
Dogs
Welcome to the Machine
Wish You Were Here
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-8)
Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun
Breathe (In the Air)
Time
Money
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Pt. 11 (AKA 5:06am Every Stranger's Eye)
Perfect Sense (Parts I and II)
The Bravery of Being Out of Range
It's a Miracle
Amused to Death
Brain Damage
Eclipse
Comfortably Numb
Each Small Candle




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