Report: Roger Waters Live in Philly

 

 

Which one’s Pink: erstwhile
Pink Floyd mainman brings his semi-autobiographical 1979 magnum opus
The
Wall 
to Philadelphia for three nights at the Wells Fargo Center
starting Monday November 8.

 

By A.D. Amorosi

If epic paranoia nestled uncomfortably over monster themes
such as megalomania, mother fixation, loneliness, television, the warring
industrial complex and the uselessness of fans and celebrity accompanied by the
sounds of unsettling bombast is what you seek as entertainment, there’s a
bridge I can sell you. Or rather, a wall – The
Wall
, Roger Waters’ semi-autobiographical 1979 magnum opus that he brought
to Philadelphia for three nights at the Wells Fargo Center
starting Monday November 8.

 

Where arena rock is concerned,
Pink Floyd – Waters’ own until 1983 when he left the band – wrote the book on
it what with scenic tours for Animals and
the original Wall show.

 

But thirty years after its original road show-envisioning,
technology has turned The Wall from a
manic puppet show with rickety bricks (Gerald Scharfe’s “mother” and “teacher”
are still a big grotesque part of the new Wall) into a mega-watt beyond-Broadway production ripe with Cirque-du-helicopter
light effects, stunningly fluid projections and rapid fire sloganeering, a
slowly erecting/engulfing 36
foot wall that could be stood atop (“Comfortably Numb”
proved best for that job and co-lead vocalist Robbie Wyckoff ) ruminatively
stared through (“Goodbye Cruel World”) and used for pop-up tableaux and
generally dwarfing the gangly 67 year old Waters.

 

Waters, in turn, made the wall itself into a character weary
with the futility of warring factions through the doo-wop-ing “Another Brick In
The Wall (Part 1).” As hundreds of photos of deceased veterans appeared on its
bricks representing the loss we all have, Waters own emotional distress of
having lost his father in World War II comes through like a primal scream. The
majestic “Bring the Boys Home” makes the bricks into a waling wall of sorts as
Waters creaking voice pleads for connection to those lost. Connection is the
name of Waters game throughout as he stresses, in his highest hard pitch voice,
a yearning to get through to his sole remaining parent. Only this time, Waters’
primarily acoustic “Mother” is accompanied by Waters
doing a live double-track duet with footage of himself, black-and-white yet,
filmed during an 1980 Earls Court show. “Poor, miserable little
Roger,” he calls the on-screen visage, as the live Waters winces in pain.

 

It’s hard to believe that such dissection of personal
mythology has been made – once and again – into rabid anthems like the
anti-authoritarian “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2,” performed
here with a dancing choir of children wearing shirts that read “Fear Builds
Walls”; or that spare synthnonic tracks of disillusionment (“One of My Turns”)
and spite (“In the Flesh?”) would warrant fireworks and rousing fans, to say
nothing of lengthy guitar solos from Floyd-stand-ins G.E. Smith and Snowy
White.

 

But such is the force of personality behind Waters’ forlorn
tale that the positive aspects of The
Wall
– to say nothing of the epic potency of its melodies – have made
themselves clear. Leonard Cohen once sang (on “Anthem”) these lines:

 

“Ring the bells that
still can ring

Forget your perfect
offering

There is a crack in
everything

That’s how the light
gets in.”

I’m guessing Waters finally found the crack in The Wall.

 

 

[Photo Credit: copyright Scott Weiner]

 

 

 

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