Monday, May 21, 2007

REVIEW: Roger Water's Dark Side of The Moon (The Point, Dublin)

Roger Waters has been touring his live version of Dark Side of the Moon since 2006, playing the entirety of Pink Floyd's Prog symphony as the climax of the show. So it is, by this stage, a well-polished production that lights up the Point, a big budget affair that never plunges into the unknown, but is never lacking in flash, or musical wallop.

Even before Waters' takes the stage, we are treated to an enormous hyper-real image of a radio set which a giant hand adjusts every now and then to change to the station and introduce a new golden oldie. But once the bassist and his big band are on stage, the same screen never relents from its impressive assault of lava-lamp animations, psychotic short films, cartoon strips, and cosmic photography. Always with the cosmic photography.

For the first half of the evening, Waters and co are a little more flirtatious with the Pink Floyd back catalogue, offering classics like Shine On You Crazy Diamond (with Dave Kilminster stylishly recreating the absent David Gilmour's guitar work) alongside Waters' newer Bush-baiting polemic, Leaving Beirut. After the break, however, it's DSOTM all the way down.

The risk, always, is that such a show begins to reproduce the songs, rather than playing them, as though Waters was gigging with his own tribute band. Or, equally troublingly, that the wigged out craziness of classic-era Pink Floyd is replaced by a kind of arthritic psychedelia.

In the end, the show is so thoroughly thought out that neither extreme is reached. Everything falls into its place, almost too comfortably. The gargantuan radio-controlled astronaut and pig that fly over the heads of the audience seem remarkably obedient, and even the album's spoken word samples turn up exactly as they should, allowing hardcore fans to sing along with the maniac laughter from Brain Damage as it is bounced around the auditorium in a surround-sound mix.

Just to make sure absolutely nobody could leave thinking they hadn't got their money's worth, the album's closer, Eclipse, is accompanied by floating 3D recreation of the album cover, drawn with lasers, that received its own standing ovation.

"It's really ripe now," says one aging hipster into his mobile, on the way out "for The Wall tour." Some people just don't know when to stop.

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