I don't get to go to many concerts, so maybe that will have a little to do with the fact that I thought last nights Roger Water's performance of the wall was absolutely the best show I have ever seen. Thats right, I went there. The best ever. I have had two moments in my life where music gave me a mind altering experience, and Roger Waters was a part of both. Last night was the second, and the first time I listened to Dark Side of the Moon was the first. Maybe it is that his messages strike home. Who knows, but last night I was both smiling and tearing at the same time.
The show was Roger and supporting band performing the entire The Wall album. Pretty straight forward. But it was so much more then that. The set was a huge wall dividing Roger from the band behind him, that slowly was built up as he played up to the apex of the album, Pink's (Roger's fictional alter ego in the album and movie), descent into insanity and redemption. The wall spanned the entire stage, and when it was finished being built stood an easy 30 feet tall.
During the entire show, images and phrases were projected onto the wall, including names of soldiers who fought and died... not only in WWII but just very recently soldiers dieing to IEDs in Iraq. Not only were there soldiers, but also civilians who were also killed as a result of war right next to the soldiers names. Nice touch. But it was not just sad... mixed in with the images were movie shorts of kids being reunited with their soldier parents. The one that reduced me to silent sobs was one little girl who was looking around with an expectant smile, who finally spots her father entering the room, and bursts out in tears as he runs and scoops her up. I guess since I am a new parent, this was a particularly touching moment for me and really strikes home what it means to go to war... and to return. And more importantly, what it means to those who don't. This sobering experience is something that would have never occurred to me a year ago and that is part of the magic of Roger Waters.
Roger by the way sounded fantastic. You would barely tell that the man has been a rock star since the 60s. His voice is as powerful and piercing now as it was when he first performed Another Brick in the Wall. As the show built up to it's peak, I have to say that my breath momentarily rushed out when the wall predictably came crashing down. I knew it was going to happen yet it still hit me like a punch in the gutt. That is theatre at it's best. When the predictable still shocks. When we are left staring at the end like we just ran ten miles to find 400 naked blondes dancing at the finish line. Simply amazing.
I have heard the songs a thousand times, no more than that... but it did not matter. The music rang in my ears every second of the train ride home. It is ringing now. I am finding myself wishing I could go back tonight and do it all again. I missed Pink Floyd in the 80s, and I missed Gilmour taking them out in the 90s. But I am happy to say that I managed to catch Waters doing it now. It is rumored that he and Gilmour are on at least speaking terms again, and they teamed up for a show last year in England... so maybe we will get the chance to see them together one last time in the states. If so, I absolutely will be there. If you were on the fence about seeing this show, and you have the chance to go, GO. This is one of those moments that we live life for and must be experienced.