It began with
So ya thought ya
Might like to go to the show.
To feel that warm thrill of confusion,
That space cadet glow.
I’ve got some bad news for you sunshine,
Pink isn’t well, he stayed back at the hotel
And they sent us along as a surrogate band
We’re gonna find out where you folks really stand.
I was there to see Roger Waters perform yesterday at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. He is the creative genius behind the lyrics and much of the music of The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. He sang selected songs from The Wall in the first half of the concert and then performed The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety in the second half. Just before the intermission, the huge pink inflated rubber pig took off for the skies. Painted on were the usual political slogans and on its butt was “Impeach Bush Now.”
Don McLean asked in his song “American Pie” if you believed in rock and roll and if music could save your mortal soul. I think if you grow up listening to bands such as Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues, you do believe and it does elevate your (note mortal) soul. Yes, one does growup eventually and moves on to different, more introspective, more challenging music as one’s soul developes, but one continues to love those oldies just as much.
Hey you, standing in the road
always doing what you’re told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.
I spent some time observing the crowd before the event. Ages ranged from sixty to sixteen. Here was an entire family–mother, father, two teenaged daughters. And here was a father and son. I got to talking to the son. Do you like this sort of music? Yes, he answered. And yes, he did realize that when The Dark side was released, his mother was a teenager. There is something about this music that endures. The average age of the people at the concert was, I estimate, around 35 years and I thought that most of the people there were not even born when the group formed.
When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children in any way they could
By pouring their derision
Upon anything we did
And exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids
But in the town, it was well known
When they got home at night, their fat and
Psychopathic wives would thrash them
Within inches of their lives.
The western world has given a lot of good stuff to the world. Rock and roll music, and rock concerts must be one of the better contributions that the west made to the world’s collection of wonderful things, I thought to myself. Imagine, I wondered, what how poor the world would be without this music, music that makes you jump up and sing along and yes, even protest injustice and war and the evils of organized religions and powerful governments. Only in liberal societies can this sort of music originate and only in liberal societies can this sort of creativity and courage and freedom be allowed.
Roger Waters mentioned that he has been touring the Far East and Australia and now he was in India. I realised that he would not be able to say that he has been touring the Middle East and Bangalesh and Pakistan. For that, I am grateful that I am Indian. But I fear that the Middle East is creeping into India and upon us, and in some years if the powers that be have it their way, this sort of music–or perhaps any sort of music–will be banned.
The pink pig took off. As it disappeared into the darkness of the sky beyond the reach of the concert search-lights, I wondered where it was going to land. Imagine an inflatable pig the size of an elephant coming down in a village close to Mumbai.
The Dark Side was coming to an end.
The lunatic is in my head.
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane.
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.
And then at the end of that song, when all you can hear is the loud thump-thump thump-thump of a heartbeat, you hear the voice declare, “There is no dark side of the moon; in fact, it is all dark.”