Roger Waters brought his This Is Not A Drill Tour to the Amway Center in downtown Orlando, Florida on August 25th, 2022. Fans entering the home arena for the NBA’s Orlando Magic were seated around a large cross-shaped stage covering the entire court area. Some were seated on the floor within each corner of the cross; the rest filled the stadium seating from top to bottom. As the show was scheduled to begin, most of the stage remained filled by a giant three-dimensional cross which was actually a video wall. Waters is most well-known as the founder of and primary songwriter for rock-and-roll legends Pink Floyd. His second career as a solo artist has featured several socially conscious albums over the years, the most recent being 2017’s Is This The Life We Really Want?.
Waters is also well-known for deeply researched, nuanced and controversial takes on politics and policy.
As the show was scheduled to start, a series of recorded voiceovers from Waters played along with the content on the screens. The first was an announcement that the show would begin in 15 minutes, which led to a mass exodus towards the bars and merch tables. Two other warnings played, at 10 minutes and 5 minutes, further amping up the pre-show drama. Finally, Roger welcomed everyone to the show and presented one final warning, to the effect of, “I know that some of you may love Pink Floyd, but wish Roger Waters was not so political. Well, I invite those of you to kindly fuck off at the bar.” With that, a moody video played on the screens as the stage remained dark and a completely deconstructed version of “Comfortably Numb” was performed, with Waters delivering his vocals from offstage.
As the music continued into “Another Brick In The Wall”, the screens were hoisted to the rafters, Roger Waters made his way onto the stage and the large band of talented musicians was revealed. The rest of the show continued to be organized in mini suites of related music. Next up were three solo songs — one of which, “The Bar”, is yet to be released.
The second side of the “Wish You Were Here” album came next, followed by “Sheep” to close out the first set.
Intermission provided a chance to once again hit the bars and merch, in between finding an open bathroom. All the while, an inflatable pig circled the arena to amuse and entertain. Set two began with some more selections from The Wall and then two excellent songs from the 2017 solo album. Finally, the highlight of the night began, with a complete rendition of side two from The Dark Side Of The Moon.
Encore time brought a mellow and emotional conclusion to the evening, with the final song recorded by the classic Pink Floyd lineup: “Two Sons In The Sunset”, leading into the reprise of “The Bar” and the closing track off The Wall. It is an incredible testament to the enduring quality of songs which Roger Waters and Pink Floyd created, when you can fill an entire setlist with songs pulled primarily from side two of each album and not leave any fan wanting for anything more.
I cannot recommend this tour highly enough if you ever enjoyed Pink Floyd. Fans of all ages could be clearly seen emotionally singing along and moving to the classic sounds. The band was just fantastic — that is really what I think. The sounds, the effects and the songs are meant to be enjoyed in a large communal setting. Go see Roger Waters — This Is Not A Drill!
Photography by Johnnie Crow