My proper introduction to Pink Floyd did not come until one night in high school at a friend’s house when he thought it would be a good idea to take a large amount of Dramamine and watch “The Wall.” I decided to forgo the Dramamine but “The Wall” stuck with me not just for the acid trip that the movie was but also because of the music. This lead me to the double album and then I worked my way backwards through their earlier catalog. As of the time of this writing I still haven’t brought myself to work my way forward through the albums that came afterwards.
When it was announced that Roger Waters would be embarking on a tour playing The Wall live from front to back I knew this was a monumental concert I had to get to. The tour was not coming to San Diego but lucky for me Los Angeles is a mere 100 miles away. As if I needed another reason to love Ingrid she surprised me with tickets as an early Christmas present.
Before the show started while the house lights were on it was hard not to notice what appeared to be a homeless man pushing around a shopping cart through the floor section. He was wearing a sign that had things written on the front and back and was talking with people as he walked around. It soon became clear that the homeless man was Roger Waters and the show had actually started. The stage was as wide as Staples Center and prominently featured a partially built wall made of giant white bricks that doubled as projector screens. As Waters neared the stage he threw a pink doll that was in the shopping cart onto the stage, which triggered fireworks and the beginning of “In the Flesh?”
For roughly the next hour everyone in the audience was transfixed on the spectacle at hand as Waters and his band tore through every song on the first half of The Wall in sequence. My favorite moment was when Waters played “Mother” as video of him playing the song live back in 1980 was projected behind him. There were two other songs played during this half as well: “What Shall We Do Now” that was originally intended to be included on the album but omitted at the last minute due to the time constraints of vinyl and “The Last Few Bricks,” an instrumental added to allow the roadies to more time to finish erecting the wall. The last brick went into place during the closing notes of “Goodbye Cruel World” and with that the show paused for an intermission.
With the exception of a couple instances the band performed the second half of the show from behind the wall. One brick was removed during “Is There Anybody Out There” to show the guitarists playing and then for the next song “Nobody Home” I remember a portion of the wall folded away to reveal a hotel room where Waters sang from a Lazy Boy. The guitar solo section of “Comfortably Numb” was performed from atop the wall. All of this of course culminated in the wall coming down at the end of the show in grand fashion.
The Wall is arguably Pink Floyd’s greatest masterpiece and the production was equally a masterpiece. The sound was fantastic and the technical wizardry gave the audience no choice but to succumb to the immersive experience. I have been to a lot of concerts and can hands down say this was the best “production” I have ever seen.