Review - Roger Waters @ SAP Center (6/8/17)

Roger Waters @ the SAP Center in San Jose (Photo: Kate Izor)
Bay Area Floyd fans, and more specifically, Roger Waters fans, were treated to one of the finest rock concerts that I’ve ever witnessed last night at the SAP Center in downtown San Jose when Roger brought his "Us & Them" arena tour to town. He was backed by a touring band that featured background vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the pop band Lucius, saxophonist Ian Ritchie, guitarist Jonathan Wilson, guitarist/bassist Gus Seyffert, keyboardist Drew Erickson, drummer Joey Waronker, guitarist Dave Kilminster, and long-time Pink Floyd collaborator, multi-instrumentalist Jon Carin.
Roger Waters @ the SAP Center in San Jose (Photo: Kate Izor)
The 10-piece kicked off promptly at 8:15pm and spent nearly 2.5 hours playing through a host of Floyd classics -- which you can see from the full setlist below -- and whose highlights (for me) included the stellar "One of These Days" and "Welcome to the Machine", two of my all-time favorite tracks that sounded incredible last night.

Speaking of sound, the Shark Tank arena was outfitted with a full surround system which was tuned to make you feel like you were in a pristine home theater with sound effects and music enveloping each and every one of us in the audience. I've literally never heard an arena sound this good for a live concert!
The scale of the stage production of "Us + Them" - Can you find the band? (Photo: Kate Izor)
And if you've seen Roger's live performances in the past, you'll already know that Waters has a flair for 'theater', and the "Us + Them" tour doesn't disappoint! Immediately behind the band, a floor-to-ceiling screen extends the full width of the arena showing a mix of live stage footage and pre-recorded mini-films that ranged from the truly psychedelic to a barrage of anti-Trump images and quotes from our charade-in-chief. In addition, a set of massive screens also lower from the ceiling to hang straight down the middle of the arena length-wise to give an even better perspective for those in the audience seated along the sides of the arena.

In addition to all the visuals, what Floyd show would be complete without a flying inflatable pig -- this one adorned with more anti-Trump messages -- which nimbly maneuvered around the circumference of the arena, and was later joined by a giant flying silver sphere equipped with video cameras to capture the audience below. A laser light show accompanies the performance of "Eclipse" that will simply blow you away. And the night was capped-off with possibly Floyd's finest, "Comfortably Numb", which like the rest of the show sounded amazing and was complete with lasers, incredible visuals, and confetti dropped from the arena rafters.

Besides all the hits, and unbeknownst to at least a few in the audience, Roger was also supporting the recent release of his first new album in nearly 25 years, Is This the Life We Really Want? (Spotify) with the majority of those songs lumped together in the middle of the first set. The new album isn't a departure for Roger as he lifts themes -- both lyrically and musically -- from prior Floyd albums that make Is This the Life... sound familiar and yet new at the same time.

As I mentioned at the start of this review, this is one concert you can't miss. Luckily, for those of us in the Bay Area, you've got one more shot to catch the Us + Them performance when Roger & Co. head north to the Oakland Arena. Tickets (surprisingly) can still be found here.
Roger Waters Setlist SAP Center, San Jose, CA, USA, Us + Them Tour 2017

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