Roger Waters and G.E. Smith – A Genius Portrait (Eat A Peach EAT 86/87)

rogerwaters-a-genius-portrait1-300x300A Genius Portrait (Eat A Peach EAT 86/87)

Bay Theater, Sag Harbor, NY, USA – October 30, 2015

Disc 1 (49:56) Introduction, When The Tigers Broke Free, Mother, Poem, Crystal Clear Brooks, Hello In There, Blowin’ In The Wind, Safe And Sound

Disc 2 (51:37) We Shall Overcome, Roger Talking, Poem, Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb, Lay Down Jerusalem, Forever Young

In the summer of 2015 Roger Waters played the Newport Folk Festival with an interesting group of musicians, the rock band My Morning Jacket and guitarist GE Smith. Of course Smith was no stranger to Waters, he had played on the The Wall tour and he and Roger had formed a friendship. The most interesting thing about the Newport performance is that it featured no elaborate visual show, and a most interesting and somewhat eclectic mixture of songs. The duo of Smith and Waters would then join an all star roster of musicians in Washington DC in October to play the Music Heals Benefit Concert, what made that appearance so special is that the backing band was made up of disabled veterans called the Musicorps band, there are many videos on youtube and it is very inspiring to see how music can heal and bring solace to war damaged people. If that was not enough, Roger would end the month of October by playing the 300 seat Bay Theater together with GE Smith, this time it would be just He and Roger in an intimate acoustic evening of music, this new release from the Eat A Peach folks captures this rare event.

There was a strict no recording of any kind policy, so the taper went into full stealth mode using a Zoom H4n and internal mics, and in a true case of paranoia, the taper said he could feel security breathing down his neck. The sound is excellent, since the recorder was probably in his pocket the really quiet sections are lower volume but the recording does a nice job of capturing the event. The recording starts just prior to Taylor Barton’s (wife of GE Smith) introduction and the capacity audience is treated to the second known live version of When The Tigers Broke Free, wonderfully simplistic it sounds like GE plays a bit of banjo as well as electric giving it an Earthy feel. Roger tells the audience he is not accustom to playing small theaters and much to the delight of the crowd delivers the opening chords of Mother. What makes this rendition so nice is we get to hear Roger sing David Gilmour’s parts, his rendition is really nice and is a bit Dylanesque. Crystal Clear Brooks is played next, having been played at both Newport and Music Heals, it features Roger on piano.

What makes this recording special is we get to hear some rare covers, first is a cover of John Prine’s Hello In There, again it was played at Newport and a really nice version of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind. In fact one can make the assumption that Dylan has been a tremendous influence on Roger, and staying true to form the last thing we hear on the first disc is Roger defiantly saying “If you’re one of those people say “I Love Pink Floyd but I hate your fucking politics”…you would do well to fuck off to the bar now”, for those who do not know, there was a protest over Roger’s politics. After a version of the folk classic We Shall Overcome, Roger and GE have a discussion about Roger’s love of 60’s folk music, this leads to the final poem that many could take as being politically charged but is more of commentary not too far from what the protesters reviled about in the late 60’s.

After a nice version of Wish You Were Here, Roger talks of being in the studio and writing the song, something Dave shares co ownership with, there is a surprisingly casual interplay between Waters, Smith and the audience and they play a snippet of Comfortably Numb then talk of The Wall tour and hotels like a group of friends at a cocktail party. Roger’s politically charged Lay Down Jerusalem follows and finishes the main set. The duo returns for one last number, a take on Bob Dylan’s Forever Young. For me Roger’s version is similar to what is found on The Band’s The Last Waltz, it is a loose version as Roger calls out for a solo and GE reply’s with a beautiful one. Roger deplores the audience to join in, they do and is a fine way to cap the evening.

The packaging is beautiful, in conjunction with the title, the label uses a cross section of pictures spanning Roger’s career and then with the addition of splashes of water color makes for a very attractive looking package, a true geniuses portrait. The Lazy Goalkeeper does another excellent job with the liner notes and we get pictures on the CD’s as well. A very nice release, a sublime performance from one of rocks most opinionated artists.

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  1. the very unfortunate fact that “Comfortably Numb” is actually just a very tiny snippet, and therefore virtually non-existent, makes Eat a Peach’s listing of it on the artwork as a regular track without any mention whatsoever that it’s just a very tiny snippet a rather disgusting and/or outrageous disappointment…quite a low blow from them! i had thought very highly of Eat a Peach overall…until this ridiculous bit (of crap)


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