There’s so much to take in from a concert like the one staged by Roger Waters, the legendary Pink Floyd singer and bassist, at Staples Center on Tuesday, but let’s start near the finish with “Us and Them,” a track off the iconic album “Dark Side Of The Moon” and the song that that provided the name for the 73-year-old Englishman’s current Us + Them tour.
Musically it rests on the dreamier side of Waters’ and the Floyd’s sound, a gentle sonic wave that evokes a feeling of floating through space as the song unfolds. Lyrically it hits on the themes that have been his focus — you might say obsession — for most of his career: The cruelty of war, the danger of authoritarianism, the numbness of everyday living, the need to wake up and love one another, to find empathy for the suffering, be that the beggar on the street or a refugee child in a shantytown.
Glorious and moving music, a call to action, a righteous warning, and we haven’t even gotten to Waters’ typically inventive audio-visual production and stage design in this show that spanned 23 numbers over two-and-a-half hours for the first of his three nights at the Los Angeles arena this week.
The show opened with a taped intro of “Speak To Me” as Waters and his eight or nine musicians arrived on stage, followed by “Breathe,” the same way his standout sets at Desert Trip last fall began, but small differences popped up immediately between those shows on a vast and expansive stage beneath the desert stars and what he’s doing in the arenas for Us + Them. The video clips on the screens behind the stage seemed different early in the show, though the same ominous silver orb that floated throughout the visuals in October was present here as well.
“Money,” one of Pink Floyd’s most-recognizable hits, drew the first huge outpouring of cheers from the crowd, while “The Great Gig In The Sky” provided a showcase for the soaring vocals of Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of the group…