BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS

The Pink Floyd songwriter is one of the few western artists to brave the increasing tensions in the Middle East...

Former Pink Floyd songwriter ROGER WATERS played a show in BEIRUT last night (April 17), despite the current tensions in Palestine bringing the threat of renewed conflict between Israel and Lebanon ever closer.

While this week has seen Beirut regularly buzzed by Israeli warplanes, an estimated 6000-strong crowd turned out to see Waters play the show – a rare incursion into Lebanon by a major western artist.

The concert – the first in the Middle East to use surround sound – gave an ecstatic crowd a comprehensive run through of Waters’ greatest hits.

Opening with a medley from ’The Wall’ the set-list included material from ‘Animals’, ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘The Final Cut’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, as well as songs from solo albums ‘Radio K.A.O.S.’, ‘The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking’ and ‘Amused to Death’.

However, the biggest cheer was reserved for ‘Perfect Sense Part 1’, and the lines: “The Jews killed the Arabs and the Arabs killed the hostages, and that is the news. Is it any wonder that the monkey’s confused?” With a reference to the current Israeli/Palestinian tension, the song was played out against a big-screen panorama featuring images of Nazareth.

Many assumed the Beirut stop-off would be scrapped because of current political instability.

But, speaking at a press conference earlier in the year, Waters said cancelling was not an option: “The chances of me being run over by a car are much bigger than getting killed in a bomb explosion,” he said.

Noelle Baz of Buzz Productions, the company which managed the show at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Centre, said: “They said that if commercial flights stopped, they wouldn’t come. But until that happens it’s OK.”

Last year’s summer music festival at Baalbek – Lebanon’s equivalent of Glastonbury staged amid 3000-year old temples – drew a crowd of 9,000 for a performance by Sting.

Red Hot Chili Peppers pulled out of a planned show in the Middle East recently because of the tension in the region.