Roger Waters lives up to Floyd fans' expectations
Halfway through Dogs, Roger Waters rounded up most of his band for a mock game of cards while the drummer and two keyboardists played a long psychedelic interlude.
The visual joke emblemized the oddly casual flavor of much of Friday night's concert by the former Pink Floyd front man, staged at America West Arena.
Though Waters rarely tours anymore, he seemed cool and businesslike as he led his band of pros through two well-rehearsed sets, faithfully re-creating his best space-rock material from Pink Floyd's heyday with the help of cartoon images and surround-sound effects.
Most of the instrumental pyrotechnics were provided by a trio of guitarists. Young Texas bluesman Doyle Bramhall II got the bulk of the solos and was especially inspired in the ethereal opus Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
As one inebriated fan shouted, "That's some good (expletive)! It's not Gilmour, but it's good (expletive)" - referring, of course, to Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, from whom Waters has been estranged since leaving the band in the early '80s.
Most fans weren't nearly so annoying, but the endless enthusiasm nonetheless seemed out of place with somber missives such as Mother, during which a rousing cheer went up to punctuate each anguished line.
The simmering energy in the packed arena was the reverse image of Waters' relaxed demeanor during Floyd classics such as Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 ("We don't need no education"), Time and even the early psychedelic gem Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.
His feeling for particular songs, however, was obvious. Wish You Were Here - written for Floyd founder Syd Barrett, whose nervous breakdown in 1968 left Waters in charge of the band - was especially moving.
Waters finally got around to a few solo tunes midway through the second set, and though this material doesn't stand up to the great Pink Floyd albums of the '70s, he sang it with a passion missing elsewhere in the show, and the crowd responded accordingly.