Are you Roger Waters ?
If the one behind the computer is Roger Waters, then I'll ask you, once again, to take a moment and read this. If you are not Roger Waters but, you still inssist to continue reading this letter just to satisfy your curiosity... Well, please go ahead and enjoy the history: "How can you make your dreams come true ?"
meeting with Roger Waters - March
"After years and years ..."
The concert is just a day away. As a matter of fact, in 24 hours from now, I'll be enjoying the most awaited concert of my life. As stated in the "Open letter to Roger Waters", we have been waiting for years and years this concert but, moreover, my personal dream was a meeting with Roger Waters.
Well, let's start from the very beginning ...
It was Sunday night during a dam god warm night at the Santiago's international airport. A crew of members of the Chilean Pink Floyd community (www.pinkfloyd.cl) and me, just waiting for the Roger's flight. Minute after minute, hour after hour and desperation increasing because Roger didn't show up, due to problems with his fly connection. In the meantime, lots of journalist with TV cameras, lights and all kind of toys trying to catch up the desperation in our faces. Bring the boys back home with sad and insecure expressions was the feeling on the air.
The day after, I woke up at 7:30 (unbelievable for my standards) and back to the airport together with the same crew and, obviously, back to the show of waiting. During those hours, one of my best friends was my cell phone, ringing once in a while with lots of news about the Roger's flight. Finally and after more than four hours, I received the good news: Roger's flight has landed safely and standing in Chilean land. Most of the people got crazy and running back and forth, trying to figure out where Roger was. At last, we got the news that Roger and the band were going to leave the airport from a secondary gate. After some minutes and with at least thirty fans and all kind of people all around, Roger showed up with the band. Roger was just a gentleman with everybody, signing autographs and talking to the media. I decided to enjoy this moment from a vantage point nearby, taking many pictures of the scene, while some fans (those typical stupids) decided to join efforts and pass over the security bridge. Roger went to the van and, just when leaving, I had the closest distance to him, with Roger looking to us and saying hello with his hands to the fans that were waiting with the banner of the chilean Pink Floyd community.
After sharing all kind of emotions with my Floydian friends, we went to the Hyatt Regency hotel. From this moment, my credit card got scared because it already knew it about my plans: Pay a room in this bloody expensive 5-stars hotel (U$ 235 /night) and stay overnight, to bet for one of my final plays in this challenge: A real meeting with Roger Waters.
After the check-in and with my credit card close to the tears, I was staying in the same hotel than Roger, the band, managers and just everybody related to the tour.
I spent the entire evening talking to everybody related to Roge, like band members and people working for the tour, with almost no real results and the time running like hell. In the meanwhile, lot of Floydian friends outside the walls of this fancy hotel and myself trying to forward the news to them.
At around 22:00 hrs and thanks to one of the founders of the Chilean Floydian community, Pinky Floyde, I got the news that Roger was having dinner in the restaurant of the hotel. After a quick walk to the restaurant, I saw Roger enjoying a cup of Chilean wine together with the the tour staff. Fortunately, the table next to the Roger's one was absolutely empty and, just like a miracle, waiting for me.
Roger was just one meter away !!!
After some minutes of really deep breathing and thinking on how close I was to the dream, I decided to play my ace card and approach him. I fixed my vision on his eyes and I ask him if I could have just two minutes of his time. At the thunder speed, one of the managers told me that Roger is not going to talk with anyone because he's taking caring his throat for the concert of tomorrow. I said that I fully understand the situation and I ask Roger just to listen to what I have to say. Roger looked at me and just said "Go ahead ... Your time has begun".
I told him how happy I was because his visit to Chile and I let him know how far and deep his music has inflenced my entire life. Also, I told him about how many people in Chile are waiting this concert and how great is going to be the concert for everybody. Then, I spoke about my open letter to him and how, why and for what I wrote it and moreover, why I decided to publish this letter in the Internet. In the meanwhile, I gave the letter to Roger and ask him to read it. After few seconds, he looked at me and with his huge hand, he gave me a firm handshake and said "Thank you very much". There was more but it's very hard to resume everything in this text and I would like to keep some of this great moment just into my memories forever and ever. After some minutes, I begun to realize that I had just accomplished the objective and, with my brain like a machine ready to explode in happiness, I gave him another handshake with a big thank you for his time with me. Following I went back to my table and, after few minutes Roger left the table and said "Chao, I'll see you tomorrow". Right away, the manager join me in my table and told me that "I am very disappointed with what I did because you have interrupted the Roger's privacy but, in the other hand, your approach was accepted right away by Roger and that was a good point for you". We spoke quite a lot about the chance to get an autograph and photo sessions with Roger and we agree in a meeting for the concert day at 15:30 at the hotel lobby, right before the band leaves the hotel to the national stadium. I told him that I would like to share this moment with more members of the Chilean Floydian community that are waiting outside the hotel. We decided to open this meeting for the fans and, after some discussions about a "reasonable number" of fans, he decided than around twenty lucky fans is a reasonable number for the meeting and told me to choose the names of the selected ones. He ask me to take care of the discipline of the group because in case of any problem, the meeting will be canceled by Roger Waters. At that point he left my table and, just myself thinking in the great news for my Floydian friends.
After this very exciting moment and after I began to realize that it was true and I was not dreaming, I went outside the hotel to forward the news to my friends. Their reactions expressed in their faces could be summarized with: WHAT ? ARE YOU KIDDING ? IT CAN'T BE TRUE ... IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE ! Also, I spent some time talking with a newspaper journalist about the news and she could not believe it as well. After more than an hour of organization and everything related to the preparation for the meeting, I went back to my room to enjoy my goal !!! Once again I had to convince myself that it was true and, with the satisfaction of the accomplished objective, I went to sleep. Honestly I woke up several times during the night, thinking in just everything and getting ready for one of the best days of my life proving that it's never too late to dream and turn those dreams into a real experience.
Waters took care of my dreams - March 5th 2002
"The historical meeting"
I woke up early in the morning with several phone calls from friends and journalist, asking just everything about what the have heard. Then I realized that I was not a dream and, after several attempts, I managed to get up and I took the longest shower I never had before in my life. Believe or not the breakfast was not included in the price of the room (The Hytatt hotel is a crap) and with my empty stomach, I went down to the lobby. There, I meet other members of the band and I took some pictures with them. A very special moment was my meeting with Harry Waters. He's extremely friendly and a very nice guy. I told him about my meeting with his father and he was quite happy listening to my history.
Suddenly, I realized that I was about in time for the check-out and, once again, my credit card got scared. After the usual paperwork, I managed to keep the registration card with me in order to ensure my free access to the hotel in order to avoid problems with the security people of the Hyatt hotel. What I did during those hours was to stay in the lobby of the hotel, enjoying the moment and taking as many pictures as possible. In the meantime and outside the hotel, my friends were waiting and, some of them quite desperated about the time that, as before, was running like hell. At around two O'clock, I went back to the lobby to take care of the final arrangements, making sure that there was nothing left undone. The people of the Hyatt hotel did not accept the meeting in the lobby and, after more conversations with the tour manager, he told me that the meeting was going to take place outside the hotel. Some minutes later, I meet again the Roger's manager and he told me "Felipe, You've got a warning! take care of your group and I'll take care of the rest". Ten minutes before the meeting, I went outside and I was so happy to see that everybody were waiting in a very organized row, all of them with vinilos, CD's, DVD's, photo cameras and, not least, with their faces showing up their emotions very close to the limit. I ask them once again to behave properly and I went back to the lobby. Right at the scheduled time, I saw Roger in the lobby and I went outside to forward the good news: Roger was ready for the meeting ! Just a minute later the Roger's manager asked me for a pen to be used for the autopraphs and, when everything was just ready for the most awaited moment of the day, Roger showed up, smiling and with a very nice attitude to us. Obviously, I was the first one to talk to him and I said "Thanks Roger for taking care of our dreams. We have been waiting this moment since long time ago and thanks to you and your team, my friends waiting in the row will never forget this moment". Right away I gave him a present in name of all the members of the Chilean Floydian community. It was a CD of the Chilean band Los Jaivas, "Las alturas de Machu Pichu". While I was talking with Roger and he was signing my "In the flesh" dvd (Roger spells my name as Phillipe instead of Felipe), I heard some camera shutters in the background. Then I asked about my letter and he told me "Yes, I have read your letter Felipe, Thank you very much!" with another handshake. When I was ready, all my friends had the same experience: Autographs, photos, handshakes and everything. In the meanwhile, I was watching the scene with a bunch of incredible feeling and emotions. Something very nice was several friends coming to me and, with big hugs and, believe or not, some of them crying, we gathered together behind the huge banner of the Chilean Pink Floyd community.
In the meanwhile, the Roger's manager was very happy with the meeting and he took pictures of us with our banner, hammers and everything. Then he went to the van and showed up with a video camera and began to record every detail of the moment with his video camera. After twenty minutes, Roger got into the van and said "Chao" to everybody and left to the national stadium. It's hard to explain in words the emotions and the feelings of everybody. Some of them were in status of shock, others trying to expand their faces to hold their smiles and, just myself feeling a deep emotion of what I've just accomplished.
After almost an hour and with everybody trying to land after the meeting, we went to the house of one of the members of the community that is just few meters away from the stadium, getting ready for the show that was just few hours away. The moment that we have been waiting since years and years was about to come. Two hours before the concert, scheduled to begin at 21:00 hrs., We left the house and we walk to the stadium, with our brains trying to hold every moment what we were about to witness. I will never forget my hand in my pocket, touching every single second my concert ticket, making sure that was still there because, few nights before this great day I had the horrible nightmare about someone stealing my ticket. It was just a bad dream. I decided to bring my pocket camera to try some shoots, thinking that the at the control gate the guards might confiscate the equipment. Well, I passed the three control gates and with my ticket about to become more than a piece of expensive paper, I got into the stadium with camera and all. By the way, it was not my first time looking the stage because three days ago I managed to get into the stadium with two friends more and we took great photos of ourselves and the stage. My first impression when I was inside the stadium was "Felipe, it's time to enjoy what you have been waiting". I will never forget my impression of that huge amount of people wearing all kind of T-shirts with Pink Floyd related themes. I have never seen in my entire life anything like this ! After locating my seat, I began to meet friends. A very special moment was when I meet friends of the observatory where I work. Some of them are members of the Pink Floyd community. As the concert time was about to come, I felt an incredible satisfaction, happiness and peace. It was a clear and warm night in Santiago, with the southern cross raising above the stadium.
I was just some seconds away and ...
the flesh tour, Roger Waters live
Estadio nacional, Santiago de Chile
March 5th 2002, 21:00 hrs
It's a miracle
... The lights went off and with the screaming of sixty five thousands of souls in the stadium, the sounds of "In the flesh" began to shake the audience, with Roger Waters walking slowly on the upper section of the stage. "So ya thought ya might like to go to the show", Yes Roger, the audience is with you, the band and the show and we might like to go to your show. Honestly it took me some minutes to realize that it was not a dream: Roger was there with hammers and everything. "And that one in the spotlight, he don't look right to me. Get him up against the wall." at least he was not aiming his finger to me. "There's one smoking a joint" and it was quite obvious the ones that were touched by the sentence. Then it was the moment for the "The happiest days of our lives" with the helicopter sound and several people in the audience looking up to the sky. Then, "Another brick in the wall, Part II", with a perfect execution and thousands of souls taking an active role in "Hey, Teacher, leave those kids alone!". There was a single guitar solo but absolutely awesome. "Do it again, Do it again" and the stadium broke into a tremendous applause. I would say that one of the most emotive moments of the concert took place during "Mother". As a magic reaction of the audience, thousands of candles lighting every corner of the dark, transforming the stadium into something simply beautiful. At the end of "Mother", Roger said "Gracias, bienvenidos!", demonstrating that his Spanish was basic but good enough to use it up in the stage. I specially like the album "The final cut" so when it was the moment of "Get you filthy hands off my desert" followed by "Southampton dock", with a perfect voice of Roger and a set of projections in the screen remembering to everybody the horrors of the war.
Probably, one of the most awaited moment was here when Roger began the sequence of "Pigs on the wing, part I" and "Dogs". It is very hard to explain what I felt during "Dogs" because, if you ask me for ten songs to bring with me to my hypothetic lonely island, "Dogs" will be on the list. The quadraphonic system used in the concert had the chance to impress to everybody in the audience, together with the great guitar solos and Harry Waters taking for moments the main role of the show. Harry is just an incredible musician and all the fears about him were gone with the wind. By first time of the night I felt the unique psychedelic atmosphere surrounding every corner of the stadium, while Roger and the crew were enjoying the cards came. Who won ? "Gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused". I would say that the winner was Chile !.
Then it came the turn for "Shine on your crazy diamond, parts 1-5", with the incredible solo of Snowy White. I think that he's got the right feeling to play this solo in such an incredible way that, for moments, it's hard to believe that Dave Gilmour is not up in the stage with the band. The Syd's ghost was all around, inviting us to fly with him and became part of the dream. "Tan ... Tan ... Tan .... Taaaaan ..." and the audience got crazy and again, myself trying to record every single moment of the atmosphere that was up there, close to the stars together with our minds. In the meanwhile, my photo camera working like hell grounding me in the quest to catch up all the scenes of the concert. Suddenly a low frequency earthquake stroke the ground ... it was just the keyboards of Harry Waters, playing the introduction notes of "Welcome to the machine". I would never forget a young girl close to me scared to death thinking that it was a real earthquake and thinking on how to run away. By the way, "Welcome to the machine" is another song that I would bring with me to my lonely island. The ending of "Welcome to the machine" was simply outstanding, with the synthesizer of Harry Waters turning down very slowly and ending up with the laughs in the hall. Then it came "Wish you were here", where the candles of the audience were back to the scene, surrounding once again the stadium with a magic atmosphere and with more than one thinking in who was away or absent. In my own situation, my girlfriend, Marcela, was five hundred kilometers away and I did use my cell phone to call her and let her share this moment with me as I was raising the phone over the audience heads. Then I realized that I was not the only one in this business because some meters to the left, there was another one doing the same think ... "I wish you were here". When the last note was struck, "Shine on your crazy diamond, parts 6-9" begun and back to the psychedelic atmosphere. I could write lines and more lines about this part of the concert but you've got to be here to understand how it was, specially the outstanding performance of the slide guitar solo of Kamen. I felt petrified about what was going on in the stadium and, as as a magical moment that could be only created by the genius of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, the Syd's face showed up in the projection screen while the synthesizer slowed down the revolutions ending with the part nine, that I would classify as one of the saddest pieces of music ever created, with the Syd's crazy diamond was on stage, spinning like a planet..
"Gracias, muchas gracias, gracias"
And with this merge of Spanish, English and Italian words, a twenty minutes break was the right moment to land safely and look around. I decided to get even closer to the stage to take photos and, in my way to the stage, I meet friends asking me all kind of questions like "How are you?", "How are you feeling?". Honestly, the aspect of my face said more than a million words because I could not summarize my feelings in a clear idea that could be easily pronounced. I was still trying to convince myself that it was real. Tons of emotions were flying around in my brain as I felt like a computer trying to swap memory to a hard disk full of information.
The show must go on and, right after a twenty minutes break, Roger's voice said "Now the journey back into the business time" together with the first notes of "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun". It was simply an awesome version of this legendary song, with projections of the Pink Floyd boys playing like kids several years ago. I can't avoid to write about the exceptional performance of Snowy White during the guitar solo. It has such an incredible feeling that it's hard to make a choice about which version of the song I most like.
After "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun", the section devoted to "Dark side of the Moon" begun, with the voices in the background and the pulse "in crescendo" as "Breathe (in the air)" begun. It's hard to say but, if you ask me for the highest point of the concert, it's impossible to forget the vision of a extremely bright shooting star crossing the sky from north to south as the audience were screaming and shouting with their eyes gathered together into a single zone of the sky. Coincidence or not, this astronomical phenomena confirms once again the connection between Pink Floyd and Astronomy. Now, back to the stage and with the clocks in the background announcing the moment for the song "Time" with Graham Broad simply brilliant with the introduction and Roger marking the time pulses with his bass. "Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day" ... come on Roger, with your music it's impossible to think in a dull day. Then it came "Breathe reprise" and the feeling all around was simply the satisfaction of the audience expressed in applause's, for the great moment of the softly spoken magic songs of Dark side of the Moon. Then, back to the reality with the falling coins and the Money riff, announcing that a real jam session was about to begin ... And it was a real jam session with just everybody doing their best during the song. At this point I have to say that Andy Fairweather Low really showed us how to play a guitar solo with aptitude. In the other hand, I have to state that Andy was not very friendly with me in the hotel but I have to recognize that he's an outstanding guitar player. Thanks Andy for your music. From this moment ahead, the magic haze of the Rogers's solo work took us to a point with no return. I am a fan of his solo work and it's easy for me to express my life in terms of the Rogers's solo albums. Once again, Andy Fairweather Low was exceptional and Roger's interpretation simply outstanding during "AKA 5:06 AM - Every stranger's eyes". Particularly, the sentence "Myself in every stranger's eyes" is by far a perfect definition of who is writing this concert analysis. Well, let's go back to the concert and with the beauty of the album "Amused to death".
The silence of the audience was incredible and Roger performing on the stage another exceptional solo album. "And the monkey looked up to the stars" and I can't avoid to think in what I do for living. My all life has been influenced by two factors: Pink Floyd & Astronomy and, during the concert, my thoughts went back to the observatory were I work and found myself as the Monkey of amused to death, trying to understand the nature of human beings and our role in the universe. Then it came the great chorus of P.P.Arnold, who gave us an incredible version of this beautiful part of the song. Then "Back to the game" and the war ironically with a Roger Waters raising his arms to the sky, trying to convince us that "All makes perfect sense". I really like it when Roger walks on the stage from side to side, getting closer to the audience, showing to the world with his aptitude that is just a human being with the power to communicate at a global scale, the human tragedy. Then it was the turn for "The bravery of being out of range" and the contagious rhythm of the song. The visit of Roger to Chile was a miracle and everybody got this feeling, because down here, far into the south, the Pink Floyd experience has been always a second hand experience, with 99% of the audience in the stadium watching by first time in their lives a concert like this one and, because of this, the song "It's a miracle" was a perfect song for this kind of reflections. To close the set devoted to his solo work, the song "Amused to death", with a bunch of beautiful scenes projected on the screen, gave us an unforgettable moment in our lives.
When Roger said "Gracias a ti" he was aiming his fingers straight down to the Chilean Pink Floyd community, that were very visible with the same banner used in the Hyatt hotel, during the autograph and photo session. It was the most emotive moment of the concert for us, because Roger knew where we in the audience.
But there was more ... because the sequence of "Brain damage" and "Eclipse" took us back into the journey back to the business time. "...But the Sun is eclipsed by the Moon" and my thoughts back to one of the basic elements of my life.
"Hey, thank you again"
Then, the presentation of the band crew took place, followed by "Comfortably numb" and the perfect dialog of Chester Kamen and Snowy White with their guitars. Wow ! I wish I could play my guitar with such feeling ! Thanks Chester and Snowy for this demonstration of a perfect combination of guitar playing style and feeling. After the usual encore, the band went back to the stage and the concert was over with "Each small candle". Let's remember that almost thirty years ago, the National stadium was the scenery used by the military, headed by the dictator Pinochet, to torture and kill their opposites. That's why "Each small candle" was quite special for me. I would say that for the vast majority of the audience, this song was a sort of extra bonus but they didn't knew anything about the meaning of this song. Obviously, the only ones with candles and lighters were the members of the Pink Floyd Chilean community and Roger just sung the song for us aiming his paranoid eyes to our group.
"Thank you again, goodnight"
Who are you ?
If the one behind the computer is Roger Waters, then I'll ask you to take a moment and read this letter. If you are not Roger Waters ... well, this letter is not for you and you better run to some other place in the web and, last but not least, don't even think about replying this e-mail just for fun or the worms will ate into your brain.
It's been so long and, finally, after years of waiting in quiet desperation, you are coming to play a concert in Chile, next March 5th 2002, estadio nacional. Let me introduce myself: My name is Felipe Mac-Auliffe, 30 years old, Chilean and, as one of the few, living out of my in my two passions: The universe and your music. The music that you have created has such an incredible feeling and power that, for years and years, has touched my life in a very good way. As a matter of fact, my all life has been absolutely influenced with you and your great style to communicate with the ones like me, outside your wall.
Far, far away is Chile.
I guess that you have never been here in Chile. Well, it's a country full of contrasts as the majority. And, down here, just myself trying to figure out how I am going to meet you coming March. Let's put it as this way: You're a human being like me, a lot more famous but, at last, a human being. One of those who are very hard to meet but not impossible. You will be so close the coming year to me that I have to meet you. Don't worry: I am not a terrorist, a maniac or anything like that. I am just a person who is looking to make his dreams come true, like the ones that everyday are in the focus point of the telescope that I use to understand the universe. Your visit to Chile is going to be one of the moments that I'll take as a demonstration that never it's too late to dream and, who knows (may be you, Roger), will make this dream come true.
This open letter is one of my plays in this enterprise to win this challenge. Internet is such a great way to contact people that I am determined to use it to meet you in March.
If the one reading this line is Roger Waters or anyone related to him (producers, managers, friends, etc.) drop me a line to schedule a meeting down here in Chile. Roger, go ahead with your music and I'll see you in March.
All the best,
PS If the one reading this line it's not Roger Waters but you think that you can give me a hand to meet Roger Waters during his next visit to Chile, don't hesitate to contact me.