The Wall Live
I estimate I have seen/been part of roughly 1,000 shows in my lifetime so far. There have been some great above and beyond shows during that time. Metallica 1988 Justice Tour at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, Queensryche 1992 Empire Tour at the Arco Arena in Sacramento (Operation: Mindcrime in its entirety), Metallica 1997 Pour Touring Me at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Fleetwood Mac 2004 Say You Tour at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, and Judas Priest 2005 Retribution Tour at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow are my top five shows of all times.
When asked the age old question, ‘Who do you wish you had seen or could see?’ my answer was always Pink Floyd. I missed them for the Division Bell and Momentary Lapse of Reason tours, and was too young to see them prior to that not to mention they toured so damned little back then.
So Pink Floyd was my go to answer, and it was followed up with, ‘Performing The Wall in its entirety’. Hey, people can dream right? Depending on the source it is reported that The Wall has only been performed anywhere from 27-31 times ever. That is prior to Roger Waters’ current tour. So when Mr. Rogers himself decides it is time to dust off and update The Wall and take it out on the road for a world tour or two, you better believe I was watching the dates unfold and trying to figure out how to get my ass to one of the stateside shows.
I can go into what The Wall means and represents to me, how I identify with the missing father, overbearing, smothering, but loving mother, loveless wife, social unrest/turmoil, etc. Even the slight decent into madness via drugs, but that is better served to my shrink than y’all here and now. Just know that there are only two or three fictional characters I have really ever connected with on a deep cellular level, and the character of ‘Pink’ in the movie The Wall is the main one.
So the third and supposedly final leg of Roger Waters The Wall Live tour is announced, Raleigh is listed as one of the stops, and yours truly begins dancing like a giddy little school girl. Tickets were acquired immediately. When your bucket list show of shows is happening, your life is listed as a tragic fail if you don’t actually make the show. Hell I took the day off to ensure nothing would keep me from the show.
I worked hard to ensure I never mosied over to YouTube to see any videos of the current version of the tour. I did not want to know what I was in for. I mean in tours past they’ve flown airplanes into the wall, pigs have always flown at a Pink Floyd show, and the main characters have been represented as 40 foot inflatables. The light show I was sure would be spectacular, but how would the wall itself work once completed during the show with the band behind it? I mean why not just play canned music at that point because we can’t see the band, so why make them play right?
Having read the reviews of friends and critics alike praising it’s virtuosity without revealing any spoilers, I knew I was in for one hell of a show, and if my instincts were correct, a show that would at least crack my top 5 all time shows. I mean, even if the show ‘just’ met my expectations it would be a spectacular success, if it managed to exceed my expectations, well then, fuck me, I’m in for the show of shows.
I have always heard that Pink Floyd shows were 3 hours of sheer epicness, over the top (but not cheesy) production values that left your jaw on the floor and your mind soaring in the clouds. The musicianship was top notch and the overall package was not to be outdone by any other band out there. Ever.
I was concerned that it just being Roger, and that he was ‘updating’ The Wall for the new tour I was a little concerned that he might be taking my dream gig of all time and fucking it up.
Well, I am here now to tell you that everything I expected, everything I ever hoped, everything I dreamt about, every detail I played over as a possibility in my mind over the years (and most certainly over the last few months since the show was announced) were nowhere close to the reality that was The Wall Live.
Walking into the venue and seeing the stage, the partially constructed wall, the ubiquitous circular screen and lights as backdrop, the front of house area taking up a third of the main floor area (biggest FoH I have ever seen, TSO comes close, but nothing rivals this), 3 PA arrays flown (front, center and rear), I hadn’t thought I could be any more excited than I had been leading up to the show. But taking it all in was breathtaking. This was it. This was possibly going to be the best show I was ever going to witness. This was going to be my ‘ultimate dream gig’. The fantasy turned reality.
In time the house lights dropped, the announcement came over the PA, and brick by brick the wall was built. I will not spoil anything. I refrained from reading/seeing anything that might spoil the show for me, and I will not do that to you.
I will say, the surround sound of the show was incredible, the production was over the top (but again, not cheesy), the visual aspects of the show were stunning, and Roger Waters’ ‘updating’ of the show was actually very well done. Even if he hadn’t used current world climates and issues, the 34 year old songs and messages still resound well today.
I knew I’d have trouble holding back the tears during Mother, but what I did not expect was to be emotionally overwhelmed several times throughout the show. And I was not alone. In the group of 17 people that I went with, when the intermission started, all most all of us were quiet, moved, and wiping tears/recomposing ourselves. It. Is. That. Powerful.
I have read a couple short reviews this morning from friends who attended the show last night, one of them said that it was a life changing event, that, ‘… it made me think. A lot. About the world, about how we interact, about taking care of each other…anyone who left that show without thinking about that for at least a split second, without wanting to be a better human being, has absolutely no heart.’ And I think she hit the nail on the head.
Music is powerful. Music is magic. Music can educate, move, transform lives, and heal. The Wall Live encompasses all of that. Again, without spoilers you’ll have to take my word for it, better yet, get your ass on a plane and get your ass to one of the remaining shows. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to the music, you owe it to the spectacle, and you owe it to The Wall.