Armed with music by Pink Floyd, the British rock band he cofounded in 1965, guitarist and lead singer Roger Waters brought a powerful and provocative show to the Verizon Center, along with some zingers for President Donald Trump.
Waters left the band in 1985 and rejoined briefly in 2005. Now he is taking his “Us and Them” tour around North America. He performed in the nation’s capital on Friday, Aug. 4, and Saturday, Aug. 5.
Pink Floyd’s 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon” was tagged “Quaalude Rock.” Released at the end of the decade, the album “The Wall” remains universal in its anti-conformist appeal, whether for the kids or for grandma. Performing the title song at the Verizon Center, Waters brought local students onstage to march in place.
The expected standards, such as “Time” and “Comfortably Numb,” were there, but it was Waters’s anti-establishment, anti-war message that grabbed the spotlights, quite literally. A hologram showed an Albert Speer-like architecture of buildings that morphed into images of politicians, whether Trump, Putin or others, while Waters sang “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” from the album “Animal”: “Big man, pig man … Ha, ha, charade you are … You well heeled big wheel … Ha, ha, charade you are.”
“We are living in a dystopian nightwear,” read one screen. Whether it was written decades ago or this year doesn’t matter. Waters’s outspokenness — especially against Israeli policies — has lost him big sponsorships.
Despite the political invective, band members were applauded, even by some Trump supporters. This is Washington, after all. We’ll take the message, but some of us have to go to work or home together. And Waters did say, after calling the president “a pig,” that love is the message.