Roger Waters brings Pink Floyd back to life at the Bell Center

Roger Waters brings Pink Floyd to life at the Bell Center


The Bell Center lights went out on Friday night around 8:30 p.m. as a warning was read to the public: “if you're here because you love Pink Floyd, but you can't stand the politics of Roger Waters, go fuck yourself at the bar”.

An unequivocal message that set the tone for this evening spent in the company of the former leader of the British band (legendary), which reached its peak in the 1970s. At times, the concert was all about social film, denouncing injustices and campaigning to restore their rights to those who have seen them violated, while the music could almost appear incidental to the images and messages presented.

Roger Waters, 78, offered a concert full of old hits popularized by his group, notably from the albums “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973) and “The Wall” (1979), through which he also played of his tracks, such as “The Bar”, “Déjà vu”, “The Powers That Be” and Is This the Life We Really Want?

From Pink Floyd, the musician played 'The Happiest Days of Our Lives', 'In the Flesh', 'Run Like Hell' and well-extended 'Another Brick in the Wall', undeniably among the favorites of the public who has up from his seat to sing it loud and clear.

Pushed back two years due to the pandemic, the show “This Is Not a Drill” has repeatedly echoed some shocking events that have unfolded in recent years. On the giant screens, which floated above the ice of the Canadians, protest animations – very well imaged – and politically and socially committed messages, decrying in particular American policy, inaction on poverty, elitism, abortion, ultranationalism, police brutality, war and the migrant crisis, were broadcast throughout the concert.

An unconventional scene

The show opened, slightly late — as every 10-minute, then five-minute slot was reminded of the impending start — on “Comfortably Numb.” Clear, dark, somewhat gloomy images slowly swept away buildings, then an army of citizens, eyes riveted on the screen of their cellphones, while thunder and a Gregorian chant were heard. The camera stopped on a flying pig (a nod to Orwell's work that will return later in the show) and at the same time the screen wall lifted, revealing the scene.

An unconventionally shaped scene; a kind of square with four footbridges on each side. The whole thing was bordered by a band of red L.E.D lights, which occasionally turned green, turquoise, pink, blue and white. However, red was predominant. The videos broadcast during the songs were almost all tinged with it, except when Waters, who was rather talkative during this concert, addressed the crowd or during walks, as for “Wish You Were Here”. A performance which moreover seemed to greatly please the public, who sang each of the words very loudly.

And a rather rare occurrence for the amphitheater, all the seats were released for this show, where none had an obstructed view of the stage.

Returning from intermission, a flying pig (a kind of dirigible balloon) on which was inscribed “steal it from the poor and give to the rich” flew in the Bell Centre.

Among the other thorny subjects pointed out by the singer before intermission: the abolition of the right to abortion in the United States, COVID-19 and firearms fire.

Roger Waters' “This Is Not A Drill” tour will stop in Quebec City this Sunday