I think I bought the tickets 4 or 5 months ago so I've been looking forward to this concert for a very, very long time. I was a little bit worried that it'd just never live up to my expectations.
It was to start at 8:00pm. We got there at around 7:15 or so, so we were plenty early. "I wonder who's going to open for Roger Waters?" I asked mercurystatic. I mean who can open for such a legend of rock and roll?
We got our seats which were at the upper balcony, way far away from the stage and with a big array of speakers between us and the circular screen that would show a lot of the videos and images for the concert. Oh well. I was still certain that it would be a great show.
On the stage "The Wall" was partially built and spanned across the entire stage and surrounding seats. Each brick was probably 2'x1' and was its own light-emitting screen so that The Wall was a giant video screen. The center was only one brick high before the show started and the sides were anywhere from 3 to 5 bricks high, I believe.
Turns out there was no opening band. I found that a little weird. I mean, yeah, no one can even come close to Roger Waters/Pink Floyd but you gotta have something to prime the audience. I'm always annoyed by how long I have to wait for the headliner to come out after the opening act, but now I realize that it really gets the crowd warmed up and eager to see who they paid to see.
The concert started out with that famous audio clip from Spartacus. "I am Spartacus! I am Spartacus! I am Spartacus!" Each time we heard the line a spotlight would shine down on the crowd at the floor; it was a really cool effect.
Waters got right into the wall after that intro, playing In the Flesh?. I've seen Which One's Pink? perform this song live, but there's something about seeing Waters perform it that just makes it incredible.
I mean, at the end of the song a model plane flew down from the ceiling and crashed into The Wall, knocking a big portion of it down and spitting a plume of flame several feet into the air. Jesus it was amazing. And all in the first 4 minutes.
David Gilmour wasn't there (of course) but the guitarist in his place was very, very good. That especially came through during Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1). The partially completed wall turned a sort of blood red. It's hard to describe the video shown on the wall; if I had to explain it it was almost like red, ominous, intense clouds flowing down the wall fairly quickly. It really went well with the guitar part at the beginning of the song.
Then the lyrics. God Pink Floyd lyrics are amazing.
"Daddy's flown across the ocean...
Daddy, what'dyou leave behind for me!?
All in all it was all just a brick in the wall
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall..."
Gives me chills just typing it.
The Wall on the stage got a little higher.
Between Another Brick in the Wall and The Happiest Days of Our Lives, when the helicopter sound effects played, a spotlight pointed at the audience started "hovering" off the ground and sort of floating from side to side, sweeping over the audience as if looking for someone. Eventually it focused in on one spot:
"YOU! YES YOU! STAND STILL LADDY!"
And there it was, a giant marionette of "the teacher" with his hammer head on the right hand side of the stage. And that intense beginning to The Happiest Days of Our Lives started playing.
Waters played through the song about the same as it is on the album. That is to say, amazingly.
And The Wall on the Stage got a little higher.
And then that scream and straight into Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) and those famous lyrics:
"We don't need no education...
HEY! TEACHER! LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE!"
Before the chorus of children started playing a group of young kids rushed the stage to dance and perform during the song. It was pretty cute. They must have been local kids because they had a simple routine that they kinda messed up; but it was still entertaining and nice to see that Waters was including them for the big show.
Goodbye Blue Sky is another fan favorite and the performance was very good. The visuals played on "The Wall" screen were similar to the ones played in the movie but not exactly the same. A lot of war imagery and birds and planes and black and white and red. And of course it transitioned perfectly into Empty Spaces. The visuals here were basically an extension to what was in the movie; the overhead circular screen played the animated flower sequence and The Wall played their stems or vines or whatever they were as they "reacted" to each other. It was good. And it was the extended version from the movie, of course.
And The Wall on the stage got higher still.
During Young Lust we were treated to images of naked women. Halright.
During One of My Turns we had the usual visuals of the groupie in Pink's hotel room with her usual chatter: "This place is bigger than our apartment!... Wanna take a bath?"
During Don't Leave Me Now a huge marionette of the wife monster came down on the left side of the stage. It was hard to see from where I sat, but amazing nonetheless.
By now The Wall was almost entirely built. All that was left were the final two tracks from the first disc: Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3) and Goodbye Cruel World.
"Goodbye cruel world, there's nothing you can say
to make me change my mind...
And with that, the final brick was put into the wall.
A beautiful, calming guitar part. A spacey keyboard part.
"Hey you out there in the cold
Feeling lonely, getting old can you feel me?"
The whole band at this point was behind The Wall. Roger himself was behind the wall at times, only showing himself on the big circular screen above center stage. Roger and the band came in front of the wall, but not until after the audience felt a barrier between us and the performers, just like how Waters felt when he wrote the piece.
One of the saddest songs on the album Nobody Home was one of the saddest songs of the concert. The lyrics just resonate with me, and Waters did a good job with the performance. A small section of The Wall opened up and revealed Waters in what looks to be a hotel room, by himself, watching a TV.
"I've got a strong urge to fly,
But I've got nowhere to fly to, fly to, fly to, fly to..."
Bring the Boys Back Home was full of much pomp and circumstance, of course. The Wall showed images of war torn areas and showed anti-war messages.
And then Comfortably Numb.
I have to say, I was somewhat underwhelmed by this performance. I think it was just impossible to live up to my own expectations for it.
First off, Waters is getting old. He's been performing this album for a loooong time. It just didn't seem.... sincere. I don't know it's hard to put my finger on it now.
And then what's worse is that Gilmour has promised to sing Comfortably Numb at one of the performances on this tour, and I was really, really hoping that it would be this one. And it wasn't, of course. And the replacement singer just wasn't up to par with Gilmour. Sorry, but it's true. When I'm hoping for the best even great doesn't cut it. I didn't let it bother me too much though. It's still one of my favorite songs of all time.
The visuals for The Trial were basically exactly what they were from the movie, with the solicitor and judge. One notable difference was during the lines like,
"Crazy, toys in the attic, I am crazy..."
Where The Wall appeared to be animated such that it spinned around, a neat effect.
At the end of the song "Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall!" they actually tore down the wall. The whole thing came toppling down, completely destroyed.
After a minute or so the band members came on stage to play a sort of acoustic, semi-improvised-sounding rendition of the final song, Outside the Wall. Waters was even showing his stuff on the trumpet. It was a nice way to finish out the concert.
There was no encore. The house lights went on and everyone left what would probably be the greatest show they would ever see.
Another Brick in the Wall
classic rock, rock, progressive rock