22 May 2011

Roger Waters' The Wall at the O2

Dark Side of the Moon was one of the first LPs that I bought and, a few years later, The Wall was one of my first CDs. I have all their other albums too and I still love them.

I never got to see Pink Floyd live and while the tribute bands do some justice to the majesty of the songs they do not pretend to be anything other than talented musicians playing somebody else's great songs.

The closest that I got to the real thing was a commemorative performance of The Wall in Prague in 2009. There the size of the arena, the grandeur of theatrical show and the freedom being commemorated made it a very special event.

Having had one taste of The Wall I wanted another and signed up to see Roger Waters show at London's O2 Arena, a.k.a. The Millennium Dome.

This was my first time at the O2 and getting there proved to be easy but getting food less so. I settled for Armadillos as it had the shortest queue and while it's not my sort of place the food was reasonable enough and it did the job.

The arena bit of a disappointment. It was even more brutally functional than I expected and my seat may have folded easily and had a drinks holder for my non-existent drink but it was quite uncomfortable and was facing the seats opposite rather than the stage that was about 45% to my left.

But these gripes got quickly forgotten when the show started, and what a show it was.

The Wall that was built gradually through the first half of the show acted as the screen for some insanely good projected graphics that moved constantly and realistically.

This allowed the whole nature of the set to change to suit the mood of each song.

Against that backdrop Roger and the band were rather dwarfed but that did not matter either.

What did matter was some of the talking. I paid £75 to hear music not morons talk. Luckily most of the music was loud enough to mask the worse excesses and the biggest offenders got dealt with at half time and were not allowed back in.

The songs are the same but the show has been updated and is now even more firmly anti-war and anti-establishment. This was a concert for us lefties.

This was flagged early on when the list of names and faces of war casualties included Jean Charles de Menezes. Later on we saw the wikileaked video of two Reuters journalists killed by American soldiers in Iraq and when the animated bombers came they dropped Shell logos.

All this was loudly cheered.

The were several familiar images to complement the new ones. We saw a lot of the original Gerald Scarfe animations that were welcome despite looking very dated alongside the modern pyrotechnics.

And there was a flying pig too.

Musically it was much as recorded in 1979, which is what we wanted. There were some changes for a live set with a different group of musicians but nothing that I could easily point to.

The ending was as per the album too with the band gathered at the font of the stage in front of the demolished wall playing Outside the Wall on acoustic instruments. The melody continues as they walk off one by one with Roger announcing their names. Then Roger himself leaves the stage and that was it.

No encore but none was expected or needed.

1 comment:

  1. I envy you having been there. I am also a Pink Floyd fan. I even bought the CDs from the live tour that David Gilmour did with PF (obviously without Roger Waters)some years ago now, but otherwise all my old vinyls are with my son in Sweden! They can certainly produce a Great Gig in the Sky!


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