Sisters of mercy, better join with your brothers —
Put a stop to the soap opera state!
They say the toothless get ruthless —
Run home before it’s too late!
As Waters has shown for years, having kids help him perform Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” transforms the old radio-frayed hit into something more immediate. Formerly, the song focused on the hypocrisy of teachers who exorcize their personal demons at the expense of malleable young students. It identified them as the “powers that be” and called them out for their exacting malevolence.
But now, with Waters’ kids clad in black t-shirts reading “RESIST” and dancing across the stage furiously, the tune has become much broader in scope. Today, the song’s teachers could be any oppressor in the world; and, likewise, its students anyone suffering maltreatment. But, as the song still insists, the students can fight back. No matter their age, race, religion, or nation, they can demand things change. In spite of the odds. And because of the diverse set of kids Waters gathered onstage to deliver that message, the song was persuasive. The audience rallied to the cause.
Lyrics from “The Powers That Be” by Roger Waters, 1987.
Roger Waters (vocals, bass) with Jess Wolfe (backing vocals), Holly Laessig (backing vocals), Dave Kilminster (guitar), Jonathan Wilson (guitar), Gus Seyffret (bass), Jon Carin (keyboards), Bo Koster (keyboards), Joey Waronker (drums), and Ian Ritchie (saxophone) at Barclays Center. Us + Them Tour.
Photos by Rick Stachura. September 12, 2017.
(1) Waters with the kids.
(2) Waters, Koster, Carin, Wolfe, Laessig, and Kilminster.
(3) Waters with the kids.
(This story was originally posted to my old Tumblr site on May 12, 2018.)