Happy? I think happiness is found in a place where we understand the point of view and the needs of the Other. Happiness is found in place where we fail to lose ourselves in our individual dreams (Roger Waters in an internet chat several days ago, proving he still knows how to write).
"Listening to 'The Wall' it is impossible to ignore the feeling that we are dealing with the work of a genius. (Amos Oren, reviewing newly-released album for Yedioth Ahronoth, January 1980)
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is no other way to say it, so let it just be said: This will be the most important rock concert ever here in the Holy Land. Period.
For tens of thousands of Israelis (maybe more), Roger Waters’ upcoming concert at Tel Aviv's Park Hayarkon is much more important than bringing the messiah. Stop the donkey – blow up that huge pig balloon.
Sorting it all out
A small apology: These words were written with a lot of emotion, and they will be a continuum of ideas the sane, normal public will have no idea about. Let's try to understand it all together.
So let's explain: Roger Waters is the Vivaldi, the Beethoven and the Mozart of the modern era. He composed at least two of the compositions no cultured person can live without knowing: Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.
You can love him, you can hate him. But you can't ignore him. His power stretches far beyond time and space. Even in my old age, when I quietly turn off the lights at home, put "Dark Side" in the CD player and turn the bass up – the shivers in my spine start immediately. It's alchemy. It's metaphysical.
It's a feeling of listening to truly great music. 30-something years have done nothing to diminish that feeling.
This is the reason that 100 years from today, rebellious kids will tell their parents that they "don't need no education," without knowing the words were written about 1950s England. They'll tell stories about Pink Floyd's amazing concerts, multi-media before the phrase was even invented, and about the wall that was built and destroyed mid-concert.
They talk about animation, notes and movement at a time when people said, "it doesn't make sense financially," at a time when people simply loved music rather than the end consumer.
And it's not only Floyd. Any "ordinary" Waters' solo album is greater than anything else you'll hear. I love the 1992 "Amused to Death" for its biting media and social critique, but the "Pros & Cons of Hitch Hiking" is fantastic. It is also worth mentioning "Radio K.A.O.S." and the live album of The Wall, performed at the site of the destroyed Berlin Wall in 1990.
The problem with Waters is that he knows just how great he is. Perhaps that is the reason he tried to release an opera this year, Ca Ira, in an attempt to further enshrine his place in music history.
But he also knows full well that he doesn't really need it – see Paul McCartney's embarrassing oratorio. But Hey, Jude, don’t make it too bad. Some people simply reach immortality earlier in life, some later. All that's left is to perform with the time you've got left – and to enjoy. And it's not so bad.
Waters, it should be stressed, is not a simple man. In Pink Floyd's final album The Final Cut, he managed to stick in Menachem Begin's name, who had just invaded Lebanon, with a long list of fascists he felt destabilized the world (including then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the architect of the Falkland Islands War).
More recently, he has been very outspoken about Israel's occupation of the West Bank.
Waters is also not afraid to attack fellow musicians, either. He's called Madonna " a horrible person, disgusting and pathetic, who became a success by degrading herself with cheap tricks (Don't expect Esther to be coming to his concert in Tel Aviv).
Better than Gilmour
As a long-time admirer, I am well acquainted with the "whose better, Waters or (guitarist Dave) Gilmour " debate. Some people also add soloist Syd Barrett, the bands first writer who went insane). In my opinion, there's no contest.
Despite Gilmour's legendary guitar licks, and despite his (then) crystal clear voice that beat out Waters fractured screams hands down, the bassist (Waters) has got two things going for him: Most of the words, and the vast majority of the songs from the band's most successful period.
It's true, Gilmour and Waters together is far better, as we saw at last summer’s "Live 8" performance (apparently a once-shot deal), but man can live on Waters alone, and not too badly.
In one of his best albums, Amused to Death, he corresponds with the media theory of Neil Postman, something that looks more and more precise nowadays, Waters talks about a delegation from another planet that arrives on Earth to check out the locals, us.
Turns out they were too late, and they find the human race dead in their comfy chairs, dead eyes still fixated on the TV. "This species has amused itself to death," they write. The album came out in 1992. Today, it's not prophecy. It's reality.
So do yourselves a favor. Waters will play Tel Aviv on June 22. The performance will include, amongst others, a full performance of Dark Side of the Moon."
So wake the kids, tell them all the ring tone musicians, all the reality-show stars, all the ambassadors, tell them they've all died.
Tell 'em rock-and-roll has burned itself out, and the past – what can you do – is the future. Then, take them to the park, so they'll understand.