The Wall by Roger Waters. A review.

I saw Mr. Waters perform his conceptual piece this past Sunday in LA.

I must confess to being a bit of a skeptic going in.

The whole thing reeked of the worst excesses of 70s prog rock to me.

For one there was a “concept”. It clearly wasn’t enough to just get on stage and play for Roger anymore.

Secondly, I’d never really been a Pink Floyd fan.

Thirdly, I wasn’t on acid. The traditional Floyd cure-all remedy. Or so I hear.

I’m very happy to report that my skepticism was wholly unjustified.

The Wall is a very big and dramatic idea executed flawlessly.

I did a bit of digging before going to the gig. It turns out Roger was an architecture student before joining Pink Floyd and that this remains an abiding interest.

So, no prizes for guessing which member of Pink Floyd was most likely to suggest building a wall then!

But the real motivation for the idea came from the alienation Roger Waters felt upon touring North America after the insanely successful Dark Side of The Moon album.

It should have been sheer bliss, right? Eighty thousand plus fans screaming love at you every night.

Well, it wasn’t for Roger. He hated that dynamic with a vengeance. He didn’t feel it (stadium gigs) encouraged an engaged audience. Which of course it didn’t.

It encouraged a disconnected audience of intoxicated yahoos waiting for their favorite Floyd song to be played.

So Roger had the idea of literally creating a wall between the performers and the audience. To make them FEEL something. And to make them think about what was actually going on.

All of which sounds very grand and operatic. And it is. The Wall is, in essence, a musical drama. Performance art.

But it also sounds poncey and affected in the extreme. Which it very much isn’t.

Roger Waters really meant this. It was the Floyd album where his creative energy and drive really asserted itself. The whole thing was his idea!

It forces the viewer/audience member to really think about what’s going on in ways they (and I include myself in this) can only really appreciate later on.

The Wall is deep man!

See it for yourself and you’ll understand why. I won’t pretend to do it justice here.

There’s a great clip in a Pink Floyd documentary where an American journalist asks a young Roger Waters to explain his concept on TV. Roger says to him “You’re kidding me man. I can’t explain The Wall on TV!”

Well I can’t explain The Wall on a blog either.

6 responses to “The Wall by Roger Waters. A review.

  1. After reading that Waters likened his production (and his need to create it) to a Picasso painting, this line seems apt: “But it also sounds poncey and affected in the extreme.” Good to know it is a very fulfilling experience.

    But I hope at least a few people were getting high.

    • well jetpacks, maybe we all worship Picasso a bit too much. Roger has made quite a dent in popular culture with stuff that isn’t exactly radio friendly. i couldn’t see any flaws in his execution. great show!

  2. Glad you enjoyed Vinny. The early Pink Floyd is heavy Acid-Mushroom rock. This is pre-Dark Side well culminated in Dark Side. They were the first to have a light show and have the UK version of Rave-Freak Outs. You need to get Relics and Umma Gumma! Seriously they got me into the grateful dead and round about into the techno stuff I listen to now.

    There are two great books you should read on 70’s music I think you would enjoy. The first is Frank Zappa’s autobiography which gets into details on the male masturbatory fantasy fulfilled by young males seeing music played by men in leather who all have guitar solos that climb up the scale just like …you get the picture! lol The second is Psychotic Reaction and Carburetor Dung which is the collection of Cream Magazine articles by Lester Bangs which gets into the darker alt-side of late 60’s through 70’s Rock- Ramones, Clash, Slade, Lou Reed, etc.
    http://www.amazon.com/Psychotic-Reactions-Carburetor-Dung-Literature/dp/0679720456

    • i think i like the later Floyd stuff howie. i have very little patience. and my days of doing psychedelics are weeks behind me at this point ;-)

  3. BTW if you like Lou Reed style indie rock Vinny you need to get the Radio Free Babylon song on ITunes called Where’s My JetPack.

  4. Curvin O'Rielly

    Dark Side, The Wall… anything by Pink Floyd is fine with me, especially when I’m driving down an Interstate late at night and crank up the volume to the point that it feels like my molars are vibrating.

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