Words and Pictures by: Bradley Darby

Friday October 29 – a day that I had been looking forward to for some time. Earlier this year, former Pink Floyd bassist and founding member Roger Waters announced he would be touring and performing the classic album / rock opera The Wall in its entirety for the albums 30th anniversary. This would mark the first time the album was played by a member of Pink Floyd in 19 years, and a St. Louis date was on the agenda. There was no way in hell I was missing this show.
The Wall, originally released in November 1979, is one of the top five best selling albums of all-time in the U.S. and has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. It is a rock opera, a concept album, set around an artist (Pink) and his isolation from the crowd and the world as a whole. It has been said that Waters wrote much of the album based on his own life, and his own struggles with his dads death, his being bullied in school and his failed marriage.

The tickets instructed us that the show would start at 8:00 PROMPT. As we walked into the Scottrade Center, and got the first glimpse of the stage, we knew we were in for something special. The stage was set up with a small section of staggered wall on each side, covering most of the arena from about where the blue line would be back. There was a massive video screen set up and a voice came on the PA to inform us that Roger will allow photography but absolutely no flashes would be allowed as it would affect the projectors and the visuals. (Note: people didn’t listen to directions very well, a gentleman behind us found it necessary to use his flashlight on his phone while taking video a few times)


As the show began at around 8:15, a scraggly looking man was spotlighted in the crowd and made his way towards the stage. He tossed what appeared to be a doll on stage, and out came a line of guards complete with the iconic crossed hammers on their flags. As they took their places, they were lifted up and fireworks exploded as Roger Waters took the stage. They breezed through the first five songs, including opener “In the Flesh?” and “Another Brick in the Wall” before Waters acknowledged the roaring crowd “No, thank you….I love you kids from St. Louis!” he proclaimed. Waters then started talking about performing the album 30 years ago, and how different it was now, “particularly in a great music city like St. Louis. Is the Fox Theater still standing? I hope it is” he asked. While the show was going on, song by song the wall was being assembled piece by piece like a puzzle, as each piece went into place, less of the band was visible but the images being displayed on the wall were getting more intense.
During “Mother”, we were treated to a 30 year old video of Waters performing the song in Germany as he sang over the video. During the song, when Waters asked “Mother should I trust the government?” The crowd reacted by screaming back at him NO! While the Wall displayed the words NO FUCKING WAY in red scribble…. message received Mr. Waters.
One of my personal favorite tunes was up next, “Goodbye Blue Sky.” At this point, the wall was nearly complete and there were some animations and visuals being projected onto the wall that would give anyone 70’s style acid flashbacks. If you have seen the movie, The Wall, than you have a good idea of what I’m talking about. Crazy cartoons with lots of color….flowers turning into creatures, creatures turning into genitalia, and of course marching hammers. As the first set came to a close following “Goodbye Cruel World” the wall was completed.
After a brief intermission of about fifteen or twenty minutes, the second set began with “Hey You.”  During “Nobody Home” a section of the wall broke down to show a hotel room scene, similar to the film, including a TV and Waters sitting in the chair. During “Vera” a video was displayed that showed soldiers reuniting with their families, including a little girl in a classroom in tears as her father walked in to see her. It was hard to not get chills watching some of the clips that were being displayed. The clips of soldiers continued through “Bring the Boys Back Home” including images of deceased soldiers from many wars, past and present, another rather emotional moment.
During “Comfortably Numb”, one of the most infamous songs from the album, Roger Waters was standing solo in front of the wall as the man playing the David Gilmour role stood on top of the wall shredding the guitar solos. A giant inflatable pig with corporate logos was unleashed over the crowd for “In the Flesh” and “Run Like Hell.” Finally during “The Trial” the wall was destroyed, leaving a pile of rubble. For the final song of the night, “Outside the Wall”, Waters and company came out and performed the song acoustic. Following that, the group left the stage one by one as Waters introduced each member of the band, including former SNL band leader G.E. Smith on guitar.

Even knowing what songs were coming next, the element of surprise was still there as I had no idea how Roger Waters’ vision of The Wall would be carried out live. Overall, the show was without a doubt the most intense show I’ve ever witnessed. There was a very heavy emphasis on the anti-war message that Waters wanted to get across to his fans.
I was finally given the chance to see one of my favorite musicians of all time in concert, and there is not much that could have been done better in my opinion. All I could ask for at this point is David Gilmour touring next year and performing all of Wish You Were Here or Meddle.
SETLIST:
Set one:
In The Flesh?
The Thin Ice
Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives
Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2
Mother
Goodbye Blue Sky
Empty Spaces
Young Lust
One Of My Turns
Don’t Leave Me Now
Another Brick In The Wall, Part 3
Goodbye Cruel World
Set Two
Hey You
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Vera
Bring The Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb
The Show Must Go On
In The Flesh
Run Like Hell
Waiting For The Worms
Stop
The Trial
Outside The Wall
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Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 11:04 am.
Categories: Reviews.

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