Sunday, November 7, 2010


I finally saw Roger Waters' tour tonight: for those of you who don't know, he's been playing Pink Floyd's 1979 classic, The Wall, start to finish, complete with a humongous production. Just like at the select concerts they did to promote the album in 1979 and 1980 (and the one show Waters did in Berlin in 1990), an actual "wall" was built around the stage during the concert.  There were costumes, lights, gigantic puppets, and lots of video (the wall itself was used as a projection screen, but Roger also used the circular video screen that he, and Floyd, have always used at their shows). There was a lot to look at, nearly every song had a different visual aspect to it.

But it worked, and never seemed Spinal Tap-ed out. Because at the core of it is one of the greatest albums of all time, an incredible song cycle that works incredibly well, but most of the songs stand on their own as classics.  But the story itself is so moving: the story of a boy whose father went to war, never came back, and that boy was never the same.  This sense of loss, and the alienation that came from it, had influenced Roger Waters' songwriting throughout his career, but was most fully realized on The Wall. I wonder if it was therapudic for him: I wonder if it helped him to feel better afterwards.

Waters kind of comes off as a scary guy, although the recent cover story in Rolling Stone magazine went a long way to humanizing him (in my opinion). He really is a pretty sensitive guy: most of his rage comes at his anger with people being treated unfairly (or worse). During the intermission of the show tonight, and during "Goodbye Blue Sky," Waters projected names and photos of people who died in war (soldiers and civilians), he solicited these photos and stories via his website.

Anyway, the concert itself was incredible. The band was great, although  I didn't love the other singer - the guy who sang David Gilmour's parts. A few years ago, Roger was using Doyle Bramhall II, who I liked better.  But they always managed to keep the focus on the music, which is at the core of the whole thing, and hasn't lost any of its power, three decades later. Waters has said that this will be his last tour (I think he's close to 70), but he looked and sounded so good, I hope he does another one - if not a "Wall" tour, at least another tour where he plays songs from his entire career (including his solo stuff).

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