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Monday, May 14, 2012

Live Review, 5/11/2012: Roger Waters Takes a Stand for Bleeding Hearts and Artists Outside The Wall

Posted By on Mon, May 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM

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CHRISTOPHER VICTORIO
  • Christopher Victorio

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: I saw the David Gilmour-led version of Pink Floyd on its first tour without Roger Waters. As impressive and enjoyable as that laser-blasting spectacle might've been, though, it was hollow, flashy pageantry compared to the conceptual juggernaut Waters mounted tonight.

The show: In addition to the projections mentioned above, The Wall's theatrical elements include Gerald Scarfe's animated sequences from the original tour and movie (with the exception of "Goodbye Blue Sky," whose Union Jack and bloody crucifix images are replaced with new computer animation of bombers dropping religious symbols and corporate logos like ordnance); the infamous flying pig (now also scrawled with agit-prop graffiti); inflatable marionettes representing the stern mother, cruel schoolteacher, and wayward wife; crashing jet fighters; a chorus line of local schoolkids; a furnished hotel room that emerges from within The Wall; stadium-sized live footage of Waters in various stages of character development; a Waters "duet" with his younger self via projected film of a 1981 Earls Court concert; and more. Lots and lots and lots more.

Roger Waters' The Wall at AT&T Park on Friday. - RICHARD HAICK
  • Richard Haick
  • Roger Waters' The Wall at AT&T Park on Friday.

The sound: Stadium/arena shows usually have the worst sonics imaginable, e.g., drum kits sound like Decepticons fighting in a Dumpster, vocals become tinny and thin (when you can hear them at all), and half the band goes missing from the mix if you stand in the wrong place. The Wall's sound system, however, is astonishing. Quadrophonic speaker arrays turn the sound FX and backing samples into an immersive 3-D superstorm that attacks your ears from all sides, while the band performance itself is so clear and balanced that you can almost imagine you're listening through headphones in your living room. Only at 100 dB, of course, with giant puppet friends who dance for your amusement.

CHRISTOPHER VICTORIO
  • Christopher Victorio

The band: Augmenting Waters onstage is a mini-orchestra of session musicians. Noteworthy band members include lead guitarist Dave Kilminster (who impeccably recreates David Gilmour's original guitar solos), backing guitarist Snowy White (who toured with Pink Floyd way back in the day, including the original 1980 tour of The Wall), keyboardist Jon Carin (who's been in both David Gilmour's and Roger Waters' bands since the '80s), and co-lead guitarist G.E. Smith (the longtime Saturday Night Live bandleader who was once hilariously described as "Frankenstein with Dutch Boy hair" by punk band The Vandals).

Setlist after the jump

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