Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents (https://www.dannyzeliskopresents.com/ )
Venue: Gila River Arena (https://www.gilariverarena.com/ )
Date: Monday October 3rd, 2022
Tour: This Is Not A Drill 2022 Live: In The Round
Last weekend was concert central in the greater Phoenix area. I personally saw shows on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The first show on Saturday was strange, the show on Sunday was amazing and the show on Monday night was spectacular. Monday show was the return of Roger Waters to Phoenix at the Gila River Arena in Glendale Arizona. This show was 2 years in the making. Due to the pandemic, Roger had to reschedule shows in other cities from his original 2020 tour dates. But the wait was well worth it. This was probably the best show I have seen this year.
Back in 1974 was the first time I saw Pink Floyd live. It was at Arizona State Sun Devil Arena. I had seen a number of concerts prior to this where the band came out on stage and just sang their songs. When we got to the arena, there was this large round screen on the back of the stage. As the show started, different images and videos were played on the screen. Between it and the light show, I was blown away. The concert was divided into 2 set with an intermission. The second set was the playing of Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety. I still remember the part of the show when the airplane started in the rafters and then crashes behind the stage, it flew right over our heads.
Then in 1980 I got the chance to see Pink Floyd perform The Wall in LA (one of the 2 locations of the show in the USA). It was the biggest stage production I have ever seen. Between the music, the sound, lights and the sheer magnitude of the show, I was dumbstruck.
People always ask me what is the best concert I have ever seen. Having been to well over 2000 shows and seen over 500 different bands, the answer is not easy. I always break it into 3 types of shows: the best small show, most fun show and the most spectacular show. For the later I always say The Dark Side of The Moon and The Wall concerts by Pink Floyd. I will now have to add this latest show by Roger Waters, This Is Not A Drill – Live In The Round. It was that great.
I was lucky enough to be 1 of the 3 photographers allowed to photograph the show. We were ushered to the floor and told to wait to be taken into the pit. We would be given 5 minutes to photograph and then had to leave. As we were waiting, I looked at the stage and it was huge, I could see this “L” shaped monolith that was at least 40 feet tall. As we waited, a message appeared on the wall/screen that indicated the show would start in 15 minutes. Every 5 minutes it counted down, then the lights went out and a video started to play on the monolith while “Comfortably Numb” was playing. We were then escorted out onto the floor and I got a view of the full stage, it was in the shape of a “t” or cross. It almost filled the entire floor of the arena. We were put into the pit just off the side of one of the short arms of the stage. Then the wall/screen raised and we were next to a 10 ft stage and the wall was about 15 feet above it and it was about 30 feet tall. It was massive. Roger came out in black tee-shirt and black slacks. After about 5 minutes of singing to the crowd, Roger turned and started to walk to the other side of the stage and we left.
After getting rid of my camera, I was allowed to take my seat. Being up a few rows off the floor, I could get a better look at the stage. The drummer was positions in the middle and the band was positioned at different sections of the cross. Roger would move around from one leg to another and the band would fill in when he left. During the entire show, there were videos played on the wall/screen including lyrics that he was singing. Through the show Roger would move around sing to each section of the arena.
The show was divided into 2 sets with a 20-minute intermission. The first set was a mixture of songs from The Wall and Wish You Were Here with a few songs from Roger’s solo career. I was surprised that he ended the first set with “Sheep” from the Animals album. During the song, a giant inflatable Sheep flew over the audience.
During the intermission, The Pig Flew Again. Since the Pink Floyd Animals tour, Roger has always had an inflatable Pig fly during the concert. I was afraid we would not see it tonight. The second set then started with Roger dressed in his para-military outfit as the commander in The Wall walking through the audience and entering the stage in front of me. They performed “In The Flesh” from The Wall. They then went into “Run Like Hell”. Later they performed probably Pink Floyd’s most popular song, “Money” from Dark Side Of The Moon. This was the start of the second half of Dark Side of The Moon. For me this was the best part of the concert. Between the videos played and the music, it brought back fond memories of my first Pink Floyd concert. As an added treat, a series of laser triangles appeared that encompassed the stage and monolith. Then withing this Triangle, bands of colors grew that represented the cover of the Dark Side Of The Moon album. This brought everyone to their feet and the applause was deafening.
They ended the show with Roger sitting at his piano and the rest of the band standing around it. As Roger played the last reverses of his new song “The Bar”, the rest of the band had a drink as if in a real bar. They then walked off the stage as Roger announced each band members name and final ended the song backstage. We got to see this displayed on the large wall/screen.
Is this show for everyone, No. Roger is a very opinionated musician and his song and political views might upset some people (i.e., MAGA people, Whack-nut Evangelicals and Right-Wing zealots). Personally, I don’t agree with everything Roger says, but I agree with most of it. And yes, I am a proud “Tree Hugging Progressive Liberal”. I loved that at the start of the show Roger states the following, “You might love Pink Floyd music but hate Roger’s politics, then Fuckoff and leave and go to the bar”.
In all there was over 2 hours of great music and spectacular visual effects. Would I recommend this show, HELL YES. As I said, it was probably the best show, I have seen this year. Between the fantastic music, the incredible visual effects and the unbelievable stage production you will not find a more amazing show out there (personally I have not seen Rammstein live so I can’t compare it). To give you an idea of the magnitude of this production, Roger indicated that they have a crew of 140 plus people working on it each night and here in Glendale they brought in an addition 120 people. So, if you get the chance go see this show. You will be truly amazed.
Note: Updated 10/10/2022 – Danny Zelisko Presents (DZP) did not have a show scheduled in 2020. But Roger had most of his tour in 2020 postponed in other cities due to the pandemic. Roger just wanted to thank the fans for sticking with him and coming to the show now.
Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved
This Is Not A Drill Setlist: (Album)
Comfortably Numb (Intro – The Wall)
The Happiest Days of Our Lives (The Wall)
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 (The Wall)
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3 (The Wall)
The Powers That Be (Radio K.A.O.S.)
The Bravery of Being Out of Range (Amused to Death)
Have a Cigar (Wish You Were Here)
Wish You Were Here (Wish You Were Here)
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX) (Wish You Were Here)
In the Flesh (The Wall)
Run Like Hell (The Wall)
Déjà Vu (Is This the Life We Really Want?)
Déjà Vu (Reprise) (Is This the Life We Really Want?)
Is This the Life We Really Want? (Is This the Life We Really Want?)
Money (Dark Side Of The Moon)
Us and Them (Dark Side Of The Moon)
Any Colour You Like (Dark Side Of The Moon)
Brain Damage (Dark Side Of The Moon)
Eclipse (Dark Side Of The Moon)
Two Suns in the Sunset (The Final Cut)
The Bar (Reprise)
Outside the Wall (The Wall)