British Summer Time kicked off in style with a simply stunning politically charged performance by headliner Roger Waters. The set travelled through the Pink Floyd back catalogue together with several tracks from Waters’ latest solo album Is This The Life We Really Want.
The set kicked off with recording of 'Breathe' from Dark Side of the Moon, it was strange the voices and effects coming over my left shoulder, Yes, Waters' had only brought the whole surround sound production to a field, it was just like being in an arena. During 'One of These Days' Waters' strutted up and down the stage, for the rest of the evening he was centre stage with the band. 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2' saw Waters joined by school children from the Grenfell community (specifically The Rugby Portobello Trust) taking to the stage dressed in Guantanamo Bay prisoner boiler suits, by the end of the song they had broken free to reveal t-shirts bearing the one word – ‘RESIST’.
After the 20 minute break the sun had set and the visuals came into their own. While performing 'Dogs' Battersea Power station was emerging from the rubble with four chimneys above the stage supporting 'the pig'. . The band took a wine break wearing pig masks, more akin to Slipknot, Waters held a banner with 'Pigs Rule' which was received with a luke warm reception, a few moments later he raised another banner with 'Fuck the Pigs' which got a huge cheer from the 65,000 crowd.
'Pigs (3 different ones)' the huge screens projected none to flattering images of Trump ending with 'TRUMP IS A PIG'. 'Money' was preceded with another Trump monologue as the screens flashed up images of the huge disparity between the haves and have nots.
Prior to the stunning finale of of the show 'Comfortably Numb' including the 'Darkside of the Moon' prism formed from lasers and firework display Waters appeared in a Palestine keffiyeh and said
“We’re all faced with a choice – all of us – and that choice is whether or not we believe in the contents of the Universal Declaration of Human Right in Paris in 1948,” he told the crowd. “The Declaration states that all of us here in this beautiful park, all of us in this country, all our brothers and sisters all over the world deserve equal and civil rights. And these rights … are irrespective of ethnicity or religion. So they would extend to my brothers and sisters in Palestine.”
The performance was one of the best I have witnessed in a field, including musicianship, setlist, graphics and getting a message across.
Earlier in the day Seasick Steve opened the Great Oak stage with a laid back performance of old favourites and tracks from his forthcoming album . It seems the older he gets the longer the chat between tracks last, but there is no getting away from his affection for us Brits, he commented:
“The people in the UK gave me this beautiful job. I’ll never forget that and I’ll always be grateful."
Richard Ashcroft gave a performance that managed to deliver a set that met with my hopes and fears. Ashcroft's voice is as strong as ever and the band were excellent performing a mixture of his solo work and The Verve's classics, including: 'Sonnet', 'The Drugs Don't Work' and 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'.
However, Ashcroft is a touchy soul and when a wag in the front shouted "Wonderwall", it was the opportunity for the obligatory rant, about the middle classes and how he has written loads of classics (and listed them).
On the Barclaycard Stage, Squeeze had pulled a huge crowd, they didn't need to tell people how great they are, they just preformed some of their pop/rock classics for us all to sing along to, the only problem was there was hardly any time to get back in time to see Roger Waters.
Roger Waters Setlist
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, The 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 and Them, Smell the Roses, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Comfortably Numb
Article by: Mick Game
Photos by: Dave J Hogan