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You Should’a Been There

Concert Review - Winnipeg June 1

Roger Waters

The Wall 2012

I didn’t see The Wall in the early 80’s. Therefore I don’t have a reference point to compare to the 2012 edition. What did I think of it? Amazing. One of the best productions I’ve seen. This isn’t a rock concert, it isn’t really a performance as such, it’s a spectacle with serious messages.

It’s the music of Pink Floyd’s double album of the same name. It’s the semi-autobiographical story of Roger Waters. It’s a documentary on the travesty and useless cost of war. 

While the overall production is complex, the staging is brilliant in it’s simplicity. A partially built wall which, brick by brick, is built until it reaches across the front of the arena and reaches two to three stories high hiding the band behind it. Surprisingly, the building of the wall is not distracting. There is so much going on that large sections are completed at times without notice.

The wall is a metaphor for Pink’s deteriorating mental condition as he reacts to his fathers death during World War II, his domineering mother, his troubled youth and a marriage breakdown, all of which contribute to his increasing isolation from society and his loss of sanity. It’s a look inside the mind of someone suffering this condition, and a look at the outside world while peering out from inside that mind. In the end, the wall comes down.  

In the 2012 production it is also a metaphor for the walls that people build between themselves and those who are different or who hold different belief’s; walls that are built due to misunderstanding, fear, and hate; walls that lead to isolation and violence. At one point the audience is caught in the crossfire. At another point, painted on the wall are the larger than life words “A THEFT” -  followed by a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”  Click Here for an explanation in Rogers’ own words as well as clips from the show.

The wall is also the screen for graffiti, messages, special effect’s, animated segments, and the portraits of those lost at war, all of  which tell a large part of the story.

The visual and written messages augment the lyrics of the original double album released in 1979. In fact, if you have never listened to the album or at least not since the 80’s I recommend you go through the lyrics before attending the concert. As with most loud rock concerts, some lyrics that aren’t familiar are not always comprehendible given the volume and competing music.

The music and Waters’ voice are classic Pink Floyd.  For Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2, a group of local children providing the back up vocals keeping the piece true to the original recording.

I won’t tell you everything. I don’t want to spoil the fun. Maybe, after the Toronto and Ottawa dates I’ll fill in the blanks for those who didn’t make the show.