Acoustic Sounds

Roger Waters

The Lockdown Sessions



Roger Waters The Lockdown Sessions

Label: Legacy

Produced By: Roger Waters and Gus Seyffert

Engineered By: Gus Seyffert

Mixed By: Gus Seyffert

Mastered By: Dave Cooley (Elysian Masters)

Lacquers Cut By: Dave Cooley (Elysian Masters)

By: Dylan Peggin

June 20th, 2023





Roger Waters Reinvents His Work with "The Lockdown Sessions"

Pink Floyd’s mastermind revisits his past amidst the Covid lockdown

Despite the accusations of antisemitism for his support of Palestine and his stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine being “not unprovoked,” there is still no denying Roger Waters’ timeless influence in all avenues of the performing arts. Best known for being a founding member of progressive rock giants Pink Floyd and a profitable touring artist, Waters has always struck a certain chord with his thematic lyrics pertaining to adult life, society and isolation. Those words still have every bit of relevancy within the 21st century and their universal meaning enables Roger to interpret the material in a new light in his politically charged live performances.

The concept of The Lockdown Sessions germinated from the idea of creating an album consisting of the encores performed during Roger’s Us + Them tour. When the idea came to mind, a monkey wrench was thrown with the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. Odds were defied when Roger set about recording/filming a backing track of his own and having it sent around to the respective members of his band to apply their overdubs. For what was a rather unorthodox method of assembling an album from musicians located at different parts of the globe between May 2020 to April 2021, this became the temporary “new norm.” 

The track sequence of The Lockdown Sessions follows in the order these virtual collaborations were initially uploaded to YouTube, the first being “Mother” on May 17th. This arrangement is faithful to the original version on The Wall, including the note-for-note guitar solo by Jonathan Wilson. As he did upon the song’s initial release in 1979, Roger assumes the role of Pink, pondering on questions such as “Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb?” and “Mother, should I trust the government?” This rendition is propelled to a stratospheric level with beautiful vocals from Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the indie pop group Lucius, assuming the role of “the mother” in the choruses. The way their vocals are panned between both speakers is a very tasteful touch.

The next collaboration came on June 20th with “Two Suns in the Sunset.” The instrumental nature of the song implies a sense of hope, yet the lyrics speak of the fear that nuclear war will wipe away the human race. The original version, released on Waters’ last Pink Floyd album The Final Cut from 1983, comes across with greater drive and added steadiness. New blood is infused within this slower transposed arrangement with soulful vocals from Lucius, which are reminiscent of the backing vocals on The Dark Side of the Moon. The song ends just as the original did, with a saxophone solo by Ian Ritchie.

Waters took a trip back to familiar territory from The Wall on August 20th with “Vera.” Similar to how he approached “Mother,” Roger makes excellent use of his lower vocal register. Instead of exercising the frayed remains of his higher register, he offers a vocal performance that’s reminiscent of Leonard Cohen. “Vera” transitions into “Bring The Boys Back Home.” The philharmonic bombast of the original is traded for the more minimalist instrumental arrangement heard on “Vera,” sounding like one continuous piece. Roger has a stab at singing the song’s four main stanzas before handing the microphone off to Lucius, who provide beautiful angelic harmonies. Percussionist Joey Waronker provides the percussive march as the whole band joins and the arrangement intensifies to the song’s anthemic finale. Guitarist Dave Kilminster lays down some rapid fast lead guitar flourishes with a distinguishable guitar tone that almost sounds like Brian May shredding!

A new year was rung and the next installment came on January 18th with “The Gunner’s Dream.” Another offering from The Final Cut, hearing the song transposed to the key of D major allows the chord sequence in the verses to show some parallels with “Us and Them” from The Dark Side of the Moon. The brief saxophone solo from the original version is substituted with the song’s main vocal melody and harmonies sung by Lucius. Outside of the moments where the full band kicks, Roger delivers a very subtle vocal and tickles away the ivories.

So far, it made sense for Roger to dip into his Floydian past with the song selection for this album. On April 17th, he revisited a cut from his 1992 solo album, Amused to Death, entitled “The Bravery of Being Out of Range.” The driving stadium rock sound of the original is traded for a slower, more subdued arrangement. Both guitarists Dave Kilminster and Jonathan Wilson provide a textural guitar solo performed in unison. The song was originally written as a criticism of neoliberal policies instituted by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. In an attempt to utilize the realm of music to exercise his controversial political views, Roger offers some modern context posing the question whether US president Joe Biden should speak to Russian president Vladimir Putin to negotiate peace with Ukraine during the break before the final verse. 

Clashes of thunder signal the album’s finale, “Comfortably Numb 2022.” This fresh arrangement of what many would consider to be the highlight from The Wall is one that currently serves as the opening number of Roger’s current This is Not a Drill tour. In comparison to the original, it is pitched lower in order to give a more darker, ominous mood. The ears of Pink Floyd diehards will perk when they hear Jonathan Wilson emulate the same back-to-front wah pedal sound heard on Pink Floyd’s earlier epic “Echoes.” Even though the signature David Gilmour guitar solo is missing, a breathtaking vocal solo from Shanay Johnson substitutes it nicely. While this track wasn’t recorded during lockdown, it was performed as the final song of every show from the Us + Them tour and it serves as a fitting way to round off the album.

Kate Izor’s black and white cover photo of a barren Broadway in New York City serves as a time capsule of what human life was like in early 2020. This sentiment is also reflected with each of the band member “selfies” that don the gatefold jacket. The record comes housed in a printed inner sleeve, which includes all the lyrics, credits and a brief write-up from Roger explaining the backstory behind the project. Despite the record having some minor scuffs from the inner sleeve, Memphis Record Pressing did a solid job pressing this as flat as possible without any surface noise. During his time in and out of Pink Floyd, Roger has maintained a consistent line of quality with his work in regards to the production. This album was crafted amidst the most unforeseen social-distanced circumstances and it still provides the impact of a band performing together in a room. The moments where Roger is singing lead accompanied by either piano or acoustic guitar are so intimate sounding, almost giving the impression that he is right in front of you in the room. The soundstage is tight and compact as each mix component is tastefully spread across the stereo spectrum.

The Lockdown Sessions is the reflection of both a tumultuous period us humans had to face and an artist taking stock of his own legacy with an up to date twist.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: 196587888916

Pressing Plant: Memphis Record Pressing (MRP)


Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 140 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP


  • 2023-06-20 08:35:09 PM

    PeterG wrote:

    When you say Rogers Waters is criticized for his "support of Palestine", you obscure his truly anti-semitic statements by noting something that the Israeli government may not like, but is not itself anti-semitic. Plenty of decent people, including plenty of jewish people, support statehood for an independent Palestine. But this is very different than vilifying Israel and Jews.

    Waters has displayed a giant inflatable pig with a Star of David, dollar signs, and swastikas at his concerts. That is hateful and disgusting. If you want to acknowledge his anti-semitism, that's a good place to start

    • 2023-06-21 01:23:05 PM

      Anton wrote:

      "Despite the accusations..."

      Tells you all you need to know about the author's real feelings.

    • 2023-06-21 01:28:02 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I agree with you, but felt it the writer's call as to how he'd frame it. Waters' politics are brutal and sledgehammer-like, and not limited to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and of course his music can be nauseatingly didactic and obvious.... and he all but blames The United States or Joe Biden for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I'm not a fan of his politics and the writer here doesn't go into it other than to acknowledge it, which I asked him to do simply because ignoring it is like ignoring the proverbial "elephant in the room". We are trying hard to avoid politics on this website unless the music is related to it. In this case I thought it appropriate to acknowledge his "activism".

      • 2023-06-21 03:08:22 PM

        Anton wrote:

        Despite the accusations, "Look at Your Game, Girl" and "Cease to Exist" are pleasant songs.


      • 2023-06-21 04:15:51 PM

        Mark wrote:

        It is a pity Water's 'activism' has become 'the elephant in the room' when discussing his music. I believe it is 21st century media/society/culture wars that have changed, rather than his (occasionally tiresome) political views. He has been trotting out the same shtick for decades.

      • 2023-06-21 04:42:02 PM

        Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

        I think both Dylan and Michael do walk a fine line here and I appreciate it as an informed Jew. Thank you for the review and the comments added. Some of the iconography at his shows are really dangerous to easily-fooled people, but I still try to keep an open mind when I see the role of music as pretty much the only valid political commentary left on the planet (and really all that ever was looking back at rock history). The fact that Joey W (Dig his great work with Atoms For Peace) is playing on the album reminds me that acceptance and peace are equally important as fervent criticism. I mean, everyone here has some great things to say: PeterG, Mark, Mikey, and of course... Anton, you always make me smile! Thank Gawd this website is back and bereft of hate and pettiness. Kudos.

    • 2023-06-22 01:28:51 AM

      Ivan Bacon wrote:

      Criticizing any Government, and those that support it's policies, is not vilifying all of the people that it represents. If a government policy is villainous then stating so is not vilifying the policy maker, it is simply stating a fact. Speaking truth to power will always make one a target of those that are threatened by the truth. Any group of people who deny another group of people the same rights that they have fought and died for is surly condemned to suffering the injustices they have previously and painfully endured. Suffering statelessness (or any injustice) and then adopting a policy of inflicting that very same thing on others seems to me incredibly ignorant and frankly morally, if not legally, condemning. I am surprised it has taken this long for right wing fundamentalism to attack and launch a character assassination campaign on a man who has for decades called out there despicable policies and actions.

      • 2023-06-22 01:39:35 AM

        Ivan Bacon wrote:

        "The evidence before the court is incontrovertible There's no need for the jury to retire In all my years of judging I have never heard before Of someone more deserving of the full penalty of law" Keep poking the hornets nest Roger.

        (its, their. Typo's.)

  • 2023-06-21 04:55:03 PM

    Vince L wrote:

    I thought Roger should be able to weigh in on the discussion.

    • 2023-06-22 02:14:38 AM

      Mark wrote:

      Thank you Vince. Waters's delivers a well-crafted argument explaining his position.

      I followed his example of 'reading, reading, reading' as part of my Masters in American Studies. The Jewish lobby represented by AIPAC is widely considered to be a powerful and finely-tuned machine. One that endeavours to make criticism of Israel synonymous with that of Judaism. Any right-minded person knows they are different.

      Having existed there for thousands of years the Jewish people have as much right to live in the Middle East as the Palestinians. But, the horrors the Jews endured during the second world war has given them license to turn from victims into everything their own oppressors were. The world is far from perfect, but what the government of Israel is doing in the West Bank and Gaza is morally wrong. In a cycle of tit-for-tat, both sides have committed terrible crimes - but Israel - implicitly backed by the U.S. - is committing genocide.

      • 2023-06-22 02:45:58 AM

        Mark wrote:

        In the absence of an edit function I wish to alter an important typo. Should read 'But, the horrors the Jews endured during the second world war has given the government of Israel license to turn from victims into everything their own oppressors were.'

      • 2023-06-22 06:39:57 AM

        Michael Fremer wrote:

        I’ll just say Jews have endured horrors well before WW2 and for 1000s of years. Now back to music. This thread has gone where I don’t want the site to go but I appreciate everyone’s civility.

  • 2023-06-22 06:28:58 AM

    Georges wrote:

    Not a huge fan of his solo works nor of floyd's albums from WYWH. Regarding his political vision, it is paradoxical. Because the UN is for decolonization, but apparently not for the new world (Americas + Oceania), nor for the Middle East. Complaints about him avoid talking about his records (where there would be a lot to say for such a giant) and so he "makes the buzz". The omnipotence of the American elites is shown here in full light.

  • 2023-06-22 11:48:31 AM

    Anthony J Russo wrote:

    By the way which one is Pink ? lol Waters should just stick to playing music and re-unite with Pink Floyd. Not a fan of politics and concerts .

    • 2023-06-25 05:01:03 AM

      Bob wrote:

      No that's the only comment needed here!

    • 2023-06-25 10:01:13 AM

      Georges wrote:

      Everything is political. (Antonio Gramsci)

  • 2023-06-24 02:09:07 PM

    Thom Edison wrote:

    Dylan Peggin, thanks for the great review. I purchased the record after reading it and watching two of the posted videos.