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Concert Reviews:
Roger Waters keeps Palace crowd in the Pink (Floyd)

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, August 3, 2017

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AUBURN HILLS -- The last time Roger Waters came to the Palace, during October of 2010, he built a wall.

Kind of hard to top, no?

Truth be told, the Pink Floyd co-founders Us + Them Tour doesn’t necessarily better the spectacle that was The Wall Live all those years ago. But on Wednesday night, Aug. 2, it certainly added another jaw-dropping chapter to the Waters’ and Floyd’s legacy for immersive visual spectacle and conceptual grandeur, mesmerizing the Palace crowd throughout the course of the two-hour and 10-minute (plus intermission) show.

• Related: See more photos from Roger Waters’ concert at The Palace

Spending most of the night celebrating Pink Floyd, and 1973’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” album in particular, Waters and his nine-piece band let things sneak up on the audience, too. The hour-long first half was, by Waters’ standards, austere, a massive rear-stage video screen providing the pizazz -- as well as a 360-degree surroundsound PA system -- as the group worked its way through a mixture of Floyd favorites -- including a ferocious “One Of These Days,” “Welcome To The Machine” and “Wish You Were Here” -- along with a selection of material for Waters’ politically pointed new album “Is This The Life We Really Want?”

The harbinger of what was to come, however, came during “Another Brick In The Wall (Part III)” as Waters and company were joined by a dozen area youths who -- with no rehearsal time since the band’s arrival was delayed by weather -- mimed and danced along to the chorus, dropping their orange inmate-style jumpsuits to reveal black Resist T-shirts.

The show’s second half, meanwhile, was as lavish as the first was spare, and even more unapologetically provocative. Using a line of video screens stretching the length of Palace floor, recreating London’s Battersea Power Station used for the cover of the 1977 album “Animals” as the group played a pair of its songs, “Dogs” and the epic “Pigs (Three Different Ones).” Both set the tone for a virulently anti-Trump political treatise that extended deep into the set, using sataristic animations and news images labeling him a “Charade” and, of course, the flying inflatable pig that flew through the Palace, this time emblazoned protest messages. The “Dark Side” tracks “Money,” “Us And Them” and the new “Smell The Roses” continued the theme with even more visual effects and overwhelming, if not total, approval from the Palace crowd.

But Waters and company managed to top even that with “Brain Damage/Eclipse,” which culminated with a “Dark Side” pyramid made of lasers shimmering over the front portion of the arena floor and an inflatable moon flying over the crowd. An encore of “Comfortably Numb” -- with more lasers, confetti, Davey Kilminster’s killer interpretation of David Gilmour’s trademark guitar solo and Waters walking through the pit, pressing flesh with the fans -- was the proverbial icing on an audio-visual treat. Waters’ politics, whether related to the U.S., his homeland of Britain or the Middle East, may rile many, but he proved on Wednesday that his knack for putting on a memorable show is irreproachable.

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