Roger Waters | The Wall [Live 2010]

13 12 2010

This past week I saw Pink Floyd frontman, Roger Waters at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. In case you hadn’t already heard, Roger has redesigned his old live production of The Wall since it debuted  30 years ago. If that original 1980 tour was spectacle, this updated version is a spectacular. I mean that in the truest sense of the word. Not only has Waters brought it up to date in terms of message and context, but in technology as well. Yes, the concept is similar at the core (build a HUGE wall and knock it down) but this show is produced incredibly well. I have seen 100’s of live performances, and I think this may be the most thrilling of them. Some feat when you consider I’m talking about everything: big venues, small venues and everything in between; rock, jazz, blues, and all the rest; music, theater and even sporting events. Regardless of the magnitude, style, or even medium, this left me completely floored.

When they begin the performance the wall is only partly built, with the band playing just behind it in full view. As the night progresses, the wall is built up brick by brick. As ths goes on, you start to see less and less of the band until they are only viewable through a few missing bricks. And then, like that, they are gone. They continue to play out view and all the while there are amazing projections on the wall, both providing context for the music and creating atmospherics to set the mood. There are even puppets, pyrotechnics and other cool props, all of which just add to the ambiance. The whole experience is really amazing throughout and totally engaging like I’ve never seen before.

By intermission the wall is fully built, with the band still playing from behind it’s cover. As the second set opens they continue the routine, until there is a moment where Roger appears from an odd compartment that unfolds from the wall’s exterior. It’s a “hotel room”, where he sits in an armchair and sings “Nobody’s Home”. True theater and a really cool addition to the performance. Soon after, the band is moved to the front of the wall to “perform” some other more theatrical bits. Then, it’s just Roger out front, with the rest of the band in their positions hidden behind. For various solos and singing parts other members of the band appear 35 feet in the air at the very top of the wall. The guitar solo on “Comfortably Numb” is a great moment where they do this. Finally, there is this huge crescendo that is really effectively created using the projections and the mood rather than merely the tempo. At the climax, the wall is toppled to the ground, revealing the band behind.  At which point the band comes out to the forestage bearing only acoustic instruments and play “Outside the Wall”. After a few thanks and some introductions, each member marches of stage one by one until Roger says his final farewell.

The whole thing is mind blowing and unfortunately my account, these photos and any videos will never do it justice. Whether you’re a fan of the music or not, this is a show you MUST see. There are still tour dates available into 2011. I recommend hitting stubhub to see if you can catch it. Quality live footage from the show is rather difficult to find but there are some nice promotional videos that were designed to tease you on the experience. Check out these few. The first 2 provide a solid picture of the show with actual HD footage, there are even a few fan interviews and testimonials too. The third provides some great insight into Roger’s feelings on the music, the show and it’s design. That one, I think, is particularly good.

Now, I purposely avoided all of this stuff online as I wanted to go in totally blind, which is definitely why it was so impactful. However, if you are not going to be able to see it live, you have to check these out to know what the hell this thing is all about.

If you’re going to go ahead and spoil this by sneaking a peek, you might as well watch this footage shot from the audience of “The Trial” into “Outside the Wall”. This piece in particular, gave me goosebumps. It’s the whole thing. The dénouement, if you will. The footage is amateur but you absolutely get a sense of what it’s like. Check it out…

Pink Floyd | Live at Pompeii

7 10 2010

This 1972 classic features Pink Floyd playing live in the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater in Pompeii, Italy. The film is really cool. It was directed by Adrian Maben and recorded in October of 1971.  Some versions of this film have additional footage from an Abbey Road concert that showcased a bunch of new material from the bands upcoming album, The Dark Side of The Moon.  Below are the six songs performed live in Pompeii. If you are only going to watch one, it has to be “Mademoiselle Nobs”. It a very short tune that has David Gilmour playing harmonica, Roger Waters on guitar, Richard Wright on keyboards and a Russian Wolfhound named Nobs on lead vocals. This song was originally titled “Seamus”, which first appeared on the “Meddle” album released in 1971. It was renamed for this, the only live version of it, in honor of their guest vocalist. You have to check out this dog, it’s fantastic.

The other songs are great too. Plus, the performance footage amongst the ashy ruins is pretty spectacular. Watch all six tracks or, if you just want to watch a few, make sure you check out “Nobs” and “One of These Days”. I also really like “Saucerful of Secrets”, but you may want to skip to about 5 mins into it. The crescendo intro is pretty tough to endure if your not in the mood. This song happens to be my favorite from this entire performance. With or without the intro, it’s just a really good tune.

Echoes Pt 1

Careful With That Axe, Eugene

Saucerful of Secrets

One of These Days

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

Mademoiselle Nobs

Echoes Pt 2


More info on Pink Floyd

More info on Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii


9 05 2010

For Mother’s Day I’ve pulled two great songs with the same appropriate title: “Mother”. The first is the hard rock anthem from Danzig. As far as great old music goes,  it’s a tad superficial but it is really quite enjoyable. It’s serves as a fantastic stadium anthem and, frankly, is perfect for any situation in which you want to amp up a crowd. One listen and you’ve got think this one is probably on countless “workout mixes” across the country. It’s not really a fitting tribute to mom, but it makes for a great running soundtrack. I personally think it would be perfect as the background music of a reckless drunk driving scene from an 80’s movie… maybe that’s just me.

The second “Mother” is a great song, despite being lesser known, from Pink Floyd. This live version is from the concert DVD “Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81”. This specific song was recorded August 9th, 1980. It is one of those live renditions that will forever stand above the original studio recording.

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