the response when I wrote about Pink Floyd recently (ostensibly about the album The Final Cut) I figured there might be some interest from Blog on the Tracks readers now that Roger Waters has announced that he is touring The Wall. He is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the album - taking it out on the road. At this stage it's just American dates (from what I can tell) and then, presumably, the tour will roll on through Europe. And perhaps it will make its way, brick by indulgent brick, to Australia - and maybe to New Zealand - sometime in 2011...
So - what do you think? Would this be the best night out - seeing Roger Waters performing The Wall? Or would you prefer that the wall was actually built up around you so that you didn't have to hear it?
I am pretty sure I do not need to see Richard Gere's twin brother reliving/rebuilding The Wall.
I'm all for seeing old heroes play old classics - I loved seeing Leonard Cohen last year. But isn't this just a bit ridiculous? The Wall: 30 years on. Do people really care?
It would be hard to re-form Pink Floyd now, granted. But what has Roger Waters really done since leaving Floyd? He's released three studio solo albums that sound like Floyd. And while he has dabbled in opera and written some new tunes, his live shows focus on recreating Floyd-without-Floyd; essentially he travels the globe in a bid to prove authorship.
We know he wrote the songs.
He was here a while back doing The Dark Side of the Moon album in its entirety. Before that - with the In the Flesh live album - there was a heap of Floyd material; not just Floyd songs but Floyd recreations. Roger Waters performing his Pink Floyd songs as he wants to hear them now - and that means that next up you will get to hear The Wall.
The Wall is something of a polarising album - some Floyd fans love it, many can't stand it. It is rightfully regarded as the height of the band's excess - in terms of overwrought and overarching song/album concepts. And it also has some of David Gilmour's greatest guitar playing and a few good songs.
I am not sure I am much of a fan of The Wall.
But - don't get me wrong - I definitely was a fan. I watched the movie so many times through my high school and university daze. I even watched it three times in a row one day. Hey, I grew up in Havelock North, pre-flat whites and vineyard lunches. It was either watch The Wall three times or watch people be subtly racist (ironic, I know).
I also had a videotape of when Roger performed The Wall in Berlin with all sorts of famous guest vocalists (Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, Ute Lemper, Bryan Adams and so on). I watched that videotape - recorded from the TV during an all-night music festival - in 1990.
The double-CD was soon part of my collection.
I've even got the country-cover of The Wall: Rebuild The Wall by Luther Wright & The Wrongs. (I thoroughly recommend fans and non-fans check out this CD. It's ace).
So I've done my time with Pink Floyd, been a big fan - but you know that from the previous post I linked to at the top of today's entry; I still have every Floyd album - and everything that Roger Waters has done since leaving the band. I just don't listen to the material that often these days.
The thing that killed The Wall for me - probably - was seeing the tribute act, The Pink Floyd Experience, doing their version of it live. It just seemed such a redundant concept. The weirdest thing that happened that night was hearing a person ask at the merchandise counter whether the band had any CDs available. I wanted to lean over and go, "yeah, they've got about 14 albums - they're in stores under the name Pink Floyd!" But I didn't. I just waited until the bricks came tumbling down, the show was over, and it was time to leave.
I won't write any more about The Pink Floyd Experience because one time I mentioned them on the radio and received threatening phone calls. And when I reviewed the show where they performed The Wall, there were angry letters and phone calls.
I guess just seeing them doing it - and I'm not knocking their skills as musicians at all - made me realise what a strange idea it is to want to hear this music recreated live; to have the need to hear something played note-for-note as you remember it. No spontaneity, no soul. No energy. Not even the anger that is in parts of the album. A live version of The Wall - and you can see this on Roger's Berlin show that I mentioned earlier - is all just stupid pantomime. It is the band at its worst. And to see Waters doing it live just shows he has nothing to offer at all beyond working on his retirement fund.
If you are keen to go see Roger Waters "tear down the wall" (again) - you'll be pleased to hear that Snowy White is playing guitar for the tour.
So are you up for a rebuilding of The Wall? Or would you prefer it stayed in blocks on the ground?
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