“We are engaged here tonight in part of a larger existential battle for the very soul of the human race.” Watch Roger Waters play Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here at London concert promoting peace, freedom and justice for Palestine

Roger Waters
(Image credit: Double Down News YouTube)

Roger Waters headlined a Stand Up For Palestine benefit concert at St. Pancreas Church in London on Friday, June 21, performing Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, and his still-officially-unreleased solo song The Bar, which he has been playing on tour since 2022. 

Pink Floyd's former leader was in typically uncompromising form at the fund-raising concert, which also featured rapper Lowkey and singer/songwriter Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), and served both to promote peace, freedom and justice for Palestine and to rally support for Andrew Feinstein, an independent candidate standing against Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer in his parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras, ahead of the UK General Election on July 4.

"To prevent the genocide enabler, Kier Starmer, from becoming Prime Minister would be a huge gift to the people of England and in fact, to the whole of mankind," Waters told the north London audience, adding his view that the Labour leader, "lives in a cage of his own choosing, where he does the bidding of the ruling class."

Opening his speech on the night, Waters said, "I'm sure many of you, like me, live on the brink of tears. We live on the uncomfortable edge, on the brink of tears, because we feel empathy, for our brothers and sisters in Gaza and the other occupied territories in Palestine."

As an introduction to Wish You Were Here, the singer/songwriter added, "People sometimes think Wish You Were Here is a lament for a dead childhood friend of mine, Syd Barrett. Well, guess what, sometimes it is, but not tonight.... tonight is for Palestine." 

Waters concluded his pre-set speech by stating, "We are also engaged here tonight in part of a larger existential battle for the very soul of the human race."

You can watch the concert in full below: Waters begins addressing the crowd around the one hour, 43 minutes and 30 seconds mark.

STAND UP FOR PALESTINE • Roger Waters • Yusuf Cat Stevens • Lowkey • LIVE - YouTube STAND UP FOR PALESTINE • Roger Waters • Yusuf Cat Stevens • Lowkey • LIVE - YouTube
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Israel's attacks upon Gaza came in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attacks on 22 locations in Israel, during which more than 1,160 Israeli citizens, mostly civilians, were killed.

The BBC reports today that Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the "intense phase” of fighting Hamas in Gaza is nearly over, but added that this “doesn’t mean the war is about to end”, vowing to continue military operations until Hamas is driven from power.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.