Posts Tagged 'Music'

Darkside of Roger Waters

My wife and I had the pleasure of attending the 2008 Coachella music festival last week. Every year we look forward to the beginning of February when the line up for the festival gets posted. When the line up finally did get posted this year, I saw that one of the headliners was “Roger Waters – The Darkside of the Moon”. This was the concert’s way of assuring potential attendees that Roger would not just play his post Floyd songs but would indulge us with what we really wanted to hear.

The show started out with eight or so Floyd songs. The entire audience was in a collective state of awe due to hearing songs that they’ve listened to so much but had never heard performed live. After playing “The Fletcher Memorial Home” Roger played his first non-Floyd song of the set, “Perfect Sense”, which contains the lyrics:

And the Germans killed the Jews
And the Jews killed the Arabs
And Arabs killed the hostages

The first two lines compare the Holocaust to the worldwide treatment of Arabs by Jews. Roger compares the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews for the sole reason of being Jewish to Israel’s attempts to protect its citizens from often hostile neighbors. Further, he uses the common anti-Semitic device of attributing anti-Israel sentiment towards all Jews. Whatever Roger perceives the killing of Arabs by Jews to be, it apparently justifies the Arabs killing the hostages.

One has to ask is this done out of stupidity, naivety, or intentional bigotry? Its hard to imagine that anyone who could have come up with, “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl” is stupid, or someone who has traveled the world is naive. The only logical conclusion that one can come to is that Roger is being intentionally anti-semitic. Maybe when he said, “And that one looks Jewish, and that one’s a coon … If I had my way I’d have all of ya shot,” he was expressing his own beliefs and not describing Pink’s hallucination of himself as a dictator as satire of being a popular musician with influence over the impressionable masses.

A few songs later Roger played “Sheep” and augmented the experience by having a two-story sized inflatable pig hover above the audience, which in my estimate consisted of about 30,000 raving fans. The pig displayed the words “Don’t be led to the slaughter” and a cartoon of Uncle Sam wielding two bloody cleavers. The other side read “Fear builds walls.” The underside of the pig simply read “Obama” with a checked ballot box alongside. Roger’s message to Americans is don’t be gullible sheep led to the slaughter by your evil government. Funny to convey such a message by hovering a school bus sized pig over the heads of 30,000 impressionable fans while they sing along with you and waive their arms in approval, much like Pink’s fans in his hallucination. As Maynard once said, “Repeat after me – Think for yourself, question authority, think for yourself, question authority, think for yourself, question authority… and never ever do what others tell you to do.” Thats wisdom, floating an inflatable pig over your audience is cheap.

After a short break, Roger played all of Darkside which was pretty phenominal. The band left the stage and came back a minute later for an encore. The first song they played for the encore was Another Brick in the Wall (Part II, for those keeping score) pretty amazing to hear this live, but once again it was tarnished as the images in the background were of Waters spray painting “tear down the wall” on the wall in Israel between Jerusalem and the West Bank. With regard to the wall Waters has said,

“It’s craziness, it’s a horrific edifice, this thing. I’ve seen pictures of it, I’ve heard a lot about it but without being here you can’t imagine how extraordinarily oppressive it is and how sad it is to see these people coming through these little holes.”

I wonder if Roger has seen, first hand or even in pictures, the torn up, charred remains of a bus and human body parts after a suicide bomber has come from the other side of that wall and blown himself up. The wall is controversial and without a doubt slows down mobility of law abiding citizens, but to present it out of context, without any reference to the terrorism that it attempts to prevent is disingenuous. When the trade offs are between an extra hour to get to work on one hand and random people being blown up on buses on the other, unfortunately the mobility has to be sacrificed and people have to go through these little holes. In my opinion, going through little holes on your way to work is better than being blown up on your way to work. Hopefully, once there is a Palestinian leadership in place that does not explicitly support terrorism (Hamas, Arafat) or implicitly support it by not doing enough to stop it (Abbas) there will be no need for the wall and it can be torn down.

The final piece of Israel bashing came during the second to last song of the show, Bring the Boys Back Home. Towards the end of the song four flags were displayed on the screen behind the band. The first was Israel’s and the last was the U.S.’s. One has to ask, where does Roger want Israel to bring their boys back home from? From the Lebanese border so that Hezbollah can come in and destroy the North of the country? From the Golan Heights so that Syria can come back and at will shoot at the Ein Gev Kibbutzniks as it did prior to 1967? From the Gaza border so that Hamas can come in and kill people without having to shoot Qasams at Sderot and Ashkelon as they are doing now?

The show closed with Comfortably Numb. The overall musical performance, if it could be appreciated independently of the anti-Israeli and anti-semitic sentiment, was absolutely amazing. I however could not separate the two and the three hour extravaganza was ruined for me. At the end I was left wishing that Roger’s lips moved but no one could hear what he was saying.