Roger Waters couldn’t lay claim to a packed house Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio, but he used the moment to make a point about the politics-infused, message-heavy concert.

Noting that the upper levels of the arena were bare, he shared that they had upgraded all of the patrons to better seats. “So the obvious fact is, we didn’t sell out,” he said with a sly grin before playing “Two Suns in the Sunset” from Pink Floyd's 1983 album The Final Cut. “But we didn’t sell out, if you see what I mean,” he added as the crowd roared.

Waters wasn’t finished. “However much they cut up my interviews on CNN to make me look like a prick, I will not sell out,” he declared. “We will stand on our tiny platform of human rights forever!”

More than a month after the debut of the This is Not a Drill tour, Waters and his band continue to deliver an evening of music that’s emotionally charged. At times, however, it’s also poignant.

He used messaging on the screens, delivered in a form that felt like Waters himself was typing text messages to the audience, to tell stories during a performance of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," about his early friendship with co-founder Syd Barrett.

Waters shared how formative moments like seeing a package bill featuring Gene Vincent and the Rolling Stones fed their goals to form a band. Also referenced was the eventual heartbreaking loss of Barrett, who left the band in the late ‘60s and departed from the industry altogether in 1972. “Losing someone reminds you, this is not a drill,” one screen read.

Watch Roger Waters Perform 'Wish You Were Here' in Columbus

Though it's loaded with every audio and visual element you can imagine in an arena, Waters manages to make the massive production feel surprisingly intimate. He set the stage for what the night was really all about after a fairly intense opening run of material.

Introducing “The Bar,” one of the new songs he wrote during lockdown, Waters shared that he would only be playing a small portion of the composition – which has 10 verses in its recorded form, as Waters’ guitarist Jonathan Wilson recently told UCR. He called the bar “a place in my head ... where you can go and maybe have a drink and certainly meet your friends and hopefully meet strangers as well. You can exchange opinions with strangers and friends with no fear or favor.

“It’s somewhere where you are welcome, where you can exchange your love for your fellow man without fear whatsoever,” Waters added, “and we are doing just that tonight. We’re exchanging feelings for one another.”

Throughout, Waters expertly weaving together more light-hearted moments with those which were more message-driven. Make no mistake, there are definitely plenty of the latter, which feel uncomfortable and intentionally so. But there were also feelings of joy and perhaps most importantly, that sense of community.

To that end, Waters ended the night with a performance of Pink Floyd’s “Outside the Wall,” which found him leading the band members off-stage after introducing them one by one. The next scene that appeared on the screens was that of Waters and the band still performing backstage, this time surrounding each other, playing out the final notes in a circle.

Concertgoers on their way out could be heard debating whether or not this is the best tour they’ve seen from Waters. One thing’s for certain, it’s not to be missed – and also a show which will leave you deep in thought about both the world and yourself.

Roger Waters Live 2022

The Pink Floyd legend brought his This is Not a Drill tour to Columbus, Ohio.

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