I’m seriously prone to nostalgia, but never would have thought that a production of Pink Floyd‘s “The Wall” would touch the nerve it did, even for a guy who re-collected and framed all his high school era rock posters. Did not see the original 1980 production of said wall, after being terribly disappointed by the 1977 Animals era concert at Anaheim Stadium. As it turned out, the original stage production of the show was inspired by composer, bassist Roger Water‘s disassociation with the live experience in 1977 when the separation between the band and audience seemed so complete he imagined playing to the crowd from behind a wall.
Taking this out on the road again, the normally mercurial Waters redirected the focus of the live show into much more of a statement of personal triumph, and a strong anti-violence message. For this long term fan it was a deeply touching experience seeing Roger so transformed into his adult self, now much more at peace, and actually having fun.
Best moment for me was when he shared a bit about his personal growth, queuing up a film of his younger “frightened, pissed off” self playing “Mother” at Earl’s Court in 1980. He played “Mother” on acoustic guitar, along with this film, creating a very sentimental montage of old and new image and sound.
Overall the show exceeded all expectations in every way. The wall itself stretched across the width of the auditorium creating a hi-def video screen on which old and new footage traced both the story line of “Pink” along with various statements against violence, and the terrorists, religions and governments that perpetrate it. The original designs for the giant marionettes were used, including the school teacher, mother, girlfriend, and pig. The opening still included the plane crashing into the wall, falling behind in a burst of flames, and ending with the “trial of Pink” and final tearing down of the wall.
This production was far more well imagined and spectacular than any rock opera every produced, the closest precedent still being “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” tour by Genesis after all these years. Yet even with all the artifact and amazing effect, there remained room for a glimpse into the man behind the genius, who stepped out from behind his wall to give a welcome dose of hope and positivity to salve the pain and grief of the loss of loved ones. A triumph in every way.