Roger Waters Discography
The Body was a 1968 book written by Anthony Smith filled with many bizarre and interesting facts about the human body. When it came to making a film along the same lines, producer Tony Garnet and director Roy Battersby were put in touch with Ron Geesin by John Peel when asked who would be suitable for the project. When songs with lyrics were required, Geesin obtained the help of his golfing buddy Waters. They had been introduced by Nick Mason in 1969 who met Geesin through a mutual friend a year earlier. It seemed an unlikely musical partnership, but Geesin's avant-garde nature and strange sense of humour was designed to be complemented by Waters more sombre and simple lyrical songs. In early 1970, they recorded music for the film separately, Geesin with the help of a cellist, and Waters accompanying himself with an acoustic guitar.
Later in the year, EMI decided they would like to release a record of the material, Geesin was insistent that it be re-recorded to be more suitable for an album in its own right. This time the two worked closer together, each producing the others work. The last song on the record, Give Birth To A Smile, even contained Gilmour, Mason and Wright as session musicians.
It was a very busy year for Waters with a hectic to Pink Floyd touring schedule including many European dates at the beginning of the year up to March 30, an American Tour (April 9 - May 30), another trip around Europe (June 19 - August 12), and the Atom Heart Mother World Tour (September 12 - December 3). Between all these dates, they managed to squeeze in sessions not only for The Body album, but for Atom Heart Mother, although Geesin worked on much of the brass and choir sections while Pink Floyd were on tour. In an interview in REG 8, Geesin claims that these sessions were in September / October 1970, but it is more likely to have been in August / September because Waters was on the road from September 12 with the Atom Heart Mother tour.
The resulting album, reviewed in REG 8, was not the first true solo effort for Waters. Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict, and Grantchester Meadows from the 1969 Ummagumma album can be regarded as the first. Although under the banner of Pink Floyd, each of the four band members performed their own compositions in solo style. But this experiment, like The Body album did not seem like such a serious exercise. The true nature of Waters solo work was yet to come.
After the Animals tour of 1977, Waters began writing two separate pieces of work. In 1979 the band was given a choice to record one of these pieces, The Wall or The Pros And Cons Of Hitch-hiking. They chose The Wall because it was considered the less personal of the two and seemed the better one to work with, although Gilmour said the demos of the two concepts sounded very similar and obviously needed a lot of work. Gilmour also claimed that they had not discounted doing Pros and Cons at a later date, but as it turned out after The Final Cut, Waters was inclined to work on this album as a solo artist.
Recording for the album took place February and December 1983 in London, using Olympic Studios, Eel Pie Studios and Waters own Billiard Room, the studio were his demos are constructed. The album is a sexual fantasy and the album takes the format of a 42 minute dream, which is the length of the album. As Waters himself explains in a 1984 interview, "Within the context of these dreams, the subconscious is weighing up the pros and cons of living with one woman within the framework of a family ... against the call of the wild, if you like" Waters was to soon to learn the problems of going solo.
MTV failed to adequately promote him, partly because of his refusal to answer any questions concerning Pink Floyd when interviewed before the first Earls Court concert in 1984. Not only was the interview not shown on MTV, but they all but ignored the three promo clips from the album. Perhaps this was a factor in the poor public reaction to the first single, the title track to the album, which was widely released. Although MTV did air a short documentary of Waters in 1985, his further reluctance in dealing with MTV was to hurt him in the future when they were to give a lot more attention to Gilmour's Pink Floyd during the 1987 battle. In addition, Waters found that he kept his anonymity during the Pink Floyd years better than he imagined: "I thought that ... people did kind of identify me with quite a lot of the work that went into the Floyd. Particularly in terms of the shows, but they didn't."
The album was to get some publicity but not in the way Waters had wanted. The front cover picture of model Linzi Drew hitch-hiking naked was condemned by many feminist groups. It was considered sexist with some claiming it even advertised rape. Many posters advertising the album were ripped down and destroyed by protesters. A censored cover even appeared on Japanese albums and reissue American albums. The censoring takes the form of a black box over the model's bottom.
Waters second wife Carolyne, to whom the album is dedicated, knew Eric Clapton's wife, Patti Boyd Harrison Clapton. There is a story from a friend of Clapton, that he agreed to work on the album and tour after a drinking session with Waters. Regardless, Waters played Clapton some demos and, despite criticism of those around him, including his manager, Clapton played on the album and 1984 tour after long wanting to play anonymously in another person's band. By the end of the 1984 tour, however, Clapton said, according to Rolling Stone magazine, that he was tired of the tour because "of the rigidity of it ... I was feeling a bit stifled." But Waters was soon to work with Clapton again with Waters co-writing the opening theme to the movie "The Hit", the score for which Clapton was responsible for.
The live show was designed by Mark Fisher and Jonathon Park, with the aid of film-makers Nicholas Roeg and Bernard Rose, plus animation from Gerald Scarfe. The stage was set up like a bedroom in which the dream takes place, with a working TV that shows old movies before the show and at the interval.
The back screen was 30 metres across and 9 metres high, designed for 3 x 35mm projectors. The show was not as complicated as people think according to Jonathon Park. The only problem was synchronising the three projectors together, off which the click track for the performers and the sound effects was produced. A description of the tour set is described in REG 15 Waters US record company, CBS, did not support the 1985 concerts as they felt he had nothing to promote and what they really wanted was a new Pink Floyd record. Waters reasons for this tour was the favourable reaction he got during the USA leg of the 1984 tour where he only played 10 concerts in 6 cities. Even without Eric Clapton, the 16 concerts did reasonably well, with a special show being the New York concert of March 28 1985 as the world's first holophonic (that is, directional sound) broadcast.
Because of the expense of the shows, Waters lost more than $700,000 during the Pros And Cons tour. Apparently, the backdrop film itself cost $400,000. A film on the concept was proposed, and it was in 1987 that a press release for the Radio KAOS album claimed a film adaptation of the Pros And Cons had been completed, though nothing has been heard since.
Raymond Briggs book, "When The Wind Blows", was published in 1982. A stage play and radio play followed, all dealing with the plight of an elderly couple, Jim and Hilda Bloggs who survive a nuclear war only to slowly die from the radiation. The film makes clear the distrust of governments, which along with the anti-nuclear stance made Waters very interested in the project. (Waters was the chairman of the Youth Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament when he was younger). He took over the score when David Bowie, who provided the title song, announced he had other commitments. Waters contribution was two songs (Towers Of Faith and Folded Flags) plus some incidental music, recorded with a band dubbed, for the first time, The Bleeding Heart Band.
The film opened nationally in the UK on January 30 1987, with the world premiere being held in Berlin. It didn't make an appearance in the USA until the 23rd International Film Festival in Chicago in early 1988. The film was given limited publicity, the album even less, with Waters rarely being mentioned when reports did make it onto TV or in the press. Waters has stated that he actually wasn't happy with how his music was handled in the film, but he was impressed with the film itself.
It was during this period that conflicts escalated when Waters heard his ex-colleagues were to begin recording a new album. On October 31, 1986, he initiated High Court proceedings to dissolve the group's partnership and informed his record companies (EMI in Britain and CBS in America) that he would no longer record with Pink Floyd. It began the year before when Waters obtained the services of a new manager, Peter Rudge, after arguments with Pink Floyd manager, Steve O'Rourke. Gilmour and Mason refused to agree to O'Rourke's dismissal even when Waters said he would give them the rights to the band name, so sure was he that they would never record again. The result was that Waters officially left the band. Once news was out of a proposed new Pink Floyd album, a press slanging match began with much publicity that was to last well into 1987. Gilmour once claimed that the Waters court action had to be dropped so EMI, with whom Waters was signed to at the time, would sign a waiver and allow the When The Wind Blows soundtrack to be released under a different label. According to Gilmour, Waters signed an agreement not to interfere with the new Pink Floyd, yet the dispute continued.
It was in 1979 that Waters met Jim Ladd for a radio documentary on The Wall album. It was the beginning of a friendship which remains today. Jim Ladd was an inspiration as he brought some light into Waters dim view of LA life, initially through listening to the bizarre Fish Report from KMET. Waters became increasingly interested in Ladd's plight with his radio station KMET and his eventual sacking in order to change the programming format of the station in search of market researched profits. In 1985 Waters wrote a song called Get Back To Radio, which seemed to stem from partly based on the experiences of Ladd, and partly from the memories of childhood where Waters fondly remembers listening to Radio Luxembourg well into the night as a child.
An event from the 1985 miner's strike in England where a striking worker threw a concrete block off a freeway bridge, killing a taxi driver who was taking a working miner to his job, seemed to register in Water's subconscious, emerging in the second song written, Who Needs Information and later, Me Or Him. With this example of how far people will go to pursue their monetary goals, Waters began to formulate the ideas for his first full solo album since leaving Pink Floyd. The album, with a working title of Home, took only three months to record, developed from 16 songs throughout 1986 and was worked into a now familiar Waters concept album.
Recording was done with the aid of his Bleeding Heart Band. Eight songs were used on the album, with two more appearing as B-side demos (Get Back To Radio, and Going To Live In LA) and another being performed live (Molly's Song). Waters even once said in an interview that he might even release an EP with some unreleased songs from this project for those who might be interested, but this never appeared.
On April 6 1987, a press release announced the emergence of the Radio KAOS album and subsequent tour. Like The Wall, the Radio KAOS concept was perceived as a record, stage show and movie. Mention of these aspects are mentioned in the press release, but like the proposed live album and video, it never eventuated. Radio Waves, the first single, was released on May 11 in the UK, and June 6, 1987 in the USA, but Waters was to become incensed at the lack of airplay it received. The album made an appearance on June 15. In hindsight, Waters is not overly fond of the album where, due partly with his own insecurities and the pressure he was under with the Pink Floyd dispute, he attempts to tread a more contemporary musical line: "Between Ian Ritchie [the high tech co-producer] and myself, we really fucked that record up. We tried to hard to make it sound modern." He added, "I allowed myself to get pushed down roads that were uncomfortable for me. I should never have made that record." Waters used drum machines both for the demos and in the recording stages for the first time.
The dominance of market forces causing radio depersonalisation and the misuse of satellite technology did not generally go down too well with the critics. The reviews of the record were often not very impressive although most saw it as an improvement on The Pros And Cons Of Hitch-Hiking. The album deals with the preoccupation, as Waters sees it, of the politicians to spend a lot of time entertaining the public in search for popularity and votes, with foreign policy being contrived as entertainment in the "soap opera state".
The paraplegic character of Billy is based on Christopher Nolan, a severely handicapped young boy who was deemed a vegetable. No hope was given but with the persistence of his mother he was able to astound everybody and create poetry and prose by typing with the aid of a conductor's baton taped to his forehead. Waters based this character in Wales where the character is linked by his humanity and triumphant spirit to the Pontardoulais Male Voice Choir who Waters met in Wales when they were used on the re-recorded film version of Bring The Boys Back Home and Outside The Wall.
Nick Griffiths, who also co-produced the album along with Ian Ritchie and Waters, takes some credit in the album's positive ending, which surprised many who were familiar with the work of Waters. He claimed he encouraged Roger to provide some glimmer of optimism, which he did with The Tide Is Turning, a song based on the positive use of global communication technology through 1985's Live Aid.
Court cases with his former band mates continued through 1987. Despite press reports that he had dropped the legal challenge, the April 6 press release claimed that Waters is continuing his court action to resolve the rights to the name and assets of Pink Floyd. It was only a few months after the release of Radio KAOS that direct competition would appear with the Roger-less Pink Floyd resurrecting themselves with a new album A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Tension would continue through the media-hype, not helped by the fact that they were touring America at the same time. Waters made the trek through the arenas while Pink Floyd battled the stadiums. He won a small victory when he obtained the services of Mark Fisher and Jonathon Park to design the concert. Bob Ezrin, the co-producer of The Wall went the other way, when he finished up producing the new Pink Floyd after entering into talks with Waters.
While Waters was despondent with the lack of recognition he was getting, as opposed to his former colleagues, he seemed to enjoy the tour even though there was little support at the box office and the venues were rarely full. The show was designed to give Waters more contact with the audience, especially with the phone-ins from the hall. Yet, he cancelled tour dates in Australia and Japan, and played only twice in Europe because of the lack of demand. While getting a lot of press coverage, the reporters seemed more interested in the dispute than the tour, with mixed reviews of the shows which was made to represent a live radio broadcast of the Bleeding Heart Band.
After seeking a ruling over the distribution of past and future royalties, it was only at the end of the year, on December 23 1987, that Waters and Gilmour signed an agreement ending the legal disputes. The remaining members of Pink Floyd were given the rights to the name but had to pay Waters a royalty for trademarks like the flying pig concept. Waters also retained the rights to The Wall. This was fortuitous as Waters was soon to embark on his most adventurous project yet.
Group Captain Leonard Cheshire was a decorated veteran bomber pilot of World War 2 and official British observer of the atomic bomb detonation in Nagasaki, a role he was forever to regret, dedicating the remainder of his life to charity. In 1989 he was looking for a suitable event to launch the Memorial Fund For Disaster Relief. This was to raise $10 for each of the 100 million lives lost in the wars of this century, the interest from which was to be used in the aid of disaster victims worldwide. Live-Aid promoter Mike Worwood suggested someone he thought appropriate to help Cheshire. He approached Roger Waters who had been thinking about re-staging his magnum opus The Wall again. The problem was where. Cheshire mentioned Berlin, but it was seen to be too inflammatory at the time. The Grand Canyon, the Gobi Desert in Asia, Red Square in Moscow, even Wall Street in New York (one of Waters' favourites) were considered. But, on November 9 1989 when the Berlin Wall opened after standing for 28 years, the decision was made for him: "If the Wall ever came down in Berlin, I said I would go there and perform the work again as an act of celebration of the freeing up of the feelings between the peoples of the East and the West."
While seeming to lose out on his disputes with the other members of Pink Floyd, Waters main desire was to retain The Wall concept. After looking at a number of Berlin sites, the open area of no man's land between the eastern and western part of the wall was deemed perfect. This area, called Potzdamer Platz, was once one of the busiest sections of Berlin, but had become the death strip patrolled by East German border guards and had been sealed for more than 30 years. Once permission was granted to us the site, it was necessary to clear the area of armaments dating back to World War 2. This included 12 mines, a Soviet rocket launcher, a 125 kilo bomb and a huge range of ammunition. A furnished Nazi bunker was also found which was filled in to prevent it becoming a shrine. Incidentally, contrary to many reports, this was not Hitler's bunker which was allegedly destroyed when the Allies overtook Berlin in 1945.
Production costs estimated at $6.5 million, spiralled to around $10 million. It was always destined to be a huge project, the scale being dictated by the huge site. Waters obtained the expertise of Mark Fisher and Jonathon Park, who designed the original Wall concerts. To concentrate on the concert. Waters took about 9 months off his current project which was working on the music to a French opera called CA IRA , written by his friend Etienne Roda-Gil. These 9 months were extremely difficult and stressful for Waters with full permission by the East German government to use the site not given until April 20 1990. With such a limited time to work with for such a massive project, the pressure was intense to complete everything on time, but they managed to complete the project with only two and a half months to get it built, and rehearsed, with only one month on the site itself.
The largest musical production ever all came together on July 21 for a live audience of around 250,000 plus countless millions on TV. A production crew of over 600 worked on the project, with 50 men building 2,500 bricks along a 168m long and 25m high stage, while 100 others worked various stage effects. Also making an appearance was an 80 piece East Berlin Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, 150 person East Berlin Radio Choir plus a 100 piece Marching Band of the Combined Soviet Forces. Many musical artists were approached to be a part of this event, with varying degrees of interest. In fact, no stars were mentioned until all were confirmed thus leading to wild speculation in the press. A preview ad on a radio station in South Australia broadcasted the special guests as Steve Winwood, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Don Henley, and Stevie Wonder. Who knows where they got their information from! Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor, Cyndi Lauper, The Scorpions, Thomas Dolby, Ute Lemper, Tim Curry, Marianne Faithfull, Albert Finney and Jerry Hall were on hand to join in, with the aid of The Bleeding Heart Band.
Media interest in this concert was huge, and was promised to continue long after the last brick had been carried away from Potsdamer Platz. The album, released in the UK on August 27, and the video, released September 24, was to have huge promotional backing, as promised in distributed promotional booklets. The live video was premiered at the National Film Theatre on September 16 in the UK, while Polygram held a press reception in the US on board the USS Intrepid on October 3. Yet the album proved to be less than a success. A major drawback was the inevitable comparisons between this live album and the original Wall. Another Brick In The Wall part 2 was released as a single, but with Cyndi Lauper not being a popular choice to sing the best known Pink Floyd song, the single bombed. A second single The Tide Is Turning, only appeared for a short time, thus adding to its collectability.
Media reviews of the album and video seemed less than enthusiastic. Many journalists focussed on Waters less than successful solo career as compared to the reformed Pink Floyd, with some seeing The Wall in Berlin as simply a way of boosting his popularity. Less focus was put on the charity event for which the event was organised, and the Memorial Fund For Disaster Relief did not seem to take hold in the public's imagination for much longer than the concert itself. Backing for the concert was to come in the form of a $5 million advance from Polygram, guaranteed TV sales of $5 million (only a fraction of which was eventually recovered), $850,000 of Waters publishing advance, plus the sale of tickets. Despite 180,000 tickets being sold and the widespread publicity, there was a $1 million loss after the concert once all the bills were paid. The expected $9 million revenue from the concert was not to eventuate with less than $1 million being collected 2 years after the concert with the sale of the album and video.
During October 1987, Waters took time of his Radio KAOS tour and took the Bleeding Heart Band to do some recording at Compass Point Studios, Nassau in the Bahamas. It was designed to be a follow up to the Radio KAOS album with the same musical style and format with Jim Ladd and Billy appearing, and with Doreen Chanter prominent. Six untitled songs were recorded plus an instrumental based on Going To Live In LA, plus they were also thinking about including Get Back To Radio. It was hoped to be released early in 1988. The working title for this album was Amused To Death (the title coming from Neil Postman's 1986 book Amusing Ourselves To Death), and a Gerald Scarfe album cover was purported to include a huge martini glass with three bodies lying in it. After more work on the album in London during 1988 and early 1989, in February 1989, EMI admitted that Amused To Death had been shelved because Waters was not happy with it. They promised a release by early 1990, either a rerecorded version or a new project, but it was to be many years later that a release was forthcoming. The CA IRA opera and the Berlin Wall concert was deemed more important at the time.
18 months of recording in ten different studios was needed to complete Amused To Death based on the demos that already existed. In fact, the song order was shuffled 7 times to try and obtain the best result. Apparently the backing drums in Perfect Sense were the only studio material from the 1987 sessions to make it onto the album. The title Amused To Death was dropped at one stage with Waters claiming it was "too final". A September 1988 Penthouse interview quoted two verses of what was to become the title track, and it is known that The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range was another early track because it was sung acoustically during the Berlin Wall rehearsals. Apparently the first two verses were in the original, but the third verse was changed from being about Berlin to focus on the Gulf War. Three Wishes was another early one, while the last thing recorded was a re-recording of It's A Miracle as used on the album to replace the up tempo version that included Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
The origin of the album can be traced to Stanley Kubrick's "2001 - A Space Odyssey" where a monkey clutches a bone in his hand and, smashing it against a rock, realises it can be used as a weapon. It uses the analogy of a monkey or gorilla watching TV and flicking through channels searching for something that interests him. Amused To Death is concerned with the ever increasing power of TV which Waters sees as a two-edged sword. It can save us by allowing us to communicate and understand each other and be used as an educational tool. On the other hand, it may be used to manipulate our way of thinking by governments attempting to sell itself or take the focus away from important issues or problems. Waters states that "television, when it becomes commercialised and profit-based tends to trivialise and dehumanise our lives." The TV theme was not new to Waters. In a 1983 interview with Jim Ladd about The Final Cut album, he said "I keep harping back to this theory about TV. In the 17th, 18th, 19th and early twentieth century ... the only contact you had with your leaders was by reading about them in newspapers ... It's only recently that we, the ordinary folk, have had a chance to observe them at reasonably close quarters." Radio KAOS also had a theme of the soap opera state, with leaders spending an increasing amount of time entertaining the masses in the search for popularity.
The album is dedicated to Private William Hubbard (1888 - 1917) of the British Royal Fusiliers. His friend, Alf Razzell was forced to leave him in no-man's land to die during the battle of the Somme in France during World War One. The album is framed by Razzell's reminiscence from a BBC documentary. Waters was very moved by this example of one of the many war veterans who feel guilt at having survived the conflict while many, including friend, perished. The album also canvasses important events of recent years including the Tripoli bombing in 1986 in retaliation for the Libyans training, supplying and supporting terrorist groups, the Gulf War, and Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 when a student democracy protest was brutally crushed by the Chinese government forces.
Co-producer Pat Leonard (notable for his work with Madonna and who incidentally played keyboards on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason) was a major factor in the finished project as was guitarist Andy Fairweather-Low. The talents of Jeff Beck, who graces 7 songs on the album, was another important contributing factor, most notably on the first single What God Wants which was originally called Fallen Angel. As Waters explains, this song "was written as an irritable response to the idea that God can be on somebody's side and not on somebody else's side." Like the first single from Radio KAOS, Waters was incredibly annoyed at the refusal of the BBC to play the What God Wants single. He said, "If it said Pink Floyd on it, I'd sell 10 million albums. It's extraordinary how difficult it is to cross that line, for people to understand who I am and what my work is and what it was in the past." Yet Waters admits he was happy to get on with his own work away from the conflict with his former band mates and has come to terms with the fact that ,many people don't associate him with his old band.
The American Columbia promo sheet that came out to record stores and radio stations details the promotional tools set up to give Amused To Death widespread exposure up to the September 1 release date in the USA. It seemed geared to fully exploit the new release in all aspects of the media, even giving dates of various advertising activities: "The extensive press exposure, the Columbia and Westwood One specials, radio sponsored listening parties, MTV and radio teasers, combined with various other elements ... can only lead to one conclusion: Amused To Death will be a juggernaut for the music business this fall." Many other countries got in on the act, such as Australia premiering the album in the Jubilee Room in the Melbourne Zoo, September 11 1992. The UK release of the album came on September 7.
The video of What God Wants was premiered on MTV on August 17. The promo sheet states, "We believe this groundbreaking clip will set the video world spinning off its axis. Count on this clip being a most requested at every music video outlet!" Perhaps a little over-exaggerated, at least as far as MTV was concerned because after the world premiere, the video was not to appear very often again, even though it would be later nominated for a grammy on February 24 1993. It was officially released with two different video versions (one the standard promo and one a band performance filmed at Abbey Road Studios on May 12 1992). Also included on the official release was part of a Waters interview with Jim Ladd. The video of the second single, Three Wishes, also received very little attention.
It was in October 1993 that Waters decided not to go ahead with a tour, because the album had only sold half of the 3-4 million he claimed would necessitate a tour. So the only live performances so far have been the debut of What God Wants, at the Guitar Legends concert in Seville on October 18 1991, which formed part of Expo 92. There was also an incomplete solo acoustic run through of The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range, at the Berlin Wall rehearsals. The only other Waters live performances since 1990 has been the Walden Woods Benefit in California on April 1 1992, where only songs from The Wall were played.
Roger Waters "IN THE FLESH" was released by Sony/Columbia on December 5th. The double CD recording of the entire live show, drawn from performances in Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Irvine, California, and Portland, Oregon, is Roger's first full-length release since 1992's "Amused To Death." A deluxe DVD version of "In The Flesh" - featuring a Hi Definition live concert video with 5.1 Dolby Digital and LPCM Stereo music mixes, a 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, band biographies, still photographs, projected images, lyrics, and more - is currently in the works with a release date to be announced.
Appearing with Roger Waters (guitar, vocals, and bass) on "In The Flesh" is his band of top-flight musicians including Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Snowy White (guitar), Doyle Bramhall II (guitar and vocals), Graham Broad (drums), Jon Carin (keyboards), Andy Wallace (keyboards), Katie Kissoon (vocals), Susannah Melvoin (vocals), and PP Arnold (vocals).
Throughout the U.S. tour, critics praised the power of Waters' performances, the timelessness of his music, the show's intimate production values and seamless structure. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the show "was rock as art, with the kind of concern for sound rarely seen today." And the Fort Worth Star Telegram raved that "his long, luscious two-set show made up mainly of Floyd classics was on a more human scale? this show felt like a celebration." The Los Angeles Times was equally enthusiastic and wrote, "the show illustrated the extent to which Waters operatic rock has influenced generations."
The first verse of "Each Small Candle" was written by a South American who'd been a victim of torture. An Italian journalist, active in the initiative against torture in Northern Italy, had given Waters the short poem years ago. The poem lay in a drawer in Waters' studio until, during the crisis in Kosovo, he read a piece in The London Times describing a Serbian soldier who saw an Albanian woman lying in a burned-out building. The soldier left his platoon to give aid to the woman, then rejoined his men and marched off. The image inspired Waters to set the short poem, "Each Small Candle," to music and pen additional lyrics. It is the song that closes In The Flesh.
"In The Flesh" is produced and mixed by longtime collaborator James Guthrie, who has worked on Waters' music since co-producing and engineering "The Wall" in 1978 and has remastered the entire Pink Floyd catalog. Guthrie recorded the concerts as a 48-track analog recording before mixing it down to high resolution digital. "I just like the sound of analog," says Guthrie. "It's much more resolute. It's more real. It breathes. It's more three-dimensional."
"The strength of this record," Guthrie says, "is to hear Roger performing such a great cross-section of material from very early Pink Floyd, i.e. 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,' to more contemporary Pink Floyd to Roger's solo career. It's a very dynamic performance. They are all important pieces of music."
And indeed, in comparison, this live album makes the best of all the tour bootlegs out there sound anemic. The sound quality is simply superb. And the performances sound more crisp, dynamic and consummate than any Pink Floyd performance I have ever heard. The musicianship sounds almost unparalleled, and Roger's voice sounds never better. Ever the perfectionist, Roger's performance is flawless. When listening to this album it's obvious that these exceptional musicians enjoy what they play so much that they become a part of the music itself.
This album brings back the awe, the excitement and the emotional trauma I felt as a fan at those shows. Listening to this music played upon the stage before us it seemed as if time stood still, as if we all were in a trance like reminiscence of the past, days gone by, people and places from memory, when these classic Floyd songs were new. The tear rolling down the cheek, as the words and music bring back the meanings these songs once held so personally for each and every fan. The concerts were indeed inspiring, and this album elicits touching memories of that exciting spectacle.
The album cover shows a city-scape scene in the background, (originally created by 4i for The Wall Live in Berlin show) the In the Flesh tour pig logo in solid black beneath, crossed barbed wire in the foreground, (similar to the graphics projected during the tour for Each Small Candle) a lunar eclipse in the upper right corner and in the upper left are the words Roger Waters in white block lettering with blue block lettering of in the flesh in lower case underneath. Quite a nice design.
On the back cover is the track listing above the same 4i city-scape amongst which are silhouettes of the hitchhiker, (from "...Pros and Cons...") the monkey watching TV, (from "Amused to Death"), and the Radio tower (from "Radio KAOS" even though no song that album is on the CD or was played during this leg of the tour). In the foreground is white feathered photo or Roger standing with his bass waving to his fans. The inside 24 page booklet is filled with great photos from the tour and of course the album credits. But it also contains a wonderful narrative by Roger Waters talking to Nick Sedgewick about the album, the tour, and the future. The CD's themselves are picture discs of a lunar eclipse with titles and track listing. All in all, this album is perfection. One of the best albums in the last 10 years.