3 November 2009

Remembering The Wall

Two of my favourite things are the music of Pink Floyd and the culture of Prague so I was not going to turn down the opportunity of spending a long weekend in Prague during which I could see a performance of The Wall.

Some brave Czech musicians had chosen to stage a spectacular version of The Wall to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.

The venue for this extravaganza was the O2 arena in Ceskomoravska, just two stops on the metro from where I was blagging free accommodation in some friends' apartment.

They know the venue very well as it is also the home to HC Slavia Prague ice hockey team. This familiarity enabled them to buy me a decent ticket even though I was not able to confirm my attendance until just a few days beforehand. A lot of other people must also have made late decisions as the place was all but packed on the night with only some of the more remote seats left unsold.


I know the music of The Wall well but had not seen it in concert so I was not too sure what to expect.

The first thing that was obvious was that there were a lot of musicians involved. Most of these, I am told, are well know Czechs but the name Harry Waters (keyboards) was rather more familiar and gave a semi-official stamp to the occasion.

I was amused to see that The Wall was sung in English with Czech sur titles, a reversal of what I am used to at operas in this country, and I wondered what the translators made of phrases like "toys in the attic" and "somebody must have taken my marbles away".

The show was a real performance as the story was told through acting and film montages, as well as the words of the songs. The wall itself was gradually added to through the performance until it completely covered the front of the stage and hid the musicians from us.


But it came down soon after to the ringing chants of "Tear down the wall." I was not alone in joining in heartily.

As originally conceived, The Wall is about one person's struggle against their own daemons but has been slightly modified over the years to accommodate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Roger Waters solo song, The tide is turning, from Radio K.A.O.S., has been adopted as the new ending.

The enthusiastic standing ovation after this was long, well deserved and rewarded with an encore.

First up was the unexpected, but relevant, Who needs information, also from Radio K.A.O.S. then the quadraphonic jingling announced the arrival of Money. This rock anthem featured three guitar solos, two keyboard solos, a saxophone solo and a scat piece from the three backing singers.

The Wall was played and presented brilliantly and was made the more meaningful by the anniversary of that other wall. Without any doubt it was one of the very best concerts that I have been to. Simply wonderful.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! The one PF recording I wish to add to my collection at some point is the live performance at the Berlin Wall. Guess I need to put aside some cash and find a copy. :)

    -Stephen

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