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Roger Waters

Silence can be a deafening roar, and that type of silence made itself heard at the Shoreline Amphitheater Thursday night as fans waited with hushed anticipation for one of rock 'n' roll's exalted icons, Roger Waters. It was quite different from the scene at the Mountain View five years ago when Pink Floyd, Waters' old group, performed. There, the cavernous stage seemed to swallow the band, making it difficult to find the players, and the laser light show got as much attention as the music. But now, Waters was in control. Not a thing was out of place -- and it was all about the music.

......As the darkened stage filled with band members, Waters entered, casting a lanky shadow. Decked out in a black suit, he headed to a platform at center stage, high above the rest of the group. As soon as the lights and video screen came to life, he launched into "In the Flesh," querying fans if they'd "like to go to the show" and triggering peals of thunderous applause. Though "Dark Side of the Moon" was a greater commercial success, Waters found his niche with "The Wall." His beginning and ending of the regular set with material from that epic showed that he's largely content to remain atop those brilliant bricks.

......While the band kept theatrics to a minimum, Waters and his guitarists sat down at a small table and took a little card break between "Dogs" and a pathos-laden rendition of "Welcome to the Machine." A true-to-form "Time" and a splashy version of "Money" from "Dark Side of the Moon" had the crowd on its feet, but the slower-paced, preachy, overwrought material from Water's last solo effort, "Amused to Death," seemed to stall the middle of the second set. Taking both Floyd and his solo albums in chunks, Waters had some difficulty hitting the high notes and matching the level of intense emotional strife he's nearly trademarked.

.....His band -- featuring the powerful drumming of Graham Broad, the guitar flair of Andy Fairweather Low, and young guitarist/vocalist Doyle Bramhall II -- soared across the two-part, three-hour show. Snapping his head to the attentive, taut rhythms, Waters looked like an almighty conductor, commanding the course of events and lording over his musical troops. Pushing forward with the hard march of "The Wall -- Part III," Waters dropped his voice to a resonating bass that turned the song away from its original defiance of educational ideals to a tone more cynical and weary. Waters lost none of the song's verve or impact with the change.

....Instead, he proved that as the musical conceptualist behind Pink Floyd, he could now, after all these years, feel his way into the recesses of notes, space, rhythms and beats to breathe new life into decades-old songs. That Waters' music still connects with so many people is startling. With a focus on introspective, grim and dire emotional straits and such subjects as abandonment and greed, lyrically the songs don't match the staples of pop and rock hits, but Waters makes his mark.

By Randy Cohen

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   Members of the Band Are: !
Waters (guitar, vocals, and bass) is touring with a full band of top-flight musicians including Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Snowy White (guitar), Doyle Bramhall II (guitar and vocals), Graham Broad (drums), Jon Carin (keyboards), Andy Wallace (keyboards), Katie Kissoon (vocals), Susannah Melvoin (vocals) and PP Arnold (vocals