Last Night: Roger Waters at Toyota Center

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Photos by Jim Bricker
"Look! I can see the Galleria!"
Roger Waters
Toyota Center
May 1, 2012

It really is true what they say: You don't appreciate a performer until he's fired a machine gun at you.

They were blanks Roger Waters was firing during "Run Like Hell" Tuesday at Toyota Center. That's why this review isn't being filed from the Harris County morgue.

But it's almost overwhelming to imagine the kind of frustration and animosity both towards the audience and himself it must take for an artist to pantomime blowing us all away, so meticulously and realistically, as part of his performance. And that was probably the least overwhelming part of a production that requires 25 semis to ferry from city to city.

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Some of the moral, social and political undercurrents of this version of The Wall -- everything from a photo collage of soldiers and civilians killed in various armed conflicts to the ad slogans and anticapitalist graffiti scrawled on the inflatable pigs floating overhead during the second act -- were even heavier than the music. And we're talking about a show that includes such towering, sinister symphonic-rock creations as "Empty Spaces" and "Bring the Boys Back Home."

Waters doesn't hate his fans, of course. He was quite genial Tuesday, in fact, breaking character for a moment to thank the audience and especially Ruth Verell of Houston's Meals on Wheels for Kids program. After some promoter dropped the ball, Waters said, she helped arrange the children in "Fear Builds Walls" T-shirts who had just assailed the insectoid 21-foot-high "Teacher" puppet during "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2."

It was almost too much. Sometimes I had to tune out what was going on on the wall -- bombers dropping everything from the McDonald's arches to symbols of the world's major religions, actual footage of two men gunned down in the Middle East, large swatches of Gerald Scarfe's animation from Pink Floyd The Wall -- and pay attention to the music.

Waters has the mind of a composer, the soul of a minstrel and the heart of a man who has felt a boot on his neck. Expertly played by his 11-piece ensemble (including former Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith), the songs amounted to almost two hours of music.

Location Info

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Toyota Center

1510 Polk, Houston, TX

Category: Music


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12 comments
GlenW
GlenW

Very good review. Now I am sad I didn't go.

Cbyrne
Cbyrne

I was at the 1980 Los Angeles Sports Arena show. It will interesting to see the show again on 5/19 after so many years 

Loved it!
Loved it!

What an amazing show!! I had sweet floor tickets right in the middle left of the front section. Wouldn't have wanted to be closer, but it was nice being able to see waters expressions and the whole Wall too. The only sucky part was this skull tattoed cute stripper girl who kept standing on her chair during most of the second half right in front of me. After awhile I asked her nicely to get down so I could see but she wouldn't until later and then she got back on. Fell off about 3 times, I had to catch her once or twice. She was raging on some drugs, it was pretty obvious. Anyway, I would like to see it again just to take everything in. What a production and the music and sound were top notch! I even heard D Gilmore had dinner with Rogers the night before at Uchis, so I was hoping for a guest appearance.. BTW, I was the guy double birding the helicopter spot light right before he says "Hey you laddie". If anyone caught that on video or a picture, please let me know by commenting!

John Patton53
John Patton53

I saw him in manchester do this show live and even though it was my 5 time watch him over the years this one was the best,the stage show was mind blowing to say the least and the music and vocals were amazing I just hope it wasn't the last time I get to see him

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

Epic show. I'm still reliving moments this morning. This was also my "32 years in waiting" show. I am happy to report that even though it wasn't my dream realization of seeing David up there also, it was still just as I had imagined it would be. Roger, thanks.TA

Occupant
Occupant

I thoroughly enjoyed the show last night, though I was reminded how much I dislike the casual Pink Floyd fan. I waited patiently in 1980 for news of the tour that never came. I considered trying to get to Germany in 1990 and I missed out on tickets in 2010. So, I waited for 32 years to see this show and I'm glad I finally did. They only disappointments were some audience members of the sort that inspired The Wall in the first place, and the projection screen and action on top of the wall were obscured from our seats by speakers and puppet storage. Still, did little to dampen an amazing show.

Classic Rock Bob
Classic Rock Bob

I saw the show last night and also the one that Waters toured here in 2010. What impressed me a lot was that there was an awful lot of new content - in terms of effects, video, Wall stuff - that was not in the previous version. Kudos to Waters for keeping the show fresh.

Jeferreira 70 Jf
Jeferreira 70 Jf

I went to the show it was top notch waters vocals were strong the band sounded great its back stage hands ran the show effortless .

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

Terribly, terribly jealous of everyone who went to this. My 15-year-old self will never forgive me for missing it.

Friendlyguy
Friendlyguy

Uggh, I know what you mean about those casual fans, if they are fans at all.  I had drunk/stoned frat boys behind me screaming and jamming their cell phones in front of me so they could take blurry, grainy pictures of the show from the back of the room.   Douchebags really ruined an otherwise spectacular evening.   What an amazing, and at times heart wrenching show.   Apart from the d-bags...I loved it!   

ClassikRokRik
ClassikRokRik

 Agree Bob. What about the sound I thought the first show had the best sound ever at Toyota. I though the second go round was a little too loud for the space and the equipment,  still decent but not pristine as before.

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