Frankfurt's bars are crowded on Sunday evenings. There are some who always sit there because they haven't seen their baby for more than a week and also haven't paid the rent and therefore need "one bourbon, one scotch, one beer". And there sit those who would like to hear the music of Pink Floyd, but are not in agreement with the political views of the early frontman of the British band, Roger Waters.

Christian Riethmüller

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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For this reason, a reprimand has been issued at Waters concerts for a long time to "piss off at the bar" in this case. This is also the case in the sold-out Frankfurt Festhalle. On four huge video screens above the cross-shaped stage set up in the middle of the hall, the invitation can be read, which causes one or two laughs in the hall, but no excerpt.

After all, the visitors, who had travelled from all over the world due to the jumble of languages, did not join the seemingly endless queues just for fun, only to turn around on their heels when they arrived inside the hall. They want to experience a man on stage whose musical work is considered by many to be genius, and they may also want to experience with their own eyes and ears what the situation is like for a 79-year-old guy who, at best, is described as a despotic grumbler, but much more often as a poison-spraying cross-frontier and anti-Semite.

Concert reinterpreted as a happening

But Waters did not accept this role in Frankfurt. He is not a stupid person and certainly he is legally well advised - in contrast to the Frankfurt magistrate, for example, who wanted to ban his concert - which is why he does not even test limits in the Festhalle, but simply gives a concert, which he also reinterprets as a happening. Before the song "The Bar" he does not wish his critics to the same and thus to hell, but he declares the whole hall to be a bar with an embracing gesture, in which even in real life conflicting opinions meet for exchange, by which he probably does not mean pub brawls, but rather the bourgeois salon in Habermas's sense.

And in this bar, this salon, people treat each other decently, which Waters underlines with another gesture. At the start of the second half of the concert, he will refrain from wearing the leather coat and armband reminiscent of a Nazi uniform to the songs "In The Flesh" and "Run Like Hell". With this grotesque costume, he has been warning of the dangers of totalitarian systems since Pink Floyd times and thus for four decades. Contemporaries, who apparently lived there instead of listening to "Dark Side Of The Moon", nevertheless filed a criminal complaint after the Berlin concert, which could have prompted Waters to leave the disguise.

But apart from the possible calculation of wanting to avoid legal troubles, Waters' justification for this decision sounds upright: Out of respect for the history of the Frankfurt Festhalle, where Jewish citizens were rounded up and tortured in 1938, and out of respect for the painful memories of the victims' relatives, he skips this part of the show in Frankfurt, he says, wiping tears from his eyes.

Only Waters knows whether they are crocodile tears, but he is sure of the applause of the hall. Otherwise, it follows the agitation against oligarchs, capitalists, militarists and racists flickering across the screens in the form of frightening animations, film snippets, slogans and slogans, but also the nostalgia with retro photos from old Pink Floyd times to go to the barricades more stoically than freshly agitated. And who is only willing to jump up for photos when first a sheep balloon and later the much-invoked pig balloon buzz through the hall, the latter, by the way, only provided with the names of large arms companies, including an Israeli one.

Because the audience is actually there for the music, which can also be heard for a good two and a half hours, intoned by a masterful band with cracks like guitarists Johnathan Wilson and David Kilminster as well as drummer Joey Waronker. And which Waters does not sing in the playback, but with the slightly brittle voice of an old man who must have eaten plenty of chalk that evening.