Roger Waters – The Lockdown Sessions (2023)

Roger Waters - The Lockdown Sessions (2023)
Artist: Roger Waters
Album: Columbia
Genre: Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Art Rock
Label: Legacy Recordings
Year Of Release: 2023
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Tracklist:
01. Mother (7:21)
02. Two Suns In the Sunset (6:02)
03. Vera (5:15)
04. The Gunner’s Dream (5:32)
05. The Bravery of Being Out of Range (6:52)
06. Comfortably Numb 2022 (8:30)

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Personnel:
– Roger Waters / vocals, guitar, piano

With:
– Gus Seyffert / bass, cello, backing vocals
– Joey Waronker / drums & percussion
– Dave Kilminster / guitar, rhythm guitar
– Jonathan Wilson / guitar, backing vocals
– Jon Carin / keyboards, backing vocals
– Lucius / backing vocals
– Bo Koster / Hammond organ (2-5)
– Ian Ritchie / saxophone (2)

Divorce Roger Waters from whatever personal politics it is that so outrage people, and there’d be little doubt that he is — more than ever before — among the most visionary and enthralling “veteran” performers we’ve got going for us today.

Fifty years on from Dark Side Of The Moon (and six months into its anniversary year, how sick are you of hearing about it?), close to 60 after Pink Floyd took their first steps, Waters is everything you could want from a heritage act — ornery and contrary on the one hand, restless and constantly searching on the other. And The Lockdown Sessions is all of that and more.

To begin with, the lockdown sessions themselves, conceived you-know-when as a hello to the fans. Think of the five Pink Floyd songs you’d most hope he might revisit, and then think of the five that you would never even have thought of. Correct second time.

With the exception of “Comfortably None” (which most people associate with Gilmour anyway), has anyone gone to sleep dreaming that Waters might one day revisit “Vera,” “Mother, “The Gunner’s Dream” and “Mother”? And that includes the fans who experienced them as encores on his Us and Them tour?

Probably not. But it works. At his best, Waters always did write with a world-weariness and resignation that was decades older than his then-tender years (go reread the lyrics to “Time,” written at the grand old age of 29, if you don’t agree) and at last, he’s caught up with himself.

Performance-wise, The Lockdown Sessions is flawless — stripped down but nevertheless instantly identifiable, the focus is wholly on words and emotion, and the band a vivacious sonic wash behind him, so well-honed from all the touring that they know exactly what Waters requires of them. And they deliver it, too, dedicated lockmaids to the song. Indeed, if Waters’s much-discussed but still unheard rerecording of the dreaded Dark Side should ever appear, one can only hope that it was recorded to the same standards as The Lockdown Sessions. With the exact same musicians and backing vocalists, too.

Two songs slip out of the sequence. “The Bravery of Being Out of Range” is not a Floyd song, falling instead from Waters’s solo Amused To Death, but it slides in seamlessly, regardless. And “Comfortably Numb” was recorded in 2022, during the This Is Not A Drill tour — slower than the album version, more hymnal and haunting, and actually benefitting from the absence of solos. It would never have worked on The Wall like this. But it might actually become your go-to version. That’s how good it is.

In fact, Lockdown Sessions as a whole is that so, so rare commodity — an album of re-dos which not only makes you re-appraise the originals, it surpasses them.
By Dave Thompson

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