Roger Waters, The Wall, Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL – 6/8
Photo by Norman Sands
Ironically, the wall now spanned the width of the stage with three “Empty Spaces” through which the band could still be viewed as they began to play the song of that name. The band is driven to perform at incredible musical levels in both a supporting and competing role in regards to the visual imagery of the production. Even with the empty spaces directing attention to Dave Kilminster on guitar, the human eye is drawn to the forty foot tall feminine figures dancing in the nude upon the wall.
Alone, The Wall is awash with broadcast of media correspondents and politicians. With a grunt, the projected visage of TV screen garners a crack. The smashing continues until the collection of shards spill away and the band dives into “Another Brick In The Wall Part 3.” With the TVs shattered, the line “I don’t need no arms to calm me” seems to reference the manipulative nature of mass media. The height of the wall was completed as the evening’s anthem is repeated, leaving only the spaces before the band open across the entire outfield. The video upon the bricks became cast in red, and the video bricks receded from the wall while the gaps before the band finally filled in; one brick remained out of place as Rogers sang “Goodbye Cruel World.” As he steps away, the wall is completed and the intermission began.
Concealed completely by the wall, the band’s performance of “Hey You” is utterly flawless. “Is There Anybody Out There?” The lyric over the speakers seemed to call to the crowd. An opening on the left of the stage became a living room where Waters was sitting in a lounge chair, watching a war movie on his flat screen TV.
The video on the wall quickly changed to show a young girl in a classroom as the view to the living room closed. It was difficult at first to interpret the reaction on her face, displayed in slow motion to the sound of “Vera.” Her look of absolute shock revealed itself to be joy-ridden as you see the child run across the room into her father’s arms, a returned soldier of war. Images of hunger and loss cast their light upon the wall under the words of an Eisenhower quote espousing the great cost of war.
With Waters singing at the bottom of the wall, Robbie Wyckoff sings Gilmour’s lines in “Comfortably Numb” from the top of the wall. As Wyckoff sings, Dave Kilminster performs the guitar part, flawlessly capturing the performance as if it were on the album. The powerful composition is one of the few moments of the night that focuses more on the musical performance than the astonishing power of the production of the show. During the course of the outro solo, Waters pounded a fist upon the wall and the white pieces fell away like mosaic tiles revealing a sunset scene enhanced by psychedelic colors.
As Kilminster serenades, an amazing stage feat is accomplished by the crew in the act of rebuilding the band’s gear in front of the wall. As the show goes on, projected banners with the Floyd crossed hammers drape down the wall. The entire band was finally in front of the wall as another recognizable Pink Floyd symbol, the flying pig, went aloft over the left side of the wall. In his flight around the field, the pig came down in center field just enough for audience members to leap and brush the flying prop with their fingers. Following the line “I’d have all of you shot,” Waters fired an automatic rifle into the crowd. As he pulled the trigger on the prop, the projections on the wall behind him magically added gun flare and expelled casings to the gun he hoisted in his cloaked image cast upon the wall.
The band was really able shine in their performance of “Run Like Hell.” With the projections at their backs, the opportunity to observe them play was at last presented. There wasn’t mu8ch of any “Waiting for the Worms” as they weaved their way between the columns as projections upon the wall. The twin hammers marched out from the wall toward the crowd and animations from the film adaptation of The Wall were displayed on the massive screen.
“The Trial” proceeded about as it did in the film, with the powerful animations projected on the bricks of the wall. At the conclusion of the song, the entire crowd chanted “tear down the wall” with Waters. Images from throughout the evening returned to the massive projection screen in fleeting moments. The incantations of the masses were satisfied when the bricks came crashing down, falling every direction.
With the crumbled pieces strewn all over, the band returned to stage with an entirely different instrumentation for “Outside The Wall.” Acoustic guitars, mandolin, ukulele, accordion and banjo were played while Roger held a trumpet. Water’s enthusiasm and energy throughout the evening added the required amount of soul to a spectacularly executed production, an effort unequaled in on-stage performance.