The legendary musician Roger Waters, the man behind the famous British band 'Pink Floyd' was seen in flesh and blood performing in Bangalore last Saturday, 13 April 2002. The Indian leg of his Asian tour. The 11-member entourage performed at the Bangalore palace grounds to a jam-packed 25,000 plus strong crowd of fans and music aficionados. There were all conceivable faces of colour and race from all over the world that came to witness the grand event. People came from as far a place as Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Shillong, Imphal and even Bangladesh, the touring westerners, let alone Bangaloreans.
The much-hyped event was the result of consistent effort by DNA Networks - the event managers to the grand concert - to make Bangalore the dream destination of rock n roll fans and music enthusiasts. The concert was earlier slated to be held in both Mumbai and Bangalore but the Mumbai show was eventually canceled for some reason. Last year Bangalore saw 3 high power bands performing in the city - Deep Purple, Bryan Adams & Scorpions. DNA wants to keep the wheel rolling and promises to bring more international bands to the city.
For this show in particular 100 tons of equipment was flown in and Waters himself flew in a chartered business Jet Airliner. There were the usual promo stints for the fans earlier in the day and many of the fans had a chance to get up close and personal with the legend himself. What came, as a pleasant surprise was that Waters son Harry Waters were also here as part of the band and later in the concert was seen giving some superb performance in the keyboards. Another pleasant surprise is that Waters daughter India was also here. She has traveled India extensively and is a very beautiful lady.
As it turned out the day was warm and sun was bright and hot. Its summer in Bangalore, hot by its standard but considered ok! comparing to other Indian metros. Fans and crowd started to trickle in by early afternoon and by 6:30 everyone knew it was going to be one of the biggest concerts ever. Most people were trendily dressed and as one would expect it was all in all a decent crowd, not the head bangers and torn jeans kind. By the time the gates opened there was a small commotion at the ticket check. The newly introduced barcode tickets proved to be more of a problem, as the computers could not handle the volume of swipes under the tremendous pressure of the pouring crowd. The authorities had to finally retreat to the tried and tested method of manual check.
The stage and the settings were quite befitting the image of Waters, the first of its kind ever to be seen here in India complete with dazzling sound and lights. For the first time in India the audience experienced a scintillating 360-degree Quadraphonic sound treat. For starters it means one could feel a surround theatre effect sound if you are inside this circle of sound created by a high-tech arrangement of sound towers distributed in 6 places around the stage. 100 thousand Watts of hi-fidelity sound output was a real treat to the fans. Accompanying light effects were there too but not really up to the expectations here as one would from a 'Pink Floyd' show.
But the magic of Roger Waters was visible in the form of a giant video screen as a backdrop. The mood of the audience was strung and swung by the mesmerizing video footages, which form a part of the whole musical extravaganza. Each song was related to a fantastic flight of fantasy video imaging. The entire signature Roger Waters visuals and sound were there. The chopper flying past, the barking dogs, sirens, the ticking of a thousand clocks, clanging of slot machines, wailing children and the heartbeat.
And there was no dearth of smoke and dust. By the time the concert got under way the atmosphere was wearing a different kind of smell accentuated by the unmistakable whips of marijuana.
Roger Waters appears promptly at the slated time to the cheers and shouts of the manic fans and crowd. As expected "in the flesh" opened the evening followed by the much charmed and craved 'another brick in the wall'. The already charged crowd was then taken to a new high with the captivating voice and the superb performance of the accompanying band one after the other. Waters was indeed a man of few words. Greeted the audience in the shortest possible way - 'welcome, Good Evening'.
The band was the largest Bangalore ever saw.
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar, bass and vocals) has worked with Roger on the Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking tour and at the spectacular live performance of "The Wall" staged in Berlin. Andy performs and records as a member of the Eric Clapton's Band.
Snowy White (guitar) is one of a handful of classic blues orientated British electric guitar players musicians whose sound, technique and style has echoed the originality of the blues with the excitement of rock. He has been associated with either Pink Floyd or Waters as their augmenting musician. In 1990 he worked with Roger Waters on The Wall, Live In Berlin. In 1994 he formed a new band The White Flames, whose album, Melting, was released in the US last September. White's magic was on show here at Bangalore too.
Graham Broad (drums) is an accomplished drummer and has worked with Roger Waters on the Radio Kaos and the Amused To Death albums. He has played on all Tina Turner's albums since Private Dancer and has worked with the likes of the Beach Boys, George Michael, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison, Bryan Adams.
Andy Wallace (keyboards) has worked with a wide variety of artistes, which include David Bowie, Daryl Hall, Tom Jones, Whitney Houston and most recently, Robbie Williams.
Harry Waters (keyboards) is the son of Roger Waters. Harry worked with tribute bands playing everything from Led Zeppelin to the Grateful Dead regularly touring in Europe. However, his musical roots lie with blues and jazz and he is heavily influenced by the likes of Bills Evans, Keith Jarrett and Oscar Peterson. He also enjoys experimenting with electronic music
Chester Kamen (guitar and vocals) started playing guitar aged 11, and at 18, turned professional. He has worked with Madonna on "Like A Prayer", Robbie Williams on "Angels", Seal, Massive Attack and Gabrielle to name but a few. He performed on stage at Live Aid and has played with Paul McCartney, Bob Geldof and Natalie Imbruglia. Prior to joining Roger Waters on his In The Flesh World tour, Chester has been working with Texan singer, Shea Seger.
Norbert Stachel (saxophone) is a multi-instrumentalist who has long been recognized for his individualized solo style on saxophones and other woodwinds. Although his roots are in jazz and contemporary funk, soul, and rock, he is well versed in a large variety of styles of music including many ethnic forms. Over the years he has recorded and performed with Aerosmith, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, as well as many others.
Katie Kissoon (guest vocalist) has appeared in concert and recorded with many outstanding artistes including Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, Annie Lennox, Van Morrison, Elton John, Tom Jones, Jamiroquai, George Michael, Roger Waters and Joe Cocker. Katie performs and records as a member of Eric Clapton's band.
PP Arnold (guest vocalist) toured with the Rolling Stones in the mid-sixties. she has also toured alongside Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Blind Faith, and many other legendary bands and artists. She recorded with Roger Waters on the "Amused To Death" album. She is at present recording another album to be released later this year.
Linda Lewis (guest vocalist) was destined to follow a career in the entertainment business from a very early age. She appeared, aged 8, as a star-struck fan in the Beatles film 'A Hard Days Night'. Linda became very popular with many of the biggest names in the business performing alongside Frank Zappa, Steven Stills, Elton John, Muddy Waters, Richie Havens, Taj Mahal and many others.
Well, so much so about the band but the fact of the matter is that Bangalore was very lucky to have seen all these famous professionals perform here in the city. Waters and the gang churn out more and more good numbers one after the other and in true Roger Waters style there was no gap in the entire musical exposition except for a 20 min. interlude. The crowd growl to the strumming of the guitars the mesmerizing keyboards that seem to sing and speak and the rhythmic swoon of the chorus. The giant video screen that seems to tell you a story every time a song is performed. Waters music particularly the word played magic to the enchanted crowd. It was indeed an experience of a lifetime.
The crowd was stunned and held spellbound by the magical extravaganza. They remembered that when they were young they shone like the sun and even remembered kicking around in a piece of ground in their hometown. The nostalgic mental embroil with their mothers and even having a fever when they were a child. The fear of the bomb, the very menacing neighbor's dogs that always seem to haunt them and the time and the money they wasted. And with an eclipsed mind Roger Waters took care of the Time and Money when he was here leaving us all comfortably numb.