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Roger Waters

Us + Them

columbia



2cd (pre-order)

Expected Release: 2nd Oct 2020

£14.99


dvd (pre-order)

Expected Release: 2nd Oct 2020

£14.99


blu ray (pre-order)

Expected Release: 2nd Oct 2020

£21.99


3lp (pre-order)

Expected Release: 2nd Oct 2020

£43.99


For more than half a century now, Roger Waters has been composing songs about the ways people knowingly and unknowingly pit themselves against one another.

Whether it's the feelings of alienation he explored on The Wall, his Orwellian vision of capitalism on Animals, or the stark reminders to question the things that make you happy and unhappy on his recent Is This the Life We Really Want? solo album, he has always encouraged listeners to look deeper into the machinations of the world. In 2017, Waters wrapped all of these themes together to form the double helix of his blockbuster Us + Them Tour, captured in this film.In the years leading up to the trek, he and everyone else have watched the world appear to slowly unravel with the rise of far-right nationalism in Europe, the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, climate change, and tension in the Middle East. The deluge of bad news reminded him of one of the lyrics he wrote for the deceptively gentle Dark Side of the Moonsong, "Us and Them": "With, without/And who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?" As he thought about it, it occurred to him that the answer to that question was "almost everyone," since wars and discord breed big business. "The fighting is always about cash," he told Rolling Stone in 2017. "War is hugely profitable. It creates so much money because it's so easy to spend money very fast [during wartime]." It's in the best interests of people in power to propagate the notion of "us and them," but not for the world at large. "If we started to look at happiness indexes, rather than thinking about if we're winning or losing, then we may start to understand that the idea of 'us' and 'them' is actually an illusion," Waters has said.So Waters conceived a production that would present a message of resisting the "us and them" mentality, set to a soundtrack of his Pink Floyd hits and solo songs. When combined with the tour's stunning visuals, Us + Them became Waters' grandest ever juxtaposition of humanism and art.The Us + Themfilm, which Waters co-directed with his longtime visual collaborator Sean Evans, captures the spectacular performance when it arrived in 2018 in Amsterdam, where Waters and his band play nearly all of Pink Floyd's biggest hits —"Time," "Money," "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2," "Wish You Were Here" —as well as a smart selection of cuts off Is This the Life We Really Want?that spotlight how the world needs more compassion and civility. He drives his ideas home with screens that bisect the audience with images of drone strikes, people living in poverty, houses blown to bits, falling money, and Trump's divisive tweets. At times, it's horrifying and, at others, it's heartrending.Throughout the concert, he presents the story of a Middle Eastern woman who flees the tyranny of the war that ravages her homeland, abandoning her past and her family, with hopes of a better existence. The character first appeared in the Is This the Life We Really Want? track "The Last Refugee," but on the big screen, her story becomes more poignant and vivid, as she dreams of her lost passion for flamenco dancing and achingly remembers trips to the beach with her daughter, all the while living the life of squalor that refugees all over the world must face. It's a multimedia plea for peace. The audience are clearly affected, during the movie you can see them sometimes moved to tears, overcome with emotion as they sing along.As with "The Last Refugee," each of Waters' songs take on new meaning in the world of Us + Them. "Time" was a song Waters co-wrotewith Pink Floyd for Dark Side of the Moon when he was 29 years old and still figuring out his life, but for all its sound effects and cynicism about "hanging on in quiet desperation," it has endured because of its central, more humanistic message. "The reason it's a good song is because it describes the predicament of anybody who, growing up —if we're grown up at all —suddenly realizes that time is going really, really fast," Waters told Rolling Stone around the film'srelease."It makes you start to philosophize about life and what is not important? You ask yourself the question, 'What brings me joy?' Well, I believe ... If you help another human being, it brings joy to your life."The existential longing of "Wish You Were Here" feels more desperate in the context of Us + Them, as you watch two hands on the screen behind the band try to reach out to one another and crumble before touching. "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" has always been about speaking truth to power, but its message of righteous defiance is even stronger here, as you watch the student dancers who have joined the group onstage shuck prison uniforms to reveal T-shirts sporting the word "resist." Songs from Is This the Life We Really Want?fit right in with the classic material here, too, as Waters pontificates on how he'd have done a better job of creating a utopia if he were God, on "Déjà Vu," and puns off one of his earlier hits, singing "Wish you were here in Guantanamo Bay" in "Picture That."The show takes a theatrical turn during "Dogs," the band members don pig masks and drink champagne, to lampoon the ruling elite. Waters holds up signs that read, "Pigs rule the world!" and "Fuck the pigs!" to thunderous applause. Another Animals song that evinces new meaning in Us + Them is "Pigs (Three Different Ones)," which has transcended Waters' indictments of British politicians in 1977 to focus its disdain on a single solitary swine, Donald Trump, whom Waters emasculates in the visuals by putting lipstick onhim and showing the president's (ostensibly) minuscule penis. "I think, given the fact that he's so demonstrably infantile, it's very probable, likely in fact, that he actually does have a tiny dick,"Waters told Rolling Stone. And after two hours of the production's visuals showing how governments prey on the weak, the lyrics to "Brain Damage" seem especially directed toward despots and strongmen when Waters sings, "got to keep the loonies on the path.""I've only ever written about one thing in my life, which is the fact that we as human beings have a responsibility to one another," Waters has said, "and that it's important that we empathize with others, that we organize society so that we all get a fair crack of the whip and we all get the life we reallywant."He was able to drive those ideas home and make the songs take on new dimensions thanks to a nine-piece band that featured guitarist-vocalists Jonathan Wilson and Dave Kilminster, guitarist, bassist, and vocalist Gus Seyffert, keyboardist, guitaristand vocalist Jon Carin, keyboardist Bo Koster, drummer Joey Waronker, and saxophonist Ian Ritchie. Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, both singers in the indie-pop group Lucius, sang backup vocals and provided extra dramatic flair with their matching platinum-blonde wigs, starry outfits, and ethereal harmonies, especially on their beautifully impassioned interpretation of Dark Side's "The Great Gig in the Sky." It's a large-scale ensemble for a large-scale production.Perhaps the show's most arresting moment, though, comes at the end, during the one-two punch of Dark Side of the Moon's"Brain Damage" and "Eclipse." As a drone-operated chrome orb flies over the audience's heads, a 3-D pyramid made of lasers comes together over the front rows of the crowd, only for it to be covered in a rainbow array of light, à lathe iconic album cover from 1973. Suddenly, "everything under the sun is in tune," as the lyrics go, and you can see the crowd is transported, everyone feeling good in that brief moment of harmony and humanity.Where Waters had once made productions with Pink Floyd, like The Wall,that seemed custom-built to intimidate his fans, he is now putting on massive productions that unite everyone —and he wants everyone to hold onto that positive feeling and spread it around. "We need the love that is in this room to spread gently all over the world if we are to have any chance of figuring out how to empathize with our fellow human beings enough to act collectively and to stop the pigs destroying this beautiful and fragile planet upon which we live, we believe in human rights ... which include our brothers and sisters in Palestine." he tells the audience after that final number.Agree or disagree, whether you're attracted to Waters' quest for humanism or whether you simply want to hear his songs performed live without any politics —you can't help but feel moved by the concert. When you figure that more than 2.3 million people saw the Us + Them Tour around the world over the course of nearly two years, it's staggering to imagine how many people could have been moved to spread the production's message of good will around the planet.So as you watch Us + Them and absorb the striking visuals and sound, try to ponder what is the fighting really all about? What we can we all do when the concert is done to make the world a happier place? Because just maybe, that is the life we really want.—Kory Grow, November 2019

Us + Them

Tracklist

LP

Intro

Speak to Me

Breathe

One of These Days

Time

Breathe (Reprise)

The Great Gig In the Sky

Welcome to the Machine

Déjà Vu

The Last Refugee

Picture That

Wish You Were Here

Happiest Days of Our Lives

Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2)

Another Brick In the Wall (Part 3)

Dogs

Pigs (Three Different Ones)

Money

Us & Them

Brain Damage

Eclipse

The Last Refugee (Reprise)

Déjà Vu (Reprise)

 

DVD/Blu-Ray

Intro

Speak to Me

Breathe

One of These Days

Time

Breathe (Reprise)

The Great Gig In the Sky

Welcome to the Machine

Déjà Vu

The Last Refugee

Picture That

Wish You Were Here

Happiest Days of Our Lives

Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2)

Another Brick In the Wall (Part 3)

Deployment

Dogs

Pigs (Three Different Ones)

Money

Us & Them

Brain Damage

Eclipse

Roger Addresses Audience

Credits / Last Refugee (Reprise)

Credits / Déjà Vu (Reprise)

A Fleeting Glimpse

Comfortably Numb

Smell the Roses