out and about: roger waters
    • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2010

    • Posted by:

    Pictured above: a still from the 1982 film.

    There is a newly created production of The Wall going on tour (with Roger Waters at the helm, dubbed The Wall Live), and we had the pleasure of seeing it before it officially hits the road. The production does not disappoint, bringing the iconic eighty minutes of music to life in a show that is more rock theater than straightforward performance. Much can be said for The Wall Live regarding it's obvious metaphorical value, or its relevance to several generations of alternative music fans. But one thing is for sure, despite its themes being rooted in a specific time and place, specifically for (and about) the people who created it, The Wall continues to hold meaning to a large amount of fans and musicians across the world.

    It started out simply enough... Roger Waters had a desire to bring the music back to the stage, with an incredibly tight band to back him up, and visuals to match. Although the members of Pink Floyd have had their legal disputes in recent years, their work has not languished in litigation hell... Waters legally retained the rights to perform his magnum opus solo, albeit without the "Pink Floyd" name attached to it. And the production was assembled, rightfully so, by the man who was really the focal point of the concept album's loose storyline. So it feels genuine, even during the silliest of moments (nothing says rock and roll like an intermission, but it's filled with melancholy blurbs recounting of the loss of loved ones to acts of war and violence). Plus, Waters encouraging a choir of children during the titular song, with the saccharine look of a giddy grandfather, does not exactly parallel their iconic decent into the meat-grinders. But I digress.

    The Wall tells a tale of isolation, fear, and emotional detachment that parallels Waters' own experiences in the late 70s. Today, he is a different man, and the production must allow for some wiggle room. But still present are many of the things that made The Wall so compelling... things like the wall itself is being built throughout the first half (like the original tour) contribute to the feeling of foreboding. Halfway through, the bricks overtake the stage, and have political commentary and imagery projected on to them. Included among them are some of the original film spectres (the images created by Gerald Scarfe), the puppets (all of whom make physical appearances), the marching hammers, the doll representing "Pink", or the manifestation of Waters in the story, and the entire fantastical trial scene leading up to the climactic tear-down. When the wall crumbles, a seemingly impossible to deconstruct network of images (projected onto each individual brick by what must have been at least 50 different sources), you feel it. The visuals are stunning and affecting.

    Thirty years after its initial release, Roger Waters' deeply personal exploration of his demons continues to resonate, if not for its relevance to today's political landscape, but its place in the collective conscious of several generations of music fans. The masses crowded the front of the stage at the Izod Center, despite having floor seats close enough to see the wrinkles on Waters' face. They wanted to recreate that experience of being so close they could feel his spit as he sang; something a die-hard younger generation experiences all the time with their favorite rising artists. For many, The Wall still holds value, and that's the most important element of the tour... as long as it is still resonating, it's still worth revisiting again and again. -joe puglisi

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