Roger Waters is a man who became musically irrelevant in 1984. He left Pink Floyd when they wouldn't become his hired guns - a case of ego over talent - and set about creating his own vision that was 100% Floydian without anyone bar him interfering in his precious vision. He took the flying pig, he took the mirror ball and background projections, he took the self pity, and left the rest of his bandmates little more then a name and a boatload of writs.
This is not to say that Roger isn't talented - but more to say that perhaps his bitterness over Floyds success without him often overshadows his abilities. His sleevenotes resemble the kind of unconnected psychobabble that only the truly, astonishingly rich can produce. Take this approximation of a sentence "our lust for concomitant acclaim was so great that genuine creative endeavour, and the authentic pleasures that derive from it, and thus devolve to everyone else, were put on hold.". Does that make sense? Thought not. And this comes from a man who seems to promote the idea of democratic band working, yet can only be described by everyone whose worked with (I mean, for) him since 1975 as a virtual dictator.
This CD offers little more than cover versions of songs Roger wrote in a band he used to be in and a handful of his other songs. The material is mostly performed by session musicians - some of whom replaced Roger in the new version of the Floyd (that Roger himself called "Pink Fraud", yet called upon when he need his own Pink Fraud) and others chosen to originally impersonate Pink Floyd for the 1980 "Wall" tour.
Anyway, musically speaking, this album is a fair approximation of what a Pink Floyd live album might have been like if he'd stayed in the band. In all respects bar name, it is Roger Waters trying to recreate his former band, and not always successfully. Well over three-quarters of the album draw upon songs that are over 20 years old, and whilst it features live versions of some undeservedly obscure Floyd material such as "Pigs On The Wing" and "Dogs", there are also some startling omissions. Why not, for example, the full verson of "Pigs On The Wing", seen as the original guest guitarist who arranged it is in the live band line up? or some more songs from the demented "Final Cut"?
Ther are also several areas of concern here. The production on some songs is a bit rough and cheap. The performances - such as "Comfortably Numb" and "Brain Damage/Eclipse" fall uncomfortably short of the original versions and sound like a bad covers band attempting them, the soloing on several songs is noticably poorer than the original versions, and the vocals on some songs are weak and thin, espeically when Roger tries to sing songs that the other vocalists in Pink Floyd recorded, and he gave to them to sing because they were better singers in the first place. And whilst it shouldn't matter, one of the guitarists looks like a bank manager in a pale grey suit & tie. Which probably gives you an idea of how rock n roll he is.
Overall, Roger Water didn't leave Pink Floyd for musical reasons, and it shows here. Only 6 of the 24 songs have been released outside of Pink Floyd, and to be honest, Pink Floyd do the other songs better. Some of the songs are excellent and deserve wider recognituion, as the Floyd sink into an afterthought in rock history (despite what MOJO irelevantly babbles on about as it tries to shift copies to your Dad), it becomes obvious that he is only a quarter of Pink Floyd, and therefore, not as good as the final Roger-less line up which was three-quarters of The Floyd. A shadow, if you will, of previous achievements.
Its worth buying if you either have too much money, are a Pink Floyd completist, are fed up with the absence of new Floyd material, or can find it cheap and want to hear an alternative to the "Echoes" collection, just don't expect it to be brilliant, and you won't be disappointed.
6Mark Reed's Score