n The Flesh, the latest offering by rock legend Roger
Waters (56), co-founder of Pink
Floyd and successful solo artist, is a saucerful of his best
work. Released in December 2000, this double CD contains live
performances from his "In The Flesh" Tour in the United
States during 1999 and 2000. Slated to be released some time
this year, is an In The Flesh DVD. You can bet I will
be pre-ordering my copy from Amazon.com the moment a date is announced.
In The Flesh, the CD, is "a comprehensive
overview of Waters' music" that spans four decades. The performances
on this live CD range
from Dark Side of the Moon to The Final Cut, as well as
music from Roger's Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and Amused To
Although it pleases me to hear songs from
other Pink Floyd albums like Animals, Wish You Were Here,
and of course The Wall, I am especially pleased to hear songs
from The Final Cut. This was technically the last album
produced by Pink Floyd. Some may disagree with me, but I feel The
Final Cut was one of Pink Floyd's best albums.
However, this is not true for the current
band leader, David Gilmour. Gilmour has yet to accept The
Final Cut as a Pink Floyd piece of work. He claims it is
solely a Roger Waters' album. Well, I tend to agree with that
claim, but I would also add that the same could be said for each Pink
Floyd album released before 1984.
Waters wrote all the lyrics and most of the
music for each Pink Floyd release since Dark Side of the Moon.
And In The Flesh validates that talent and skill can only go
so far. It's creativity that makes the difference. I
believe without the creativity of Roger Waters, the band Pink Floyd
would had just been another forgotten rock bank from the '60's.
This can be heard when you listen to Pink Floyd music that has been
produced since Roger's departure. Gilmour's talented guitar
playing only goes so far. Don't get me wrong, I think David
Gilmour is one of the world's top guitarist, but he doesn't have the
poetic and creative mind like Roger Waters.
Although In The Flesh could be
overlooked as simply a greatest hits tribute to an extensive musical
career, I feel it goes way beyond the remastering of previously released songs
or the remixing of some live performances.
It's more of a revisit of music that has yet to meet its equal.
In The Flesh is like a get to gather with old friends. A reunion any Pink Floyd
"slash" Roger Waters fan would take pleasure in attending.
Each performance on this new CD recalls a
but with a new feel. Explanation eludes me to exactly why these
songs are a cut above the originals. Maybe it's the
arrangement, or maybe it's the talented performers. Or maybe it's just
me. You see, it pleases me to hear authentic Floyd music live and breathe again. But whatever the
reason, the new feel is a comfort and a welcomed delight.
For me, many of the songs on this new CD not only
reproduced the original sound, but improved on it as well. For instance,
on this new CD "Set The Controls For
The Heart Of The Sun" becomes a modern psychedelic groove. It may have been
remind the listener of the origins of the band--Pink Floyd.
Another example is the live rework of "Mother,"
which has to be the best I've heard to
date. PP Arnold's performance seems so perfect, so right.
"Mother" had always been one of my favorite Pink Floyd
songs, but hearing her sing the mother's role placed the already emotive
song on another higher level, up another tier of perfection.
Likewise, "Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking Part 11 (aka 5:06
AM - Every Strangers Eyes)" had always been one of my
favorite songs from Roger's solo career. And this live
rendition easily reinforced my feelings for the song and for all of
Roger's work. I suppose, the same could be said for all 24 songs on
this CD. The last of which is a
new song called "Each Small Candle."
Although the first
verse of this song was a poem written by a South American who had
victim of torture, Roger put
the piece to music and added his own lyrics after reading a story
of a Serbian soldier, who helped an "Albanian woman lying in a
burned-out building" holding a crying child.
The soldier broke ranks and laid
down his weapon to help the woman. After giving her water and
food, and calming the crying baby, the soldier returned to his comrades.
An unexpected gesture of kindness in a war where genocide ran ramped.
True to form, Roger Waters' elegant use of the written word transcends
the listener beyond the brutality and human suffering of war to the unmistakable truth of human
kindness, and callousness. Few people have been blessed
with such vision, and even fewer have the ability to put to
paper the discomforts and emotions felt by the human spirit. Whether it be the downtrodden, the
strong or the weak, the exploited, the rich or the poor, the
or the mighty, Roger has, through his music and words, the ability to help us
see the bright and the dark side within us all.
"Each Small Candle" immediately
shares with the listener a realization of how the world holds a willing eye closed to
the pain and suffering placed upon the human spirit. Then, on a steely breeze,
the music carries the listener
on a march toward war and into the arms of its
inevitable uncertainty. But by song’s end, the songwriter
listener to a safe, kind haven yet noticed by "those with the will to fight." A
haven laden with human compassion and empathy. A safe harbor
torture and suffering. Where human kindness and selfless hearts
carry candles to "light the dark side of the human mind." Although
each candle is small, they are plentiful, for they rest in each of our hearts.
And when lit, each brightens "a corner of the dark."