Concert Review Archive

 

Roger Waters - The Wall Live

Saturday, 19th May 2012
Los Angeles memorial coliseum, Los Angeles, USA

Article and photo by Fred Hunter

Well, I just had to report on this concert, I have not done too many reviews on here but this concert was just too important to not acknowledge. I had missed Roger’s show in Las Vegas last year (where I live) and kicked myself that having been a fan since the album’s initial release I had not made the effort to sort my work day off out and see it! I regretted it immediately and was so happy when I found out he would be coming back round this summer but doing the stadiums. I always have fun going down to LA and spending time with my friends so it was a no – brainer to go to this concert. So I got the tickets pretty much as soon as they were available, last December.

Now, I know most people reading this have likely seen this astounding show, so I won’t go into too much detail about the actual show. It is ‘The wall’, done fairly similar to the 80/81 version but just with the benefit of the wealth of technology available now to make the experience as mesmerizing as Roger likely intended it to be 32 years ago.

I lived in Los Angeles for 14 years so I knew the venue having seen football and one live show there (The Rolling stones in 1989) so the surroundings of the 1932/1984 Olympic stadium were fairly familiar to me. It is quite the colossal place and it’s history is evident on its aging façade; however the fact that the entire time the concert was on, the Olympic flame was burning was kind of cool. I am not sure why that was, I know it is not lit for the USC college football games, I was curious as to maybe the reason being the Olympics being in London this year?

Anyway, to the gig: The show was supposed to start at 8pm ‘prompt’ but (not surprisingly) with the LA traffic the place didn’t really fill until about 8:30, so it didn’t actually start until almost 9pm. Weather was pretty much perfect, no wind and mid 60’s f, so it was comfortable.

The show opened with the Spartacus segment that I have heard on show downloads and was really quite eerie, it blended into the Outside the wall theme (as the album starts) then blew up into In the flesh, complete with enormous sky reaching fireworks and the plane hitting the stage in a blast of light as the song ended. Great stuff!!

Then was the odd piece of the evening The thin ice.. I am quite the Floyd fan so I am aware that the first show of The wall ever played, was in February 1980 at the LA Sports arena, which is part of the same Olympic complex as the coliseum. I am also familiar with the fact that Roger had to shout “STOP, STOP” multiple times to get the band to stop before The thin ice in order to extinguish a fire caused by the plane crashing pyrotechnics. Oddly enough, on this May night in 2012 a similar thing happened. Except it was Roger’s microphone and monitors; as the song begun to get going and having multiple lines of the lyrics missing due to a bad microphone, Roger shouted the same “STOP, STOP, STOP..” as he had done 32+ years earlier and we had a pause while the technical issues were sorted. Roger simply wanted the song done correctly and they (after about 5+ minutes) went back to the ‘top’ and started the song over.

From then on it was plain sailing: astounding sound effects swirled round the stadium in crystal clarity during Another brick.. and What shall we do now?. The images projected on the ever filling up wall were just amazing, incorporating the wonderful Gerald Scarfe animation of the movie and live shows. As part 1 ended with the last brick being put in the wall I was just so stunned at how GOOD the show looked and sounded. His band replicated the music very well, for the most part the guitarists stuck exactly to Dave’s solos on the original album, so the notes were as we remember.

Roger Waters

The second half was maybe not as long as the elongated first part but it was equally as moving. Nobody home with its hotel room section coming out the wall and all the insanity of the Comfortably numb/The show must go on/In the flesh transformation into the dictating rock star were just unreal to see. Roger was out by himself as The trial went on with the genius animation from the movie. Then the wall came down and it was just such a sight to see…

After Outside the wall the performers were introduced and Roger referenced that first gig in 1980 and stated how special this show was since it was the site of the first performance.

All in all; ASTOUNDING show, it is unlikely to ever be matched from what I can imagine.. it just delivered the whole package of music, visuals and emotion. It is such an intense, elaborate and SMART show I cannot believe any person could walk away from it and not be totally staggered by it!! Yeah, maybe it has become a little too political (probably caused by the absence of the other Pink Floyd members) and maybe too much of it relied on technology (as in: I am not sure what WAS live and what was NOT) but those minor points had zero effect on the shows impact.

I feel fortunate that after all these years I got to see it.. I hope everyone on here has too!!

Links

Roger Waters Official Website

Los Angeles memorial coliseum

 


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