It took me a couple of years to get around to buying In the Flesh Live, mainly because I didn't think Roger Waters would offer anything much better than the David Gilmour-led Pink Floyd concert videos, such as Pulse and A Momentary Lapse of Reason. These Waters-less concerts may not have been the finest testaments to the great music of Pink Floyd, but they were certainly amazing visual spectacles, showcasing some of the grandest and most elaborate stage shows ever seen. Although I consider a few of Pink Floyd's albums, especially Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals,and about half of The Wall to be some of the best sorta-progressive-rock albums ever made, I was never a Pink Floyd fanatic, per se, and, hell, I don't even own any of Roger Waters' solo albums. With this said, I loaded In the Flesh Live into my DVD player with only mild enthusiasm, expecting to only get a respectable performance from a man who was once the "genius" behind PinkFloyd. WAS I EVER MISTAKEN! This is truly one of the best produced, and most enjoyable concert DVD's I have ever seen - PERIOD! If you are even a mild fan of Waters, or Pink Floyd, this is required viewing.
In the Flesh Live was recorded June 27th, 2000 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon, during Waters' firsttour of the United States in about 12 years. He assembled a top notch group of musicians that were much more than just a glorified Pink Floyd cover band. I could not believe it when I saw Doyle Bramhall II up on stage handling the guitar and vocal chores that once belonged to David Gilmour. Why would Waters choose this Texas-blues, guitar prodigy to handle Gilmour's smooth guitar and vocal parts, I wondered. It seemed like an odd match. The answer became evident immediately as Bramhall nearly stole the show numerous times. What was great about his performance is that he paid the proper tribute to Gilmour's sound and style, while at the same time infusing touches of his own, somewhat harsher and bluesier, signature style into the songs. Snowy White, whom I was not familiar with, shared the guitar duties with Bramhall, and also played brilliantly. He primarily played the Gibson Les Paul, which contrasted perfectly with Bramhall's Fender Stratocaster, and this gave the songs a very full and rich sound. The guitar solos they traded during "Comfortably Numb" were simply chill inducing, and were worth the admission alone. Longtime Clapton crony Andy Fairweather Low also contributed plenty of tasty guitar to the mix. John Carin was also a standout handling all of the keyboard duties, and the occasional acoustic guitar. A trio of female backup singers added a nice ambiance to the music as well.