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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Old Rocker (Roger Waters) to Perform Old Album (The Wall) for (Old) Fans in AT&T Park

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Roger Waters can't hear the kids, but they're shouting, "Dude, rock 'n' roll is dead!"
  • Roger Waters can't hear the kids, but they're shouting, "Dude, rock 'n' roll is dead!"

It's not ageism, people -- this blog reviewed Roger Waters' performance of The Wall in Oakland last December and found it humongous, riveting, and revolutionary. To call The Wall a classic rock document is an understatement; it'd be like calling out the seminal qualities of dirt or sunshine. The Wall is The Wall, and having Waters play it live at AT&T Park on May 11, 2012 (news hook: that's happening) will be almost certainly be an amazing experience for those who attend.

And yet. Maybe I've been reading Simon Reynolds' new book Retromania too much, but I'm less than enthused about another hugely lucrative run around the country for a 32-year-old concept album that was made five U.S. presidents ago -- before common possession of the personal computer, nevermind the rise of the Internet.

Is anyone else bothered by the fact that the oldest rock bands play in gigantic venues and the new rock bands play in tiny ones? Sure there are a few exceptions -- Arcade Fire or the National, say. But nostalgia/revival tours like The Wall are way bigger business than current guitar bands. And though they dazzle fans, they also feel like a last public viewing of the rock 'n' roll corpse before it's buried underground forever, or relegated to mummy status like jazz or classical music.

Believe me, I don't want that to happen. But will we be celebrating Foster the People's debut album, or Ryan Adams' latest record, Ashes & Fire, in 2043? Probably not. So there is a kernel of truth behind that admittedly provocative headline -- even you Waters devotees have to admit it -- and what it bodes for the future of this style of music we love can't possibly be good.

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Ian S. Port

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