The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
24 July 1984
set 1: Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Money, If, Welcome to the Machine, Have a Cigar, Wish You Were Here, In the Flesh, Nobody Home, Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert, South Hampton Docks, The Gunner’s Dream, Another Brick In The Wall Part I, The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall Part II
set 2: The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking
encore: Brain Damage, Eclipse
My childhood friend, David, and I had drifted a little bit over the last few years. We now lived in different towns. I had gone away to high school. And when we went to college, David went to California. We hadn’t kept in touch much.
So it was a surprise when I received a call one summer day from David. More surprising was that he asked me if I wanted to go see Roger Waters. I had never envisioned David being into Roger.
Waters had planned on playing two nights in Philly. This was to be the first show. We arrived early to scalp two tickets. It was remarkable as when we got to the arena, there were no scalpers to be found. That surprised us. We decided to try the box office, expecting to be turned away. There were about a dozen people ahead of us. The window opened and we began hearing the excitement. Everyone was clamoring about how good their seats were. We were excited too, but being pessimistic, expected all those seats to be gone before we got to the window. Fortunately, we were wrong. Fifteenth row! Dead center!
Apparently, ticket sales had been so sluggish, the second show was cancelled and several rows of prime seats which had been held were now open. All of us in line together sat next to each other.
This was the first leg of the Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking tour and Eric Clapton was on lead guitar. How special was that?! It was a perfect show. I knew when Set the Controls opened that this was going to be good. This is not one of the popular Floyd tunes and if Roger was going to pull that one out, I was certain the rest of the show going to be just as special. Indeed it was.
The first set was a run through Roger’s Pink Floyd tenure. Rog did become a bit testy during South Hampton Docks as the crowd was whistling. David and I sat through the set motionless. The rhythm just moved through us. It was an ethereal experience.
During the break, someone went over the rails from the second level to the floor. Surreal.
As everyone was shuffling back to the floor from the bathroom break, the screen on the stage showed a desert. As time moved on I could see the sun/ball of fire coming closer. All of a sudden there was a massive explosion on stage. Thus began the start of The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. Unlike most of the crowd, I was extremely familiar with Roger’s new material. The audience wanted more Floyd; I was mesmerized by the solo work. Clapton’s guitar plucked along perfectly to the dream Waters provided us. Every Stranger’s Eyes was played in a way that made me appreciate this song so much more than what is on the record (yes folks, we had record albums back then).
The encore was a blast with Doreen Chanter and Katie Kissoon just rounding out the the trip through the insane asylum.
When it was all over, I recall stating that I never needed to see another concert for I had just seen perfection and this could not be topped. In many ways, that was a true statement.
I have acquired a poor recording of this show.