Wednesday, June 20, 2012
For months and months, the Roger Waters show loomed on the sold out horizon, and I just hoped that a ticket would magically find its way to me. I just figured that somehow it would work out and I would get to see The Wall performed live in all its theatrical glory. Well, about 24 hours before the "prompt" start time, an old friend found out that I hadn't found a ticket yet and bought me one for my birthday. How awesome is that? Magic.
About ten minutes after I reached my seat in what felt like the attic of the Bridgestone Arena, the lights went down and two soldier types came out with a "Pink" dummy and recited the famed "I am Sparticus" scene before the huge opening boom of "In The Flesh?" rocked the arena with fireworks and eventually a real, flying, and crashing airplane. From there, it was on. Projectors showed images on the wall as more and more bricks were added, and the familiar Pink Floyd style circular screen added even more footage. The sound was also true to the old Floyd style, with speaker towers in all four corners of the room and surround sound panning making the effects much more effective. It truly was a sensory overload, all set to one of the best concept albums of all time.
Some personal highlights from the first set include standing and crossing my arms over my head for the huge opening riff of "In The Flesh?", chanting "We don't need no education" at the huge inflatable teacher puppet during "Another Brick In The Wall 2", and screaming the angst-filled words to "One Of My Turns". My favorite early moment was seeing "Mother", performed with footage from a young Waters in 1980. I've always loved that song, and seeing it live gave me chills. "Goodbye Cruel World" closed the first set perfectly as the final brick was placed in the massive wall.
After intermission, I scored a much closer seat in the club section, right behind one of my favorite local rockers. Now this is how you do a show. "Hey You" was strong, and "Vera" and "Bring The Boys Back Home" tugged at the heartstrings with footage of soldiers being reunited with loved ones. "Comfortably Numb" was perfect and the eerie second version of "In The Flesh" ended with the "surrogate" singer firing a machine gun into the crowd.
If I had one complaint about the show, it was that "The Trial" was accompanied by the animated footage from the movie projected onto the wall, and not by gigantic inflatable puppets as I had hoped. But I guess you can't have huge props out there when the massive structure comes tumbling down. It was still pretty awesome, and 30,000 people chanting "TEAR DOWN THE WALL" is pretty moving.
The band, led by G.E. Smith, was top notch. Every original note was played with perfection, and no one seemed shy about trying to imitate the real Pink Floyd members' sounds. The theatrical presentation blew my mind, and just being able to see this show was truly special and definitely another one checked off of the list of shows to see. Knowing that the original Pink Floyd will never fully reunite, this was close enough for me. Big props again to the ticket fairy. Thanks T.