Archive for October, 2010

Roger Waters – The Wall – Live

October 1st, 2010 No comments

There must have been some point in your life when you went to see the movie “The Wall”. Acquaintances would tell you that you needed to be stoned to understand Bob Geldof, playing the role as Pink, shaving his eyebrows off and going batshit crazy.

Roger Waters, the brainchild behind Pink Floyd’s epic journey centers upon both Waters own life and that of Syd Barrett, original member and former front man for the band. After Pink Floyd’s inaugural album ‘Piper At the Gates of Dawn”, Barrett’s own mental breakdown plus drug abuse brought David Gilmour into the band full time. While the band’s major success came after Barrett left, the relics of what happened and future events had always played a role in the bands music.

During the creation of “Wish You Were Here”, Barrett was in the studio one day and it took awhile for the members of Pink Floyd to actually realize that Barrett was there, his head shaved as well as his eyebrows. The story of Pink in The Wall is as much about the stardom that Barrett was never able to deal with as well as Water’s own upbringing, with his father dying when he was only 4 months old and being raised by an overprotected mother.

The premise of the ideas behind “The Wall” is not some happy journey through the psyche of Pink Floyd but a torturous and sad spectacle through the eyes of a rock star falling apart, with the struggles of family, government and his own personal life.

So the decision for me to actually go to the show became a last minute endeavor, one that was heavily promoted amongst friends on Facebook, who began posting photos of this technical masterpiece. True to the form, this is more “Theater” than “Rock Performance”, where the performance of the music itself is secondary to the imagery created onstage.

Some might question the fact that this is not being done by Pink Floyd but Roger Waters only. Minus only a couple of songs like ‘Comfortably Numb’ and ‘Run Like Hell’, the songwriting on ‘The Wall’ was predominantly by Waters as his was the concept behind the album.

The technical aspects of the show, sound, lighting and theatrics are the reason to go. If you are going to see the music being performed by the band and Waters, that premise becomes a secondary endeavor and from this viewer that is fine by me. Waters, hitting 67 is not as sprite as the 37 year old performer when this concept album was created.

Not wanting to spoil too many of the elements of the show, I would not surprise any of the readers of this article by pointing out that there is a “Wall” that is constructed onstage. The central premise from a social, political and personal standpoint is the idea of what this wall means for the viewers. As Waters has pointed out in the past, when the album was created, Waters was having issues dealing with the wall that he felt was being built up between himself and the audience and ironically the Wall constructs the ideas and thoughts going on in “Pink’s” head rather watching the disintegration of Pink in the movie.

What this show is not is a rehash of the storyline of “The Wall” circa 1980 but rather brings some of the themes up-to-date and in a much broader perspective. Waters on his site brings up the idea that he is still a dreamer on his website but my feeling is that this is still a very dreary and depressing album.

Will there be people out there that will be lost in the messages being portrayed by Waters.  The problem with a piece like The Wall is that the messages of “We don’t need no education” is not the point, nor the crossed fist salute which is more “Fascist” in nature but is also ironic being that it’s rendition in a rock concert is exactly opposite to the message that most artists are trying to attain.

Water’s very own “Anti-Consumerism” message throughout the performance also has to raise questions considering the cost of the event. The obvious aspect of spending upwards of 200 dollars a ticket for the best seats and rail against our propensity to spend offers some slight egg to the face of Waters. To Water’s defense, I felt that the message squared more on the government’s promotion of our consumerist society. Those in charge want us to spend money, to encourage economic growth by positive messages. We are in a recession right now with that same message, most notably from many spending and borrowing beyond their means.

Good art asks questions and might even poke fun of the artists as Waters has done. He has broadened the intent of “The Wall”, made it darker, contradictory but still a compelling rock opera that will haunt audiences. It was a technical marvel and one that I will not soon forget.

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