All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

Roger Waters Live @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

One can’t help but be in (absolute) awe when assigned to photograph Roger Waters. The Australian leg of his Us & Them tour had been announced a long time ago now and the minute I saw the posters throughout Melbourne I was saying to myself, ‘gee that would be an incredible opportunity’.

I hoped long and hard that I would get the opportunity and on Friday afternoon I received the call from the boss at Overdrive Magazine… “Roger Waters is yours. Confirmed!”

I was floored. I didn’t remember applying for this one via Overdrive so it was quite a pleasant surprise.

I’m photographing Roger Waters! That was the only thing on my mind for the next 24 hours from receiving confirmation, to picking up my photo-pass from the tour manager moments before being escorted into the mighty Rod Laver Arena.

It was a bit of an anxious wait. Our contact was about 20 minutes late and every minute that approaches showtime just makes you and your fellow photographers all them ore nervous.

Sure enough, we were finally led in. The usual trek through the crowd with 7-8 photographers marching along in single-file to the foot of the stage.

Rod Laver Arena Crowd

In a differing set of circumstances than usual, we were not to shoot song 1 of the set. Instead, we were granted access to cover song 2 and 3 and then song 7. I think most photographers present were happy with that as it allowed us to stay in the arena for 7 songs and not just the usual 3 so we would get to see a bit of the show.

I had tickets for tomorrow night’s show anyway so I was very much looking forward to being at an actual concert without all the gear tagging along!

Indeed, it was an amazing thrill to be at the foot of the front of the stage being completely overwhelmed by the incredible sound this band of ultimate musical professionals was producing. It was utterly enthralling with Roger posing and making eye-contact with the photographers present.

After song seven we were escorted out but the thrill of experiencing Waters even for this minuscule amount of concert time was priceless.

I could not wait for tomorrow night to arrive and experience the entire concert as a fan.

A Roger Waters concert is a highly visual affair too. His stage shows are always on the impressive side and this tour did not disappoint in the slightest. Flying pigs and moons. Prism laser shows. Highly detailed and very, very elaborate projection displays all just add to the magical musical score on offer. I can safely say that this was one of the best gigs I have ever been to!


Roger Waters

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