Live review: Roger Waters, Time Warner Cable Arena, 7/10/2012

Posted by Jeff Hahne on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Roger Waters' The Wall
Time Warner Cable Arena
July 10, 2012

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Halfway through "Comfortably Numb," Roger Waters let his microphone drop down toward his hips for a brief moment and his mouth stopped moving. However, his vocals sounded just as clear as they had a moment earlier. For anyone not sitting close to the stage, that may have been the only clue that Waters wasn't singing live for much of his performance of The Wall on Tuesday night at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena. Unless, of course, you saw him cough during "Mother" or noticed he had nearly closed lips while belting out "In the Flesh."

Given Waters' admissions of using backing tracks and how weak his vocals have been in recent years (Live 8 in 2005, anyone?), it was hard to tell if he sang anything live, but most people in attendance probably didn't care. Pink Floyd isn't touring anymore, so this was about as close as anyone's going to get. And, after all, it's The Wall — a favorite for many music fans. But if not for the size of the production and the actual wall itself, it would have been a better fit as a one- or two-week run at Belk Theatre instead of masquerading as a full-fledged concert in a large arena.

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The performance, as a whole, went off without a hitch. Of course the vocals were clear, but there were moments you weren't sure the band was playing live, either. Why? It was too perfect. Nothing sounded amiss and if you watch video from any other tour stop in the last two years, it looks and sounds exactly the same — from the vocals to the music to the gestures Waters makes while performing. As hundreds of people held up distracting, glowing cell phones trying to videotape the performance, I wondered why they don't just buy the DVD.

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While Pink Floyd would improvise and explore the terrain of each song the band played (I got to see Floyd perform live twice), Waters' The Wall is an exercise in performance like you'd expect during a play. The visuals were stunning — massive set pieces including an inflatable teacher and flower, a large plane flying through the wall, the construction of the wall onto which images were projected, etc. — but at times the band and Waters himself lacked emotion. There was too much "going through the motions" and not enough spirit brought forth. Maybe that's what happens when you perform the same exact show nearly 200 times.

At 68, Waters has reinvigorated the wall's theme with modern-day political images and the performance recreates The Wall from start to finish. Was it well done? Yes. Memorable? Of course. But lip synching is at the top of my shit list. If you can't sing and dance at the same time, maybe you shouldn't dance (Right, Ms. Spears?). And if at 68 you can't sing like you used to, maybe you shouldn't act like you are doing that, either.

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Setlist
Set 1
Outside the Wall
In the Flesh
Thin Ice
Another Brick in the Wall 1
Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall 2
The Ballad Of Jean Charles de Menezes
Mother
Goodbye Blue
Empty Spaces
Back to the Wall
Young Lust
One of my Turns
Don’t Leave Me
Another Brick in the Wall 3
Goodbye World

Set 2
Hey You
Is there Anybody
Nobody Home
Vera
Bring the Boys
Comfortably Numb
The Show Must Go On
In the Flesh
Run Like Hell
Wait for Worm
Stop
The Trial
Outside the Wall

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Comments (30)

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I have seen this Live Show on 5 occasions since 2010 and your review was the first negative one that I have read. There were certain parts of the show that he sang to a backing track or had his band assist with vocals. However he clearly handled most of the vocals himself. Maybe you should just keep you mouth shut and crawl under a rock. Jackass.

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Posted by Joe Surface on 07/11/2012 at 1:14 PM

Joe - as stated, I witnessed at least three occasions when he was clearly not singing. Do a quick internet search for "Roger Waters lip synching" - I'm not the first to point it out; and he has admitted to using pre-recorded tapes and backing tracks in concert.

Another report - from before this tour started:
http://consequenceofsound.net/2010/05/an-o…

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Posted by Jeff Hahne on 07/11/2012 at 2:02 PM

For what this "concert" cost, billed as a Rock Concert, not a Musical play, I would expect that he sing what he can sing, and not use backing tracks to help his voice. If he can't sing it anymore, then hire a SINGER to stand front and center while he plays the bass, and sings where he CAN.
I know he's in his late 60's and he loves this album (like many of us do) but let's face it, I'd rather see this billed as a night at the Theater than a rock concert.
And make no mistake, I really love this album, and I loved it when he performed at the Wall in Berlin back in 1989. This would have pissed me off had I paid my well over $100 to see it.

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Posted by Walter Pavlik II on 07/11/2012 at 2:24 PM

The visuals and the sound sytem were worth the money. Rock Opera.

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Posted by EH on 07/11/2012 at 2:56 PM

As the guy who actually had the vision, wrote like 90% of the music and lyrics, and was the driving creative force that brought this work of art into the world, I'm pretty sure he can do whatever the hell he likes with it. And if delivering an all encompassing experience (music, words, sounds, visuals, etc.) he chooses to do that with some type of support, then it's good by me. I was there. It was an exceptionally great show.

This review reminds me of the movie Shallow Hal where the guy bitches about beautiful women with toes that a too long.

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Posted by NoPuddingForYou on 07/11/2012 at 3:17 PM

I originally had tickets for the Charlotte show, but after reading some of the online reviews and also watching full-length YouTube videos of the concert, I realized Roger was phoning it in. So I sold my tickets on eBay last week and didn't go.

Ultimately, The Wall concert tour is whatever Roger decides it is. If he wants to play the CD and mime to it for 2 hours, he can. But I really wanted more.

There is no bigger Roger Waters fan than I am, having owned and admired his solo work as well as his Floyd work for many years. This tour doesn't take away from his talents or his work, it just doesn't add anything to it.

The author of this blog post is right to call Roger out on the lip synching.

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Posted by DarkSideOfTheRoom on 07/11/2012 at 5:00 PM

You're right the sound was too perfect but it was great. I have to give the sound engineers kudos for that, even if Waters wasnt doing the majority of the singing.

I am so fed up with all the people and their phones. I have no problem yelling at people in front of me to put their phones down. It puzzles me why people don't actually enjoy what they are doing anymore. They are too narsasistic and busy trying to up their Facebook cred.

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Posted by DP on 07/11/2012 at 7:16 PM

hey, Roger has been doing 3+ shows a week for months. Voice strain explains a lot. I find a little lip syncing pretty easy to forgive, he delivered an excellent show. Between the musicians and the props it was an unforgettable experience.I'd gladly pay to see him again tomorrow.

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Posted by Ruth Henry on 07/11/2012 at 7:37 PM

Regarding Joe Surface's comment, so if it happened and it's negative, it shouldn't be written. I'm 99% sure they dubbed in David Gilmour's voice on a few tracks as well. Weak effort by a man who has made mega millions off of his fans then slams capitalism! What a hypocrite.

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Posted by Patrick Hadden on 07/11/2012 at 8:00 PM

Surely Waters was the one with the vision and concept and most of the lyrics back in the days as the collective of Pink Floyd but the other members collectively made his vision a reality. For the man who made a whole concept album about Amusing Ourselves to Death, he surely has accomplish this with this tour. His ego is so inflated with the thought that he alone is Pink Floyd. His personality tried to destroy Pink Floyd first with firing founding member Richard Wright and then by becoming a control freak. Gilmour tried to save Pink Floyd in the late 80s and 90s with the albums A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell which were more "Pink Floyd" than Roger Waters alone can be. If Gilmour was to tour and come anywhere close, without a second thought I would attend because he keeps the feeling alive of the spirit of Pink Floyd which was and is Syd Barrett.

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Posted by Eduardo Rivas on 07/11/2012 at 10:19 PM

This publication has been nothing but negative toward this show. Your preview was awful and disgraceful. Now, your review is just downright annoying. Can you folks just take a moment to see the positive? I left that building thinking there wasn't a single person in the audience that didn't really enjoy that show. Apparently, you can't please everyone. But, I'll tell you this, I was pleased. In fact, I'd say it was perfect, fantastic, and amazing. I'd also say that the large crowd that was around me inside the arena would say the same thing. Thousands enjoyed the show...you apparently didn't. Time to look in the mirror my friend.

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Posted by Tyler Watkins on 07/12/2012 at 12:47 AM

I saw the Wall in London in 1980 and 81 and last year in Manchester and the sound and accurate performance on all 3 occaisons was impeccable. The nature of the show limits the opportunity for the band to go off on any musical tangent, but to suggest the band are not playing live because they can, is absurd! To say was Waters is "going through the motions" seems so much removed from my own experience I would question Jeff Hahne's ability to judge genuine human emotion. I've watched hours of video from live performances of the Wall and yes Waters uses a lot of vocal backing but to suggest that he's miming is again absurd.

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Posted by Bob Bernard on 07/12/2012 at 5:26 AM

The only negative review of the tour hails from the city of Charlotte? ... bahh...it's Rock Opera Theater...it's what I paid to hear...as did the collective masses...I caught the show in Stadium format 3 times and Arena format once...you clearly are not a music fan...I can tell you at Wrigley Field, given my awesome field seats, that this band was definitely playing their instruments...Roger sang a large chunk of the show even with strain...a few backing vocals/syncs from complicated tracks are acceptable given the nature and context of this concept album...mind you...I'll be in the UK next summer to see it again"Careful With That Ax Eugene"

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Posted by Grimble Crumble on 07/12/2012 at 12:18 PM

what the hell, if he is miming a few lines so what, at least he is touring and remember when he does eventually hang his Bass up there will be no other person/band who will get any where near himself or Pink Floyd.
I went to 2 shows at the o2 in London(including the David Gilmour appearance)and the first night I was at the front and no way was he miming. so come on people give him respect.

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Posted by Nev on 07/12/2012 at 12:56 PM

Do your research, put down the kool-aid and actually pay attention to his lips. Waters himself has admitted to using backing tracks and prerecorded vocals. It's fine if you think he's a great performer, but he definitely doesn't sing most of his stuff live — he wasn't able to sing "In the Flesh" in the 1980s, but you think he can sing it now? He had no vocal strength in 2005, but it's miraculously come back? Find out the truth before refusing to believe it. You are only denying what Waters himself has stated. The reviewer said it's a memorable show, only that he didn't like the lip synching. Considering that he was in the photo pit in front of the stage, feet away from Waters, I believe him.

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Posted by Which One's Pink? on 07/12/2012 at 1:27 PM

Let me stop some folks right there. I saw both Yankee Stadium Shows and then the show in Raleigh on Monday night. These musicians are all highly skilled session guys with years of experience. That is why each performance sounded amazing. These songs were played Live each night and Waters handled his Bass Playing on most songs.

The reason I started this post was Jeff stated that "Waters wasn't singing live for much of his performance of The Wall". This was not the case if he was paying attention. Jeff do you realize that Waters shares vocals duties during Comfortably Numb? That's why he dropped his microphone by his waste during the song. My thoughts are that during "The Trial" it was prerecorded or he sang to a backing track. On Hey I honestly think Jon Carin handed Waters vocals parts at the end of the song. All in All Waters is having the time of his life and it shows each and every night. If any haters out there want to bitch stay at home or wait for Gilmour to get off the Sofa and tour again. Just think up until 2010 who actually thought any of us would ever witness Roger Waters ever performing The Wall? Exactly my point....

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Posted by Joe Surface on 07/12/2012 at 3:22 PM

So then.....let me get this straight. He gets no credit WHATSOEVER for the genius and masterpiece that he created pretty much all by himself in 1979?!?!?!? In this disposable music industry world where Drake, Bieber and Beyonce rule, where you will NEVER, EVER see another masteripiece created such as this, you harp on the micro-minutia?!?!?!

No credit for the ingenuity of creating this visual masterpiece of a tour or being able to (what seems to be) easily transport it globally? No credit for being on the social awareness front and making an entirely new generation of young people aware of the travesties that still exist today?!?!?

Joe Surface....you couldn't have said it better. This reviewer's an asshole in the highest sense. I too saw it 4 times in the past two years and could give a rat's ass that he used backing tracks TO A DEGREE! He did not lip sync the entire show, that's for freaking certain. Sounds like a little "creative penis envy" if you ask me.

BTW...this is the same genius that gave the world "Dark Side of the Moon". Nothing big, just spent over 17 years on the Billboard 100 charts. Anybody else that can say that?
Let us know when you write a tune or two! Yeah right.
"Is there anybody out there"?

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Posted by Steve Lane on 07/12/2012 at 5:07 PM

If only lip-synching were the biggest problem with The Wall, which was written and performed by one of the most hypocritical of the entire hypocritical classic-rock lot. Roger Waters is second only to Bono in wrapping himself in the very corporate bloat that he criticizes, and then charging his fans a car payment just to see it. Screw him and his overblown anti-rock & roll... And God bless Syd. Bet he was happier and more content with himself, even in his insanity.

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Posted by Brian, your savior on 07/12/2012 at 6:21 PM

You obviously know nothing about anything. I've watched this show on YouTube videos from up close and every other angle there is. Not to mention live at the very show you're criticising. The band played perfect, because they are professional musicians. Yes, Roger uses backing vocals. Almost every musician uses some sort of vocal enhancement in their shows. The only time he wasn't actually singing, was during "follow the worms" unless that was the loudest bullhorn ever made. And if you thought you were going to a "rock concert" you went to the wrong place. You cant do The Wall outside of a theatrical type performance. It is theatrical/rock piece. So, I'm not sure what you were expecting to see. I saw the greatest rock event I've ever seen, as well as 99.9% of the rest of the audience. This show just proved what I've always said. Roger can do it without Gilmour. But Gilmour lacks one thing. Rogers vision, and voice to make Pink Floyd what its really supposed to be. I say, hats off to you Roger. You now are finally getting the recognition you've always deserved. Bravo!

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Posted by bullitt on 07/12/2012 at 8:46 PM

It's amazing how many of you are in denial. ROGER WATERS HIMSELF says that he uses pre-recorded tracks and has never denied lip synching.
"roger waters lip synch" - google it.

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Posted by Denial, a river in Egypt on 07/13/2012 at 9:58 AM

It's a debate that's been going on for years:
http://forum.neptunepinkfloyd.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=17802&start=0

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Posted by The Wall on 07/13/2012 at 10:19 AM

Pompous dickhead review.

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Posted by Douglas W. Canipe on 07/16/2012 at 7:31 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ3-MBgAS60…

Why would someone who's not really singing do this?

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Posted by bullitt on 07/16/2012 at 9:13 AM

Have watched all clips of RW performing C.Numb at Time Warner and at no point does his microphone fall to his hips while vocal continues. His mic is to his mouth at all times he is singing. The only time his mic is near his hips is when his co-vocalist takes over the Gilmour sections and Waters mouths the words to the crowd - he always does this, its part of the act, but he is not miming to his own voice, he's simply mouthing the words of his co-singer. Either this "incident" happened in a different song (which brings the reviews powers of observation into total disrepute), or didn't happen at all. The video EVIDENCE is that there was no microphone drop during the Waters vocal sections on Comfrtably NUmb at Time Warner. Matter closed,

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Posted by Super Sleuth on 07/16/2012 at 10:37 AM

Wow what a review. Makes me wonder if you were even there ? First the song titles you give, are either not correct or incomplete. Secondly, ummm hello is there anybody out there - he's performing THE WALL. A true fan knows all of the songs on this album, and doesn't need a Spears-like setlist of songs that were played. Thus, can one believe the accusations of lip-synching by someone who may have ghost attended ?

Seems like you weren't really into going to the show in the first place (if you really did) and just wanted to give this a poor review, so you could be the exception to the rest of the stunning reviews across the GLOBE, for some personal publicity-gain, rather than agree with the masses (BTW, NY Times rated this the best arena show period).

For the record I've seen this tour 3 times, Roger’s DSOTM twice and Floyd twice. The shows are second to none, in terms of the full musical and visual experience. You will not go home disappointed, (especially if you were there). Floyd / Roger has never done this for the money but for the fans. When you engage 33 transport trailers for the Pulse tour, and build a 3 storey x 140 yard Wall for this tour, means you are investing in the show, for the fan.

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Posted by Sam B on 07/16/2012 at 6:19 PM
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