Pulling no genteel punches, former Pink Floyd frontman and longtime activist Roger Waters kicked off his new, unity-themed "Us + Them" tour last weekend with a blistering show in Kansas City featuring giant flying pigs as war machines, grotesque images of the malignant unpresident in lipstick, Klan hood, dominatrix gear, defiant local kids in "RESIST" t-shirts - "Teachers leave those kids alone" - and one rage-filled, clear-cut message: "Fuck Trump." The tour, with over 50 shows scheduled across the U.S. and Canada, previewed with an earlier friends-and-press show in New Jersey; it coincides with the June 2 release of Waters' new album, Is This The Life We Really Want? His answer: No. "Trump exceptionalism, all of his racist rhetoric is feeding an electorate that feels defeated. But it's not the foreigner who's defeated you," he says. "I'm going everywhere, and the message will be the same - The resistance began January 20, and it's up to us to stand up, together."
The new shows mix older Pink Floyd material with scathing Trump-and-war-themed spectacle. During the 11-minute song Pigs (Three Different Ones), massive video screens float Warhol-like images of Trump in gaudy costume as drone-flown pigs hover overhead proclaiming, "Welcome to the Machine"; later, screens flash grotesque Trump quotes - "The beauty of me is that I’m very rich... It really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass...I have a great relationship with the blacks" - with reminders of global bloody human rights violations. Waters says the idea behind both tour and record - "part magic carpet ride, part political rant, part anguish" - is "reaching out, holding hands, and understanding building walls is not the answer...It's an exercise in resistance, not just to Trump, but to all the despots, dictators, thieves and ne'er-do-wells all over the world."