Us and Them. A Tail of enduring music.

As the title of this blog suggests, I had just recently finally sat down and watched, the Roger Waters tour, US and Them. The link to the show posted on my YouTube playlist is linked right here: 👇

I had put off seeing the show that was recorded back in 2019, not because of lack of interest, but because I had too much going on at the time with work and family at the time. I had always planned on returning to the concert but as time usually goes, I had forgotten about it when other things in life pop up.

To say that I’m a Pink Floyd fan, would be an understatement. I’m lucky enough to have seen them live three separate times. Pulse, Delete Sound of Thunder and The Wall back when it was the original lineup of Waters, Gilmore, Mason and Wright. What a show that was! Not to say that the other two concerts weren’t good, they were excellent, but too see the original members together was something magical. Unfortunately, I’d never get to see them play all together after that. What a shame. But more about that later.

I never had the opportunity and experience to take in a Roger Waters show, which is a huge shame because I don’t think I will ever have that experience. But, never say never right? Right!?

What finally reminded me to watch this show, 3 years later? Well, if you read my previous blog, you would remember me talking about a band called Lucius. Holly and Jess, the two founding members and lead singers of the band joined Roger on this tour. I had just recently discovered them after watching a Roger Waters Lockdown sessions video. Link here: 👇

I then started going back into their catalog of music, which finally brought me to the US and Them tour. Not only did Roger Waters sound fantastic both both girls did a fantastic job a background vocals. Link to a performance here:

As I watched the show, I found myself getting emotionally nostalgic. I was lost in the music and the performances. It made me miss those days back in 81. When the concert was over, all I could think about was a final reunion show that might ever come. All members are pushing 80 now. One would think that age and the passing of time, some reconciliation between Waters and David Gilmore would happen. It still might, never say never, right? But, I’m not hopeful. Besides, it wouldn’t be a full band reunion because Richard Wright passed away in 2008.

I speak of a reunion, I’m not talking about the one off reunion they did at the live 8 concert in 2005, which was broadcast on Canada day here, and I left celebrations with friends to watch the 3 song performance. I’m talking about a tour. ( A man can dream right?) Both Waters and Gilmore have said that this would never happen. So, Both men continue to keep the Pink Floyd legacy alive separately.

Going back to that Roger Waters show, what I found emotional, was that there was a wide range of ages in the audience coming together for one common goal, music. To see these young kids and adults singing together and enjoying the music was a sight to see, and a testament to the legacy of Pink Floyd, and Roger Waters. Too see them tear up at a song made me feel emotionally proud, and even made me tear up.

Even Roger himself teared up at the end when he addressed the audience. What a proud moment as a fan, as a viewer. I can only imagine the feeling Roger had at that moment. At his age, 74, at that time, could this be his final concert? Let’s hope not. Time will tell.

I know there are a lot of people who aren’t fans of Roger Waters because of his personal stance and political views, but if you put all that aside, you have a music legend. A man who has written and performed for over 50 years. A true music revolutionist. I myself, in my younger years, found it distracting from the music, but as I got older, came to realize and understand what he was saying. Lately, now as I am in my 50s, agreeing with some of the things he is saying, especially about the message being said during the show.

Fuck the system. Fuck these government types who feel they have our best interests in mind. The only people that have our best interests at heart, is ourselves. But more on that later on in a different blog. What I’m saying here, is that, people’s political beliefs have no bearing on the good music they play. Providing your a fan of that particular music.

Anyway, I highly recommend you watch the US and Them tour. Whether your a newbie or a Pink Floyd/ Roger Water aficionado, the music, performances and visual presentation is amazing.

See you all on the next one. Rock on….

New Music…The Journey

I’m always interested in finding and listening to new bands but lately my journey hasn’t been successful, I find new bands today, to put it bluntly, shit. There is no substance to new music, there’s no relying on the most powerful instrument,  the voice. There’s no band playing instruments,  and what I mean by that is, there is no texture,  no sitting back and taking the sounds in. That complex sound that different instruments make when played separately or together.  Gone are the days when bands would play 10-15 minute songs, if not longer. Gone are the days you can put an album on and get lost in the complexity,  the texture,  the instruments. Gone are the days when you can close your eyes,  and open then up again after a song is finished and say, wow, how fucking amazing is was that.  I know rely on the classic bands of yesterday for that journey,  bands like, Pink Floyd,  early Genesis, early Rush, Triumph,  CSN, EL&P, The Moody Blues etc. Even some of the Metal bands took you on a journey,  like Rainbow,  Black Sabbath, Judas Priest etc. 

There is no instrument structure anymore.  For example,  Billie Eilish, I don’t see any talent there whatsoever, yet she has her fans and her awards. She has a vocal resemblance to Amy Winehouse, who had talent I might add, I might not have been a big fan of hers, but he had my respect as an artist. Shame her demons were too much for her and she was taken way too young. Anyway, I am only using Billie Eilish as and example here, but if you listen to the new James Bond theme, No Time to Die, it sounds cold and out of place so to speak. The orchestra sounds amazing, but Billie’s voice sounds out of place like it was overdubbed over the music. There was heart and substance in the orchestra, but no heart and substance in the vocals. Shame as it has the sound of the James Bond themes of the 60s and 70s. I personally think it would have been better off as an orchestral instrumental.

I haven’t heard any new bands that have impressed me. It’s been new releases of bands and artists that have been around for a while. The new Nightwish album, Epica, Kansas, Blue Oyster Cult came back this year and showed these new artists how it is done. Steve Hackett released a fantastic album last year and released an instrumental album this year, both fantastic albums.

So, I have been listening to indie bands trying to find some resemblance of music. There is a lot of hidden talent out there somewhere. Which leads me to this band, Lucius. Apparently they have been together for 11 years now. I didn’t know anything about them until recently when I watched the Roger Waters Lockdown sessions. Which if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. You can find it on YouTube. He performs 5 songs, Bravery of Being out of Range, Mother, Vera, The Gunners Dream and Two Suns in a Sunset.

Apparently the the two girls from Lucius even toured with him on his, US and Them tour, which I never paid attention too. (Until now). The harmony in their vocal is amazing. Two different voices coming together to form one beautiful voice. I was blown away. I have been catching up on them this week and I have found some excitement in finding new music to listen to.

There are bands/ artists out there with good voices and talent. A new journey begins. Soundcloud is a big help in find indie talent. On my channel there, I have various different playlists focusing on good indie talent. There is a renewed interest now in me to find new exciting bands that haven’t been picked up and swayed by big record labels that don’t have artists best intrests at heart. All they care about is the next big hit or artists. They are the reason there is no structure anymore. Corporate greed has taken over. There is no thought or love for “music”.

The listener that still enjoy structure and soul in music keep the dream alive. We are the ones that crave music to take us away, to give us chills and goosebumps, we are the lucky ones to feel that and crave it. Those bands/ artists are out there. By luck we will find them.

The journey continues….

Doctor Who: Timelash Revisited

In 1985 I was a ripe young age of 14. At that time, Doctor Who was being played twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays on TV Ontario PBS station, and Saturday nights on an American PBS station out of Boston. That station edited the parts together like it was one long movie episode, which I liked, because it was less editing involved by me on my beta machine player. There were no spoilers back then, so I heavily relied on the TV Guide for a description of what the next Doctor Who was either going to be called and hopefully there was a Description of the episode. The week before, The Two Doctors had wrapped up, I was still beaming at the end of that episode. How exciting was it to see one of the earlier Doctors again on screen, played brilliantly by Patrick Troughton (The 2nd Doctor).

I waited eagerly for one of my parents to buy the TV guide since I yet didn’t have a job. That won’t come for another year. Every Friday, the next weeks Guide would be put up the on the Store shelves and I eagerly awaited it’s arrival. Sometimes, my parents waited until Saturday to pick up the TV guide for the week. On those days, I would grow impatient and walk down to the nearest department store, which for me at that time was across the street at Towers department store. I walked up to a closed cash register isle where magazines were on display and

flipped through the pages until I reached Tuesday and it read:

Timelash: The Doctor: Colin Baker. Part One. The people of Karfel are terrorized by the sinister Borad.

Then I turned the page to Thursday, same description.

Then I flipped the pages to Saturday night and the Description read. The Carnival of Monsters. 90 minutes. Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee) and Jo Grant become trapped in an alien peepshow.

It was a good time back then to be a Doctor Who fan, I had three nights a week to watch my favorite program! My mind would race after reading those descriptions, I couldn’t wait for Tuesday, Thursday nights to happen and then Saturday nights! Saturday nights were the special one. Not only did I get to see previous Doctors, I was able to stay up late and watch one long movie version of it. Tuesday and Thursday episodes aired at 7pm, Saturday nights would air at 11pm.

So here I am, after dinner sitting in my room waiting for Doctor Who to start. Laying on my bed, looking at the TV descriptions again before the episode would start then, the opening TV Ontario episode reminder would prep me:

“Coming up next, Doctor Who: Timelash.”

I scooted to the edge of my bed and waited. After a couple of station programming adds, the title music would play, then with a whoosh, the Doctor Who logo would appear then the name of the episode. It’s hard to describe the amount of excitement I had back then growing up on Doctor Who. I needed that escapism, that excitement. I needed my hero. They were the fastest 25 minutes on TV, only one other show would seen shorter in that same time limit, and that was the Muppet show.  Saturday nights. Went fast as well, but not as fast. Especially the 6- or 7-part stories that would start at 11pm and finish around 2:30am sometimes 3am. The War games was a marathon watch. That one I will tell on another podcast.

At this point, I should admit, that I wasn’t a Colin Baker fan at this time. I found his portrayal brash and cruel, especially towards Peri. I thought he was too violent towards his adversaries. A huge departure from my favorite Doctor Tom Baker, and even more so from the 5th Doctor. I also found it hard to take him seriously with that outfit that he wore. But I faithfully watched because it was Doctor Who.

I do remember liking the episode. I was thoroughly entertained; the cliffhangers were excellent. Upon original watch it was shown in 4 parts. It wasn’t until I was older and started to collect all the episodes on DVD when they became available, that I found out it was shown in two 45-minute episodes. I much preferred the shorter parts.

It wasn’t until I purchased the DVD and watched it 10 years ago now, that I finally saw some issues with the show. The biggest issue for me was, when did the 3rd Doctor and Jo Grant visit Karfel? The bickering the Doctor and Peri did was a huge turn off and took away from the story for me.

Fast forward to this week, I just watched the episode for the first time in 10 or so years in preparation for an upcoming Script Doctors live stream on YouTube. I have been re watching a lot of old classic episodes lately, and they still give me joy just like they did all those years ago.

Yes, the bickering still bothered me, but it didn’t take me out of the story. Yes, the 3rd Doctor reference still bothered me, but didn’t take me out of the story. I found myself enjoying Colin Baker’s performance.  There is some of aspects of the 1st Doctor in his attributes. I found myself paying less attention to his outfit and more to the story. Nicola Bryant was brilliant as Peri and did the damsel in distress perfectly. I enjoyed the banter between the Doctor and Herbert as well.

I found myself chuckling throughout the story. Especially when the characters were taking the piss out of each other. Especially Herbert towards the Doctor. I really enjoyed Paul Darrow”s performance as Tekker. He was brilliantly over the top evil. It was the little things in the episode I was enjoying. I enjoyed the story. It was simple. It entertained.

Most people hate this story, but I enjoyed it. Maybe it’s my age now, I don’t know, but I was able to see past the things that bothered me 10 years ago. I was able to sit back with my hero for some nostalgic escapism fun.

At the end of the day, that’s all we really want, right?