stateless: (roger)
[personal profile] stateless
the thing is, roger waters turned his darkness into light.

i could see it before, on the screen from the back of the hollywood bowl, i could see the light on his face, but this time i could feel it. that's what i wanted, to live the show again (because it was the same), but this time to be a part of it. we had the most perfect spot imaginable - second row behind the pit (which was five rows) and to the side, which curved over and happened to be at the end of the stage right where roger spent quite a bit of time. we were raised, above the heads of those in the pit, and had a perfectly clear view. i knew we would be close but i didn't fucking realise.

we ran in (hooray LA traffic), about a mile through the parking lot and the winding road to the actual venue, the three of us split up, me being the only one to make it to our seats before he began singing. red, and a shower of sparks exploding upward with 'in the flesh', roger pointing, snide and cheerful as he spat out the inanities. i stood and stared, a stupid smile on my face, because i could fucking see everything. i could fucking feel it.

i was still smiling when 'mother' began, unable to believe what i was experiencing. "mother, should i trust the government?" in answer to himself, addressing the crowd down to his right, away from the mic: "there's no fucking way." one of the three back-up vocalists stepped forward to sing david's part but i couldn't take my eyes from roger. i was swaying, no one in front of me standing. he looked dead at me, a smile on his face. could he see me? it seemed like he could see me. my smile grew. his smile grew. mine turned to a grin. he grinned. the guitar solo swooped upward, taking pieces of me with it, and my brain said, 'roger waters just smiled at you'. the remaining chunk of me fragmented and turned to liquid.

it hit me during 'set the controls', transfixed by the prowess of one snowy white, that subconsciously his mad digitech wah solo must have been at the root of 'underground'. the sound of it coupled with the vibrations and the sight of the young band on the screen, it was sensory overload. zoo tv? those lads were schooled by this motherfucker. roger lifted his arm and strummed, spinning with it each time, making a slow full circle as he turned. soprano saxophone. scarecrow in a field. his younger self fell back into the tall grass, slow motion, stealing my breath.

with the first notes of 'shine on you crazy diamond', bubbles were released from the top of the stage, a strange sort of mirror for the stars on the screen behind. they fell down into the pit, blew up and over at the band. syd's face, his eyes, black holes in the sky. the volume, the production, how large, how perfect, how all-encompassing.



when i was a kid i never liked 'have a cigar'. i found myself contemplating this after my hiss of 'yesss!' escaped me. certain things maybe you have to be older for. i think this broke the build-up of the first few songs. i think it all started to pour away as i hopped and sang. joy with a slice of vitriol. the synth took over at the end, repeating, repeating, and as it came to a halt the entire band froze.

the hand on the screen turned the radio dial, and my own hand, without thinking, reached for my phone. what have we found? the same old fears. wish you were here.

tiny poppies rained over the candles on the screen, fuck, fuck, the set-up for 'southampton dock'. roger sat, all in black, with his acoustic, also black, and as the ship sailed in the distance of the colourless waters, we mourned. and still the dark stain spreads between his shoulder blades, a mute reminder of the poppy fields and graves. projection of a man in the field (i don't know if this is new or if i was just too far away before), a knife in his fucking back. in the bottom of our hearts we felt the final cut.

the projection behind the stage moved over photographs of hilter, stalin, thatcher, bush, other such figures. roger raised his arms and spoke out. the ghost of mccarthy. toy tanks and soldiers on the floor. two fingers and a thumb, up in the air, then out. "boom boom, bang bang, lie down your dead." again, fitting but ironic, a response of massive cheering to roger's sweep of his arm and the question "are you having a nice time?" it's too heavy for me, the most i can muster in a moment like that is a brief hint of a smile.

his acoustic was taken away, his stool was taken away, he wasn't handed a bass. the low strains of 'perfect sense' filled the air and the astronaut floated slowly down above the band. roger sauntered our way, planting himself on the edge of the stage in front of us. he lifted his hands, playing immaculate air piano, a sly grin on his face, enrapturing us. with flawless timing, his arms went up to mime air bass just at the moment it came in behind him. he was a front man for this song, nothing in the way, all arms and wild gestures, all empathic grunts and howls. PP wailed, soaking up the appreciation at her feet. a beautiful sight, a marvelous sound. "hold on, hold on, soldier." roger moved to the other side and conducted marv albert's voice as the torpedo was launched and the explosion of the oil rig blew us off of the planet. i sang. can't you see? it all makes perfect sense.

he spoke then, his voice gravelly, telling the story of how he hitchiked home from lebanon. 63 and full of rage. i wish my eyeballs were cameras because there were two moments where the speech bubbles behind him lined up perfectly with his body, and with his arm outstretched as it was it was the most brilliant sight. damn you, filmless eyes. andy stepped out of the shadows a played a mindblowing solo, hot as shit, and left me gaping.

dogs barked and i thanked the sky for this man, for his brain and his ears, for 'sheep'. he sang with a backing track of his own voice for added effect, leaning back from the mic and letting the synth take over the dizzy ends of the verses. breakdown and the butcher led the pig out, covered in messages that i couldn't focus on because he was right there again, playing, his eyes up, his mouth in a smile as he kept watch on the inflatable animal. behind him was the original between the stacks of battersea power station, an overview of london. the guitar erupted but it didn't break, not til a moment later when the pig was released and a dozen flames shot up behind them, fluorescent, blinding. bright and hot and loud. and i was free, moving, stomping, jumping. consumed by the feeling of disbelief it could be so perfect. so fucking perfect.




he went away for a bit, interrupting the flow. "we'll come back and do 'dark side of the moon'."

heartbeat.

as 'breathe' started he sauntered toward our side, looking out, singing along with the guitarist, projecting his words out with passion and light. our eyes caught and held, and i sang, to him, at him, with him. it felt like there was nothing else, just this line of energy drawn from his chest to mine, nothing between but the words, transmitting on the air.

breathe, breathe in the air
don't be afraid to care
leave, but don't leave me
look around, choose your own ground


i was lost in that moment til well after it ended.

the set flew by. trains blasted through 'on the run', both visually and audibly, screaming, ripping through the night. roger, illuminated in spot light with the clocks rushing forward behind him, missed a string during the intro of 'time', a hole where a tick should have been. alarm bells. ten years. ten years.




there really aren't words for this, for the surreality of standing mere feet from the genius behind this creation as it was played out before us. heavy and swirling. psychedelic and other-worldly. too large to sum up in snatches of word play. rainbows danced and spiraled on the screen behind, pulling me inside. the guitars cried. these are the evils of man. this is our make-up, flawed as it is. i was hypnotised with the bass fills in 'brain damage', the brains and pills floating away on the screen behind. prism of light above our head, spinning, the white breaking through the pyramid into a rainbow on the other side. eruption of white bathing the stage. all you feel. there is no dark side of the moon. we returned full circle to the heartbeat. the band lined up on the stage, hand in hand, and bowed, roger thanking us profusely and hugging us all to his chest with crossed arms. my head was somewhere above.







they returned, red, helicopters, and threw us in head first into the wall. FAT AND PSYCHOPATHIC WIVES. roger strode to our side again and threw open his arms, conducting us. "we don't need no education," we sang to him. "we don't need no thought control." the power in that, to be a part of that, that voice. it was almost eerie, the level of energy thrown from stage to crowd and back again, the idea of unity in revolution.

does anybody else in here feel the way i do?

too big, too big, too big. snare drum rumbling, fire, the roar of the place. nerves tingling, breath shallow, catching in my throat.

are you feeling ok? are you feeling ok? are you feeling ok?

"IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?"

the slide into 'comfortably numb' is that of slipping into water. your head going under. submerged. roger was there in front of us again, mouthing thank you, beaming and flipping his head to the beat, flinging his sweaty, tousled hair. behind him on the screen were dave's fingers on the fretboard and i kept one eye there and one on roger's hands, memorizing every movement. he just stood there, singing every word, projecting out at us with unrivaled commitment. take it in, take it all in and let it go.
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February 2013

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