Roger Waters XL Center, Hartford, CO – 10/15
Photo by Sabrina Lantos
Over three decades have passed since Pink Floyd first erected The Wall, but time and again Roger Waters has chosen to revisit that album’s stark, emotional terrain. It was made into an unsettling movie in 1982 and perhaps most powerfully, rendered in concert to celebrate the fall of another wall in Berlin in 1990. This tour has the album played in order, in its entirety.
A packed house welcomed Waters as he bounded onto the stage in black leather coat for “In The Flesh?” No stranger to spectacle since his earliest days with Floyd, we got fireworks after the very first song. Though never a stunning vocalist, Waters has nevertheless aged better than most of his sixties contemporaries, with an amiable croak that’s good enough for “Young Lust’s” salacious come-on or the conversational ennui of “Nobody Home.” For “Mother,” Waters managed a video duet with himself from a 1980 London show. “Mother should I trust the government?” the response projected in red letters on the wall – No Fucking Way!
The area around the soundboard had enough computers for a space shuttle launch but Waters once again located the humanity in the songs. Having some local kids up on the stage to dance to “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2” was a nice offset to those enormous Gerald Scarfe inflatable puppets. During “Out Of The Blue” and “Bring The Boys Back Home Again” photos of war victims from World War I up through Iraq and Afghanistan were quite movingly projected on the wall being erected around the stage. Waters own father was killed in Anzio in 1944.
As always, he has a crack band behind him. David Gilmour’s shoes were filled by three guitarists, most notably GE Smith and longtime cohort Snowy White, who wailed away on “Comfortably Numb” from atop the stack of bricks, while down on the stage Waters resembled a silent film star emoting the words.
For the finale “The Trial” has the animated hammers marching in lock-step to their own demise and, you guessed it, the smashing of the wall. Naturally enough, while this was going on a black inflatable boar with slogans like “Trust Us” painted on its side floated around the arena. A concert that can only be described as a sensory-overloaded two hours of FM rock staples. Though I hold out faint hope that next time around he’ll tackle Atom Heart Mother.