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The Pros and Cons Of HitchHiking
In Concert

By Tom Bowers

This a complete and detailed description of the Pros and Cons stage show (or at least as detailed as I remember it). Other information and trivia about the album or tour may not have been included here so as to focus upon the show. The lyrics are taken from the US CD notes and are primarily included below so that we can understand the correct reference point. My comments are included as is information in the lyric sheet, or on the album itself, or is taken from the description given in the concert program. The program includes Gerald Scarfe's rough sketches for the stage show and by looking at these sketches (and his notes in the margin) I was able to sift thru my foggy memory and write a fairly accurate description of the show. It was a fascinating concert and it is the one concert (in the hundreds I've seen) that I'd MOST like to see over. Fortunately I *did* get to see the stage show again 8 months later (with a different backing band ) so my memory of the show is reasonably solid (having spent almost a year thinking about the first performance, and paying extra attention during the second performance).

The Performance and Stage show


The setting is a suburban bedroom somewhere near London. The backdrop behind the stage shows a huge modern bedroom. There is a fifty foot wide TV on the right, a large wall-length window on the left (with a clear moonlit night visible outside the bedroom), and a night-table with flowers and a book visible in the middle. An Englishman "Reg", is in bed with his American wife, and he has fallen asleep while watching "Shane" on the television.

The film visible on the TV from the audience's perspective, however, is NOT "Shane". Apparently the Englishman is dreaming of an incredibly violent b-grade western. Jack Palance has left his classic role in "Shane" and now appears in the western as the ringleader of a band of desperados. Shortly into the violent western film, a woman is gang raped by the desperados. The film continues for about about 15 minutes with people being killed about once every thirty seconds. The film is very difficult to to follow from a vantage point in the audience.

Eventually the western movie concludes and is replaced with a late night television test pattern. The test pattern is then in turn replaced with film footage of technicians at the television station. Apparently they are shutting the TV station down until the morning's programming. Then suddenly, without warning, a small streaking fireball appears at the uppermost left of the window and streaks toward the bedroom were everything suddenly goes red, there is an earth shattering explosion (in quadrophonic sound) and the bedroom bursts into flame.

From a vantage point in the audience, this effect is *incredibly* startling (even more so because it is entirely unexpected). Reg, struggling with this nightmare is startled by this horrible image and wakes his American wife. As she speaks, the room returns to normal.

Wife: "Wake up, you're dreaming" Reg: "What?" Wife: "You're dreaming" Reg: "We were moving away from the border" Wife: "Uh what border?" Reg mumbles disjointedly about his dream. His wife soothes him back to sleep.
As the music starts, the bedroom backdrop disappears. The audience sees an eery spotlight shining on Eric Clapton from behind as he plays the opening notes to "Apparently They Were Traveling Abroad". The concert has begun.


Reg returns to his dream. He and his wife are driving through continental Europe. There is a vague feeling of threat. The European psyche still shrinks from memories of The Jackboot. Borders are dangerous places. The law is a fickle friend. They pick up two hitch-hikers, a beautiful girl and a hooded terrorist...

The backdrop behind the band is now that of a red and white striped bar. It is a border gate. On the left, we start to see a border check point booth and the gate is lifted allowing free passage. As the songs proceeds, the border gate divides into three and "dances" as the music is played.

Reg: "We were moving away from the border Looking for somewhere to sleep. The two of us sharing the driving, Two hitch-hikers slumped in the back seat." Hitchhiker: "Hello" Reg: "I sneaked a quick look in the mirror.
The backdrop shows glance into a rear view mirror in time with the sound effect on the album.
Reg: "She gave me a smile. I said 'Is anyone hungry? Should we stop for a while?'"
Lust conquers fear, Reg courts the girl.
Reg: "So we pulled off into a layby. Her dress blew up over her head. I said 'Would you like to come with me?' She said something foreign under her breath." Reg: "And the sun shone down on her lovely young limbs.I thought to myself 'she's much too good for him'. I lay down beside her with tears in my eyes and she said; 'Y-E-S'".
The letters "Y""E""S" are displayed as the three windows on a slot machine. Immediately after Roger sings the words "and she said...", the backdrop changes to that of a slot machine. The slots are spinning and they stop in sync with the beats in the music, one letter at a time (beat-"Y", beat-"E", beat-"S"). The word "YES" is briefly apparent and then the slots begin spinning again to spell out a new word (beat-"S", beat-"E", beat-"X"). The slots then begin to spin again. This time one of the slots stops on a cherry (yes!) and another slot stops on the film image of a naked woman wearing nothing but a red knapsack and red high heels (with her ass pointed at the camera). The woman is standing in front of a white backdrop and the camera pulls away showing us what appears to be a photographer shooting the front cover for Roger's album. (the infamous photo that was quickly censored with a black mark obscuring the woman's rear end). A Hells Angel, however, rides through the backdrop on a motorcycle and the naked woman climbs on board and they ride off (the Hells Angel is Jack Palance).


His sensible family sedan metamorphosis into a metalic green Lamborghini.The girl is impressed. They go for a drive. The backdrop fades into an image of a winding white striped line (i.e. a typical highway divider line). The winding highway divider eventually fades and the backdrop fades into that of a moonlit cemetary.
Reg: "So I stood by the roadside The soles of my running shoes gripping the tarmac Like gunmetal magnets. Fixed on the front of her Fassbinder face Was the kind of a smile That only a rather dull child could have drawn While attempting a graveyard in the moonlight. But she was impressed, You could see that she thought I looked fine. And when she turned sweeter, The reason (between you and me) was She's just seen my green Lamborghini."
The backdrop changes to film footage of the hitch-hiker. She teases the camera and slowly entices us to follow her into a wooded area away from the main road. As she moves into the wooded area, she is slowly removing her clothing.
Reg: "So we went for a spin in the country, To feel the wind in my hair To feel the power of my engine To feel the thrill of desire".
He is about to seduce her when... Fear conquers lust.
Reg: "And then in the trees I heard a twig snap, Warning lights flashed on my map I opened my eyes and to my surprise..."


Paralysed by fear, he is whisked back to suburbia and attacked in his own home by a gang of Arab Terrorists.

The bedroom backdrop returns into our view. There are hooded terrorists visible outside of the window. We see a hand reach in and break the glass. The terrorists walk around the apartment as an alarm sounds and a siren light flashes at the audience. We see a hand turn off the alarm and the music then starts back up - there is a long pause between songs here that is not found on the album. N.B. Someone posted something about dialog in this spot that is found on some liner notes. I suspect that corresponds to words spoken by the terrorists as they invade the apartment (I don't really remember).

Reg: "...there were Arabs with knives at the foot of the bed. Right at the foot of the bed. Oh my God, how did they get in here? I thought we were safe home in England" Hitch-hiker: "Come on now kid, it was wrong what you did. You've got to admit it was wrong."

As the terrorists enter the bedroom, we first see a huge knife glisten. We then see an arm attached to that knife, and finally a hooded terrorist is seen approaching the bed. The backdrop then fades into a flesh colored pastel, only to be interuppted by an image of a knife that splits the triple-screen as it travels the entire backdrop from the very left of the stage to the very right (about the width of a hockey rink). The knife leaves a trail of blood in its wake that seeps downward as the knife slices across.

Reg rages in his impotence as the Arabs rape his wife.

Reg: "Oh god... Jesus Leave her alone...get out..out..get out of my house."
The backdrop fades into a triple screen image of a mouth screaming "LEAVE HER ALONE" (in sync with the voice from the album). This image fades into that of a person wading in a pool of blood.
Reg: "Sleep, Sleep I know that I'm only dreaming. Through closed eyes I see West German skies on the ceiling. And I want to get back To the girl with the rucksack, To feel her flaxen hair. I want to be there. See the sun going down Behind Krupp's steelworks On the outskirts of some German Town..."
A sihlouette of an industrial village is shown against an orange backdrop.


(A small Hotel overlooking the Rhine)
Reg and the girl eat dinner.

A Gerald Scarfe drawing of a fat German fellow dressed in green (with the caption "Guten tag! Miner Namen ist Fritz") serves as the backdrop for a huge paper mache puppet that pops out out of nowhere (complete with a huge mug of beer in his hand) and flits about in time with the album for about 5-10 seconds. Pretty interesting given that the puppet doesn't appear anywhere else in the show. A prime example of the excess associated with this production. I honestly think Roger was out to "top" The Wall show (and he probably did, at least in terms of the staging itself - the whole show was about 100 times more impressive than the KAOS stage show - if you can believe that.

Fritz: "Guten Abend meiner Damen und Harren Ha Ha Ha Ha Wilkomemmen in Konigsburg Ha Ha Ha Ha Wollen zei danzen mit mir oder drinken Bier Ha Ha Ha Ha"
The backdrops dissolves into orange and green Scarfe drawings of laughing German people.
Reg: "Thank you but..... This young lady and I Will just finish this bottle of wine It was kind of you...but I think we'll just say goodnight." Reg: (thinking to himself): "Leave us alone." Reg: (to Fritz): "Goodnight." Reg: (to himself): "Leave us alone." Reg: (to front desk clerk): "Could I have the key to 143 please?"
The triple screen images fades to that of three doors. The center door has 143 on it.
Front desk clerk: "There you are" Reg: "Thank you goodnight." He takes her upstairs and orders breakfast. Reg: (to room service): "Hello, yes, I'd like to order breakfast please" "I'd like coffee for two, and toast with marmalade No...marmalade." He locks the door. He reaches out for her...


The backdrop changes to that of moonlit mountain scenary overlooking the River Rhine, complete with a boat heading from right to left across the backdrop as it steams along the river.
Reg: "For the first time today I held her naked body next to mine In this hotel overlooking the Rhine I made her mine."


Reaching out in his dream he wakes his wife again. She is not a pleased woman.
He is horny.

The bedroom backdrop returns, "Shane" is still on the TV. (This comes from Scarfe's notes on the stage design in the program. I don't remember this as being part of the show I saw.)

Reg: "ooh babe... ooh babe Come with me and stay with me, Please stay with me." Wife: "Uh... what is it?" Reg: "Stay with me Stay with me Stay with me" Wife: "No..." Reg: "Stay with me"
She rejects him and goes back to sleep.
Wife: "Forget it"
He lies in bed, brittle and angry. "Bloody toast crumbs" He silently rants.


He falls asleep again.
At this point the backdrop becomes Scarfe-animated colorful shapes that continually change their form (frequently suggesting sexual behavior - not unlike the fucking flowers found in the Wall movie.
Reg: "Hey...girl Take out the dagger And let's have a stab at the sexual revolution. Hey girl Let freedom for all be our rallying call Tommorow lets make...our new resolution. Yeah, but tonight lie still While I plunder your sweet grave And remember Only the poor can be saved." Reg: "Hey girl As I've always said, I prefer your lips red Not what the good lord made But what he intended. Hey girl Don't point the finger at me. I am only a rat in a maze like you And only the dead go free. So...please hold my hand As we blunder through the maze And remember Nothing can grow without rain". (thunder and rain)
As the thunder and rain washes over the audience in quadrophonic sound, the backdrop shows an image of a pair of red high heeled shoes walking up a stairway dripping blood in their wake (note: there is no person in the "walking shoes".
Reg: "Don't point Don't point your finger at me." Reg: "I awoke in a fever, The bedclothes were all soaked in sweat. She said 'You've been having a nightmare And it's not over yet'. Then she picked up the doggy in the window (The one with the waggly tail) And she put him to bed between two bits of bread.

The backdrop fades into an image of "Reg the dog" between two slices of bread, the "ketchup" appears to be blood. We see Reg as he sees himself in his dream, represented as the "Scarfe" Reg dog.


Reg the dog is now shown pinned up against a wall. "Home Sweet Home" is next to Reg on the wall.
Reg: "I just cowered in the corner My pyjama coat over my head. And she smiled as she finished her sandwich. And her cold eyes fixed me to my dark history As she brushed the remains Of our love from the bed."
Reg dreams of a geographical solution to his marital problems - They will return to his wife's native land and live off it. She will be fulfilled. They will be happy.
Reg: "And when she had turned back the covers, When all of the prayers had been read, She said Wife: "Come one over here you silly boy Before you catch you're death of cold I was only joking.
At this point, knives are thrown at the wall pinning REG
"I say old girl,steady on."
If you listen carefully to the album you can actually hear the knives thrown at Reg at this point.
Let's leave behind the city grime, Let's not compete, It could be fine in the country. Couldn't it though...come on let's go Reg: "I said 'OK'" Wife: "Are we going to go now?" Reg: "Where would you like to go darling?" Wife: "Mmm...Vermont...Wyoming." Man(nods yes): "Wyoming..." Wife: "huh huh Children..." Children(straighten up as if to say "What?"): Wife: "We're going to Wyoming" (in car) Reg: "Darling... Which way is Wyoming?" Wife: "Hook a right here. "You're going the wrong way." Reg: "I know that." Reg: "I know children... Let's see how many...Volvos we pass On the way to our new life in the country. ...(that's) One." Wife (turning to child in backseat): "Jade, don't do that, that's really negative."


The backdrop fades to yellow-ish Wyoming mountain scenery.
Reg: "As cars go by, I cast my mind's eye Over back packs on roof racks Beyond the horizon Where dream makers Working white plastic processors Invite the unwary To reach for the pie in the sky. Go fishing my boy!" (A cabin in Wyoming) Reg: "We set out in spring With a trunk full of books about everything. About solar devices And how nice natural childbirth is. We cut down some trees And we trailed our ideals Through the forest glade. We damned up the stream." Reg: "And the kids cooled their heels In the fishing pool we'd made. We held hands and we exchanged bands And we practically lived off the land. You adopted a fox cub Whose mother was somebody's coat. You fed him by hand And then snuggled him down In the grandfather bed while I wrote. We grew our own maize And I only ocassionaly went into town To stock up on antibiotics And shells for the shotgun that I kept around. I told the kids stories While you worked your loom And the sun went down sooner each day." Reg: "Chapter six, in which Eeyore has a birthday And gets two presents..." (pauses to light a joint)

The backdrop changes to a triple screen image of Reg the dog smoking a joint. This fades into an image of a surprised Reg saying:
"Cripes! It's the wife."
The wife (also a dog) replys to a floating multi-colored Reg

"Reg, come down here you ridiculous clown and get on with some work."

The Children are restless after the long drive. They want Reg to read them a story. He reluctantly reads from "Winnie the Phoo."

Children: "Daddy...come on dad!" Reg: "Eeyore the old grey donkey stood by the side Of the stream and he looked at himself in the water 'Pathetic!' he said. 'That's what it is.' 'Good morning Eeyore' said Pooh. 'Oh' said Pooh. He thought for a long time.
After many months living in the country, going through trial and tribulations. Reg feels satisfied having conquered the elements and making a good home for his familly. But his wife, unbeknownst to him, hates country living and has become very bored. Through the problems of self-reliance the couple polarises. In the end his wife finds excitement in another man, a stranger. Regs' dream of country life is shattered. The experiment fails.
Reg: "The leaves all fell down Our crops all turned brown It was over. As the first snowflakes fell, I realised all was not well in the camp. The kids caught bronchitis The space heater ran out of diesel.
She falls in love with a "friend from the East".
Reg: "One weekend a friend from the East, (Rot his soul!) Stole your heart. I said 'Fuck it then Take the kids back to town Maybe I'll see you around.'

At this point we see an image of Reg the dog staggering drunk. The caption says "I don't normally drink in the afternoon."

They part.

Reg: "And so...leaving all our hopes and dreams To the wind and the rain Taking only our stash Left our litter and trash And set out on the road again. On the road again." Jade: "Bye bye Daddy, Bye Daddy. You can bring Pearl, she's a darn nice girl But don't bring Liza..."


(The edge of a highway - somewhere in the States)
Reg is now alone.
He is the hitch-hiker.

Reg: "For the first time today I feel it's really over. You were my everyday excuse For playing deaf, dumb, and blind. Who'd have ever thought This is how it would end for you and me, To carry my own millstone Out of the trees. And I have to admit I don't like it a bit Being left here beside this lonesome road." Wife: "Lonesome road." Reg & Wife: "Lonesome raod."


(A truck pulls up.)

The backdrop for this song corresponds to film footage of a truck pulling up to Reg .
The film has the trucker talking and basically follows the narative of the song.

Truckdriver: "Hey kid, you looking for a lift?... Get on up here. "How's it going good buddy?" He climbs in and whines to the truck driver. Reg: "I nailed ducks to the wall Kept my heart in dark ruins I built bungalows all over the hills Dunroamin, duncarin, dunlivin. Took my girl to the country To sleep out under the moon, Next thing she's going crazy..."
The truck driver, happy to join in the battle of the sexes, commiserates for a while.
Truckdriver: "Women are like that kid What the hell can you do?" Reg: "...She waits for the real Mr. Right to come, Gently removing her heart With his promises of real communication..." Truckdriver: "I saw a program about that on TV..." Reg: "Who's always picking up the tab? Who built a bungalow for his his mum and dad?" Me....." Reg: "Who took you out to all the shows? Who worked his fingers to the bone? Reg: (to himself): "Me.... It was me... I did." Reg: "While you were asleep I kept you in buttons and bows (Christ! All those clothes!) So you could encourage this creep With his neat feet And his clean fingernails With his wise but twinkling eyes. He's a rock standing out in an ocean of doubt..." Truckdriver (not paying attention to the man but to the road instead): "Get movin', get off the road ya Goddam faggot" Reg: "...And compromise. I'd like to go with this bit of a song Describing this schmuck. I'd like to go on, but I'm going to throw up."
Then, realising that our hero is about to vomit all over his highly polished cowboy boots, he throws him out of the rig.

Truckdriver: "Not in my rig you don't boy...get the hell out of here!"


(The Gutter)
Things go from bad to worse.
An Angel on a Harley Pulls across to greet a fellow rolling stone. Puts his bike up on its stand, Leans back, and then extends A scarred and greasy hand... he said Hells Angel: "How ya doin' bro?...Where ya been?...Where ya goin'?
We see film footage of Jack Palance (as a Hells Angel) extending his hand behind the band.
Then he takes your hand In some strange Californian handshake And breaks the bone." Hells Angel's Girlfriend: "Have a nice day!" A housewife from Encino, Whose husband's on the golf course With his book of rules, Breaks and makes a 'U' and idles back To take a second look at you. You flex your rod, Fish takes the hook. Sweet Vodka and tobacco in her breath, Another number in your little black book.
At this point there is no backdrop. For once we have nothing to look at but the band.
Housewife from Encino: "These are the pros and cons of hitch-hiking "These are the pros and cons of hitch-hiking." Reg: "Oh babe, I must be dreaming. I'm standing on the leading edge The Eastern seaboard sp read before my eyes. Yoko Ono: "Jump!" Reg: "Oh no...I'm too scared and too good looking" Yoko Ono: "Go on. Why don't you give it a try? Why prolong the agony? All men must die" Reg: "Do you remember Dick Tracy? Do you remember Shane?" Could you see him selling tickets Where the buzzard circles over The body on the plain." Television in the bedroom: "Shane!" Reg: "Did you understand the music Yoko, Or was it all in vain?" Television in the bedroom: "Shane!" Reg: "The botch said something mystical So I stepped back on the curb again." These are the pros and cons of hitch-hiking.


(A truckstop) A waitress with a heart of gold sympathizes with our hero reaffirming his basic belief in life and love.

The film footage used here includes the waitress at the beginning and ends with soaring mountain scenary (the kind used in those movies where you sit in some room at Disneyland and they try to get you sick by showing you footage of planes soaring over cliffs, rollercoaster rides, etc. The exact same footage was used for this song on the Radio KAOS tour.

Waitress (an older version of the hitch-hiker with the ruck-sack): "Hello... you wanna cup of coffee? Another truckdriver: "Hey turn down that fucking jukebox!" Waitress: "I'm sorry, would you like a cup of coffee? Ok, you take cream and sugar?" Reg: "In truck stops and hamburger joints, In Cadillac limosines, In the company of has-beens, And bent backs, and sleeping forms On pavement steps, In libraries and railway stations, In books and banks, In the pages of history, In suicidal cavalry attacks, I recognise... Myself, in every strangers eyes." "And in wheelchairs by monuments, Under tube trains and commuter accidents, In council care and county courts, At Easter fairs in sea-side resorts, In drawing rooms and city morgues, In award winning photographs Of life rafts in the China seas, In transit camps, under arc lamps, On unloading ramps, In faces blurred by rubber stamps, I recognise... Myself, in every strangers eyes. "And now from where I stand Upon this hill I plundered from the pool, I look around, I search the skies. I shade my eyes, so nearly blind, And I see signs of half-remembered days. I hear bells that chime in strange familiar ways. I recognise... The hope you kindle in your eyes."
He wakes.

Clapton plays a masterful guitar solo


(Back in Suburbia) As he awakes our hero experiences a moment of clarity. He feels at one with the world.
He has the answer?
Reg: "It's oh so easy now As we lie here in the dark. Nothing interferes, it's obvious How to beat the tears That threaten to snuff out The spark of our love."


(The bedroom - One minute later.)
The moment fades.
Reg: "And the moment of clarity Faded like charity does Sometimes."
Reg is afraid. He reaches out and touches his wife's hair.
Reg: "I opened one eye And I put out my hand just to touch your soft hair To make sure in the darkness, that you were still there. And I have to admit, I was just a little afraid, oh yeah But then...
She is awake.
Reg: "I had a little bit of luck You were awake I couldn't take another moment alone."
He loves her.

The band returns for an encore of "Brain Damage->Eclipse" complete with the original footage used during the Dark Side Of the Moon show. This footage shows Nixon, Kissinger, Idi Amin (laughing in sync to the booming laugh from the Dark Side album), and other world leaders and ends with explosions during the "All that you touch, all that you feel, etc." part

This show was preceeded by the following set of old Floyd standards:

    "Set The Controls For the Heart of The Sun"
    "Money" (using the unedited Dark Side film, the film used by Gilmour during the Momentary Lapse tour was missing the naked woman with the coins falling on her)
    "Welcome To The Machine" (with cartoon)
    "Have A Cigar"
    "Wish You Were Here" (with footage of business men in suits, Clapton's playing is masterful on this)
    "Pigs On The Wing" (with film footage of Pig at Battersea)
    "In The Flesh" (with walking hammers cartoon)
    "Nobody Home" (with Rog watching TV in little room)
    "Hey You"
    "The Gunner's Dream"(with footage apparently prepared for THE "Final Cut" tour that never took place)

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