It was a daunting task to have to wrap up Desert Trip after The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young and The Who already took the stage at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, California, but Roger Waters more than rose up to the challenge by providing a modern take on a cavalcade of Pink Floyd classics with all the accompanying bells and whistles. Naturally, the weekend leapt to another level with the opening notes of “Speak To Me,” and when it came to production, Sunday’s show was arguably superior to even the most recent touring edition of the “The Wall.”
Waters further built upon his disdain for the infamous politician during “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2),” cleverly dressing the children’s choir in shirts that read “Tear Down The Wall” in Spanish.
While openers The Who were driven off their energy, Waters connected through hypnosis during the almost two-hour retrospective. In addition to the surge of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” the industrial “Welcome To The Machine” and the somber retreat of “Wish You Were Here,” the Pink Floyd mastermind also incorporated all the group’s iconic imagery, along with a multi-dimensional, quadraphonic sound experience at many other key moments during the show.
One of the most striking segments came when the “Animals” album reared its cerebral head with “Pigs On The Wing 1 and 2” stacked together, followed by “Dogs.” At that point, Waters turned “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” into a tribunal of American presidential candidate Donald Trump, flashing unflattering imagery in sync with the lyrics, “big man, pig man; ha, ha, charade you are.”
The former “Celebrity Apprentice” boss was indeed displayed as a pig, Klan member and cross-dresser, while the signature pig float that always emerges at some point in a Floyd-related show had its eyes crossed-out with “#stopTrump” stamped across its belly and the slogan “Divided We Fall” written over a map of America. Waters further built upon his disdain for the infamous politician during “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2),” cleverly dressing the children’s choir in shirts that read “Tear Down The Wall” in Spanish.
Thankfully, Lucius members Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig served as a much more welcome pair of actual guests in the flesh, adding to the weekend’s generally lacking collaborations department as they masterfully assumed the overbearing role of “Mother,” then enhanced the highly emotional and modernized “Run Like Hell.” One more mesmerizing moment came during “Eclipse,” which featured a sky full of lasers that eventually formed the unforgettable triangular prism synonymous with the “Dark Side Of The Moon” cover sleeve.
Shortly thereafter, Waters read a poem he penned for George W. Bush in 2004 called “Why Cannot The Good Prevail,” which drew some ire from the crowd (though most seemed to support his earlier attacks on Trump). Nonetheless, he soon settled back into the music to aptly wrap the night with “Vera,” “Bring The Boys Back Home” and “Comfortably Numb,” all but erasing any previous distractions and emerging triumphant amongst even his loftiest peers.
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Upcoming concert highlights at Desert Trip include The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan (Oct. 14); Paul McCartney and Neil Young + Promise Of The Real (Oct. 15) and Roger Waters and The Who (Oct. 16). For additional details, visit DesertTrip.com.