Lunatics Again (Original Master Series OMS 061-065)
Lunatics Again is an ambitious set of four audio discs with a DVD. The title and front cover suggests many reunions between Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Pink Floyd, but the paucity of actual reunions in the past thirty years really prevents this.
The only time they played together since The Final Cut have been at Live 8 in 2005 and a set for the Hoping Foundation Benefit on July 10th, 2010, and only the latter is included in this collection on the DVD.
The audio discs present concert radio broadcasts seventeen years apart but in similar circumstances. The first two discs contain a WNEW broadcast from the Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1985, Waters’ first US tour as a solo artist promoting is latest work The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking. The second two discs cover the Santiago, Chile broadcast in 2002, his first visit to South America.
Both of these shows have been released before, but Original Master Series utilize new, far superior sounding tapes compared to what what has been out before.
Lunatics Again is packaged in a fatboy jewel case which can hold the five discs comfortably. OMS also have a large cardboard slip cover made of very thick, glossy cardboard paper. The inserts have photos from throughout Roger’s career, from the days of Pink Floyd through the Hoping Foundation Benefit. And the discs themselves are 24k gold. Overall this is one of the nicest packaged Roger Waters titles produced and is worth having.
Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY – March 28th, 1985
Disc 1 (60:00): DJ Intro., Roger introduces “Ringo,” Welcome To The Machine, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Money, If, Wish You Were Here, Pigs On The Wing (part 1), The Final Cut Suite, The Gunner’s Dream, In The Flesh, Nobody Home
Disc 2 (74:01): Have A Cigar, Another Brick In The Wall Part 1, The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall Part 2, DJ intro., 4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Traveling Abroad), 4:33 AM (Running Shoes), 4:37 AM (Arabs With Knives And West German Skies), 4:39 AM (For The First Time Today – part 2), 4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution), 4:47 AM (The Remains Of Our Love), 4:50 AM (Go Fishing), 4:56 AM (For The First Time Today – part 1), 4:58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin), 5:01 AM (The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking), 5:06 AM (Every Strangers Eyes), 5:11 AM (The Moment Of Clarity), band introduction, Brain Damage, Eclipse, DJ closing comments
Roger Waters played seventeen shows in the US spread over a month with three at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The third and final New York show was broadcast on the Westwood One syndication network and was the world’s first holophonic radio broadcast.
A previous release of this performance can be found on Complete Hitch Hiking Performance (Highland HL185/186) released in 1998. Highland utilized a high generation, fuzzy and distorted copy off of the air.
OMS use a different, much better sounding source than Highland. It’s much more clear and enjoyable. Unlike Highland, OMS include the interviews, station IDs and air checks throughout the broadcast. Some prefer a clean copy of the recording, but hearing the show within its original radio broadcast gives good historical context for the performance.
Waters’ band, dubbed “The Bleeding Hearts Band,” changed slightly from the 1984 shows. Eric Clapton left (according to Rolling Stone because he was tired “of the rigidity of it),” Chris Stainton and Tim Renwick. Jay Stapely and Andy Fairweather-Low were added.
The broadcast begins with the Westwood One DJ explaining the show from the Radio City Music Hall (home of the Rockettes he points out) and Waters explains “Ringo,” the holophonic microphone. He also gives a short demonstration of the depth and detail the the microphone is able to pick up.
The first half of the show is devoted to Pink Floyd classics, revamped for the new band and reinterpreted with an eighties feel. “Welcome To The Machine” and “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” are played at a faster tempo with a heavier rock beat. The latter especially sounds very strange compared to the original version from the sixties.
“Money” is given a “big band” approach with jazzy saxophone breaks by Mel Collins in competition with Andy Fairweather-Low’s majestic flourishes on the guitar.
The “Final Cut Suite” listed on the artwork is “Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert” and “Southampton Dock” which forms a medley with “The Gunner’s Dream.”
Waters has fun in “In The Flesh” adding do-wop style interjections between verses, embellishing the parody. The “oldies” section of the show ends with “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” with a repeated verse.
There is a short intermission afterwards (with the DJ giving a play-by-play of Waters’ activities onstage). The second half is devoted to the entire Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking LP. The holophonic microphone is put to good use during the piece, capturing the complex sound effects used to augment the stage show.
Some differences in the lyrics can be found between the record and live performance. “4:33 (Running Shoes)” has the extra verse: “Ooh Babe, where ya been? / You bring back the feeling / the flavor of damp teenage skin / and hot afternoons by the river / spent crushing the clover / I said ‘Lie down, roll over / I wanna go back there again’ / Oh baby, sweet Fassbinder lady / ooh, where ya been?” and after “4:41 (Sexual Revolution)” he repeats the line “let’s go to the country” several times.
The music and themes are very challenging. There are many somewhat familiar melodies in the piece (like “In The Flesh” in “4:50 Go Fishing” among others). Stripped of the visuals, it’s hard to follow the dream-like narrative. The audience do respond throughout the piece, however, and can be heard cheering and whistling throughout.
The show ends with “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse,” his most well-known contribution to Dark Side Of The Moon, so the audience can leave with something familiar. The final track is the closing comments of the Westwood One host Mark McEwing giving all the technical credits of the broadcast.
Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile – March 5th, 2002
Disc 3 (78:48): In The Flesh, Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2), Mother, Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert / Southampton Dock, Pigs On The Wing (Part 1), Dogs, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5), Welcome To The Machine, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9), Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Disc 4 (76:54): Speak To Me, Breathe, Time, Breathe (reprise), Money, 5:06 Every Strangers Eyes, Perfect Sense (Part 1), Perfect Sense (Part 2), The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range, It’s A Miracle, Amused To Death, Brain Damage, Eclipse, band introduction, Comfortably Numb, Each Small Candle
Waters’ show in Chile was the third stop on the world tour that continued to Argentina, Brazil, Japan and other Asian countries and finally ending in June in the UK. The set list was pretty much unchanged from the US tours in 1999 and 2000.
This show was released previously as Live Flesh Chile (Oh! Dog 001-1-3-The Amazing Krag-and-Sound Inc.) put out by the Tarantura people as a three disc set, and was later issued in Europe on Shine On (Filou Flu-023) published in a gorgeous digipack.
Lunatics Again utilizes a different source than Filou Flu. It is much more lush, full, and dynamic and doesn’t have the disc jockey IDs scattered throughout the broadcast.
For many and various reasons the South American the big and legendary groups never treated nations to tours in their prime. So when Waters made his first appearance it was treated as an event, and such is the weight given to this show. Given Waters’ socialist sympathies, his concerts in this region have more political undercurrents than an average rock concert.
Hector Aravena for the Rockaxis: El universe del rock wrote about this appearance: “A warm calm night with a mysterious air, it could not have been better background to receive the almost mythical Roger Waters, who stood with his black bass, like an archetypal image for the times past.
“And it turned out to be almost paradoxical the English musician’s performance, because in spite of being considered a pessimistic and even existentialist, their show overflowed with magic, happiness that overwhelmed the senses. We are not able to more than to say that it was an overwhelming, blinding concert, with a perfect quadraphonic sound, a band that demonstrated it belongs on the first level and it continued, full with emotion, the three hours that the concert lasted.”
The first half a massive retrospective of Pink Floyd material and the second being and Amused To Death suite sandwiched between Dark Side material. One song from Pros And Cons Of Hitch-Hiking and nothing from Radio KAOS were included, and the three numbers from The Final Cut were played as medley on tunes. The weight falls upon the Pink Floyd songs and his latest (decade old at this point) solo offering.
He begins with “In The Flesh,” a self-conscious parody of seventies style arena rock. The opening tunes form suite of music from The Wall with “The Happiest Days Of Our Lives,” a huge sing-along in “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” and “Mother.”
From Animals Waters chooses to perform “Dogs.” It is an interesting choice because the song, which began life as “You Gotta Be Crazy” is a David Gilmour tune. “Sheep” or “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” would have been more obvious choices.
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5” is given an abbreviated performance. “Welcome To The Machine” is played in the same arrangement as on the 1984-1985 concerts, and the audience turn “Wish You Were Here” into another loud sing-along. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9” lacks the schizophrenic slide guitar solo from the In The Flesh tour.
“Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” is played in the same arrangement introduced in 1984 with the saxophones taking their turns in the fun. A bulk of the opening to Dark Side Of The Moon, from “Speak To Me” to “Money” forms the opening of the second half of the show. “Money” has a very strange guitar solo in the middle.
The ranting “5:06 (Every Strangers Eyes)” is the only representative from Pros And Cons. “5.01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking),” with its disco beat, would have been a better choice from the album.
A significant amount of songs from Amused To Death occupy much of the latter half of the show. “Perfect Sense (Part 1)” begins with the clip from 2001: A Space Odyssey where David Bowman is turning off HAL’s brain functions. Director Stanley Kubrick didn’t allow Waters to use it on the album, but his death in 1999 enabled Waters to use it as an introduction in live performance.
The idea Waters wants to convey is based upon the Neil Postman book Amusing Ourselves To Death. Just as HAL’s brain was turned off, so too does the media turn off our higher critical thinking and subverts meaningful political discourse. All the songs from that album touch upon that theme, whether it speaks about how complex international issues are reduced to simple catch phrases (“Perfect Sense (Part 1)),” reducing international conflict into a sports event (with Marv Albert providing the play-by-play as in “Perfect Sense (Part 2)),” or how capitialism trivializes the importance of culture (“It’s A Miracle”).
The show ends with several familiar Pink Floyd tunes including a rip-roaring version of “Comfortably Numb” with Snowy White duplicating the famous guitar solo. The unreleased “Each Small Candle,” which the audience turn into another sing-along, closes the show.
Roger Waters & David Gilmour at the Hoping Foundation Benefit Evening, Kiddington Hall, Oxfordshire, England – July 10th, 2010
DVD (26:50): Introduction, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Another Brick In The Wall Part 2
The DVD captures the reunion of David Gilmour and Roger Waters in July 2010. Filmed by Gilmour’s wife Polly, it is a one camera shoot from a distance from the stage. The sound is very clear, however, and the picture steady meaning it’s very enjoyable to watch.
The band consisted of David, Roger, Guy Pratt (bass and acoustic guitar), Harry Waters (keyboards), Andy Newmark (drums), Chester Kamen (guitar) and Jonjo Grisdale (keyboards). Quite a line-up, who performed in front of 200 very lucky people, raising some £350,000 for the Hoping Foundation (Hope and Optimism for Palestinians In the Next Generation) in the process.
“This wasn’t my idea” Waters says as he points to Gilmour. They perform The Teddybears’ “To Know Him Is To Love Him” and “Wish You Were Here” as acoustic duets. “Comfortably Numb” and “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” are given full-band electric treatments.
There was some uneasiness surrounding the nature of the charity. VVN Music, for instance, printed a disclaimer when they posted the video of the reunion. The website makes a universal statement about causes in videos, but reader comments suggest an organization wanting to help Palestinians is anti-Semetic and anti-Israel, a notion that is patently absurd and is exactly the kind of shallow political discourse Waters criticizes in Amused To Death.
Roger Waters and David Gilmour titles have been hard to find lately, even though the former has been touring extensively the past couple of years. Lunatics Again, even though most of the material is older, is a magnificent release for collectors of this material. For both Radio City and Santiago Chile, this release is definitive and the DVD is a nice inclusion.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)