The lights are still on, the concert hasn't even started when Roger Waters' voice comes through the speakers: "In a matter of public interest: a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I'm not an anti-Semite. Excellent," exclaims Pink -Floyd co-founders in English through the Hamburg Barclays Arena. His words appear white on black on the screen above the stage. There is a lot of applause from the approximately 6,500 spectators who watch the German start of his "This Is Not A Drill" tour this Sunday evening.
He unreservedly condemns anti-Semitism. "Besides, I can't tell you how much we're looking forward to the performance in Frankfurt," continues the 79-year-old, who was confronted with allegations of anti-Semitism - and again received a lot of cheering and applause.
criticism from all sides
Nationwide, there has been a lot of criticism of the British rock musician's performances in the past few months, which are also due in Cologne, Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt am Main in May. In Frankfurt, the city and state of Hesse wanted to prevent the singer's performance because of allegations of anti-Semitism - his concert on May 28 should be canceled. However, Waters had appealed against the decision and was right. In its decision, the Frankfurt administrative court referred, among other things, to artistic freedom. On Monday, the city of Frankfurt and the state of Hesse announced that they would not go to the next instance in the legal dispute, as they believed that the step had little chance of success.
The anti-Semitism allegations against Waters have to do, among other things, with a balloon in the shape of a pig. Also this Sunday evening, the pig flies through the arena during the Pink Floyd songs "In The Flesh" and "Run Like Hell". Unlike previous concerts, however, there is no Star of David to be seen. Instead, the words "Steal from the poor and give to the rich" in English and the names of several armaments companies, including an Israeli one, are emblazoned there.
That is why Waters is criticized
Waters has been criticized for his association with the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, which calls for a full-scale boycott of the State of Israel over its dealings with the Palestinians. Statements about the war in Ukraine also caused a stir - for example that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to use it to fight fascism in the country and that the USA was a main aggressor.
So what do Barclays viewers think of Waters' political statements? "For me, it's all about the music and not about politics," says 30-year-old Lukas before the concert begins. A sentence that is often heard in a similar form at the start of the Waters Tour in Germany. "Unfortunately, you can no longer see the original Pink Floyd show or the band, so we're enjoying it here now," says 35-year-old Sandra.
Standing applause after a three-hour show
In fact, both the songs from the time of Pink Floyd and from Water's career as a solo artist are well received in Hamburg. The Briton, who is dressed completely in black, received a lot of applause for the hit "Wish You Were Here". Lips move along with "all in all, you're just another brick in the wall". And at the end - after a nearly three-hour show including a break - many applaud standing.
Political messages are present throughout the evening. They flicker in video sequences and animations across the three-dimensional, cross-shaped screen that is mounted above the cross-shaped stage in the middle of the arena. Indigenous, Yemeni and Palestinian rights are being demanded - and there is also a lot of applause for "Free Julian Assange". The Wikileaks founder has been in a London prison for four years.
At the start of his tour in Germany, the British rock musician is cheered for a lot - and outside of Hamburg's Barclays Arena, the police are not aware of any protests about the concert early on Sunday evening. The situation is different a day later in Cologne: there is a protest rally there on Monday evening before Waters has his next appearance in Germany on Tuesday. The synagogue community and the Catholic city deanery of Cologne, among others, have called for this - according to the police, the organizers have registered 500 participants.
Roger Waters Website