Never before has this reviewer attended an arena rock show with the emotional power of Roger Waters' current The Wall
tour. The show, which plays through the classic 1979 Pink Floyd album in its entirety, was an amazing visual and aural spectacle.
The show was an incredible visual feast, from the opening fireworks through the confetti raining down on the acoustic goodbye song. As one might expect, a wall is built over the course of the first half of the show (with an intermission, fittingly, at the break between the first and second records of the recorded album). The wall itself was tremendous: over the course of the show it becomes huge, serving all along the way as a screen/scrim upon which images are projected. The images ranged from classic shots from the film (highlights there include the mating flowers and the bombers, now dropping logos of religions, corporations, and currencies) to emotionally powerful "cards" showing the photos and brief descriptions of people killed by various regimes and dictators.
The band was nearly note-perfect, and Waters sounded like he never left (which, for the most part, he hasn't, despite his exit from Pink Floyd). They play behind, in front of, and on the growing wall, engaging with it and being blocked by it in ways that give further poignancy to the music and social messages. The music, powerful in its own right, was further built up through a tremendous (and at times tremendously loud) sound system, as well as the iconic blow-up creatures (the headmaster, the teacher, the pig) from the movie.
An activist to the end, it would seem, the show hit an emotional high point that left more than a few with tears in their eyes: during "Bring the Boys Back Home," which saw the projection of images of children who had been killed, the music reached a powerful crescendo while rolling through the following Eisenhower quote: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Get thee to the show, and let yourself feel it.