Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has just completed a breath-taking and complex series of rock shows at London's O2 Arena. Costing £37 million ($60m) to stage, the special effects and quadrophonic sound system have left fans with a lasting and thrilling memory.
The beginning of The Wall show saw Roger Waters' entrance onto the capacious stage impact with immediate effect. He approached the huge O2 Arena audience in a hooded monk gown wearing shades while pyrotechnics flashed from the stage like rockets. Machine gun trails, a war plane about to crash - all accompanied with ear-splitting sound effects - this was definitely the way a rock concert should start. It began in a prodigious manner and pretty much remained that way throughout.
It was punctuated with moving, sobering tones as well. Images of war dead, including Waters' own father (killed in the Second World War) were beamed on the wall as well as original death certificates of civilians and war-heroes alike.
The Pink Floyd concept album, originally released in 1979, carried the original idea of one man's retreat from society. However some 30-years-on from the original tour, it carries a more paradoxical message. The stage began with a low, white wall made of cardboard which was slowly built up, brick-by-brick, to a 40-foot height as the show progressed. Computer graphics constantly projected onto the wall were impressive. Corporate symbols fell like bombs from a war plane during the somnolent melody Goodbye Blue Sky, a 30-foot puppet of an oligarch-like teacher during Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 and a giant floating warthog (which generally had its backside pointing towards me) made up some of the larger-than-life props.
The Pink Floyd bassist was backed by an 11-piece band, whose reprisals of such classics as Comfortably Numb and Hey You were every bit as good as listening to the original (or side three as some of us old prog-rock aficionados would have it). There was even a London West End theatre feel about such hits as Toys In The Attic. The Wall carries some powerful, if not complex, messages. The futility of war, the anger of big-brother watching over us and anti-authoritarianism. I suspect many were there to listen to the overwhelmingly high quality of the music rather than any theme played out in the mind of a fictional character called Pink.
Whatever the memory those who attended have of this show, it will be a lasting one.
Waters and his tour, complete with bricks, moves up to Manchester before going on to Dublin then Europe.
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