If he's so anti-authoritarian, then why does the whole production remind of me a Nuremberg Rally?
At a cinema near you on Tuesday 29th September we have Roger Waters The Wall. You may be forgiven for thinking, hasn’t he done this before? Yup, he notched up the honour of the highest grossing concert tour for a solo artist when he took his revamped staging of this rock opera on the road between 2010-2013, which this film …
Unbelievable he's still revisiting this after 35 odd years. .... Peter R. 1
Methinks he is more recrafting it, Peter R. 1, for that more intense and immersive experience that leading media productions and promotions can offer quite magically remotely nowadays. Such novel live experience and virtual experiment has always been what Pink Floyd masters are really about.
Unbelievable he's still revisiting this after 35 odd years.
Yeah. Probably because he has never been able to get over that whole "Final Cut" business. It's still pretty much the one thing he's remembered for (well, possibly a whole chunk of other Floyd stuff but nothing he'd be able to do live that Gilmour & Co. - what's left of them - couldn't do better).
That's kind of the point. The central character ("Pink") gets so wrapped up in his own delusion, and the isolation he creates for himself by building his wall, that he begins to see himself as the dictator of his own personal reality. Being obsessed with the war that took his father, he naturally leans towards Nazi symbolism to express this. What Waters is trying to convey is the danger of this kind of thing, both to the individual and the wider world.
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Masters of the Progressive Rock genre: such as Echoes, the 23 minute masterpiece (the track I'd like played at my funeral!). Or the whole of Dark Side of the Moon which should be played in its entirety (maybe Money could be left out). Same with Wish You Were Here.
Later 'Floyd was more rock than prog as the tracks were less groundbreaking which started with the wall, but is really obvious in the Final Cut (a good album, but very different to DSotM).
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Well, that may be the case (I've only heard Dark Side of the Moon and the The Wall), but this article is about The Wall, and it's definitely _not_ a prog album. Concept album, yes, but apart from the let's-try-making-these-ones-the-singles ABITW Part 2 and Young Lust, it's a group of good to excellent songs put together to tell a story.
(Dark Side of the Moon might have been impressive for its time, but I listen to The Wall _waaaaayyyy_ more.)
Anyway, back to the actual topic: Roger Waters can't sing very well at all*, so I think I'll stick with the album.
* And that's OK, I like a number of songwriters who would be better off as songwriters, and might stick to it if the industry didn't hide the magic behind the pretty performers and the special people got the praise they deserve.
If the narrative of the album/story is being interrupted by cut scenes of Roger gadding around Europe, I'll pass on this. The impact of The Wall is in the immersion: the only bit of the album I don't like is the middle stanza of "Hey You", when the fourth wall is broken by Roger singing "But it was only a fantasy/the wall was too high, as you can see/No matter how he tried he could not break free/And the worms ate into his brain". The story loses its immediacy and impact because suddenly the narrative voice has shifted to a third person, and I fear that telling "the story of The Wall" will take away from the the story of The Wall.
Perhaps it would have been better to have the documentary part as an opening film, before the main event?
"The impact of The Wall is in the immersion:"
Totally agree, as having seen "the show" at Earl's Court back in 1980, and then last year Roger Waters "concert" at Wembley, it is obvious "The Wall" is a show and Roger Water's does not do "the show" but gives a concert themed on "The Wall"...
For example, the sequence for "In The Flesh", following the build up, when the auditorium was pitch black (Earl's Court has no natural daylight), and a single spotlight scanned the audience pitching out individuals seemingly at random in time to the song did have a sense of menace; something totally lost at the Wembley Stadium concert where the spotlight seemingly played with to the fans.
Whilst technology has progressed and the wall is much more effectively used as a screen, the show was lost also due to Roger's various digressions - such as his "I do politics" bit about Jean Charles de Menezes , which has no relevant whatsoever to "The Wall" (and I'm surprised it forms part of the film).
Camera's were NOT banned from being taking into the show. At both shows I went to, Birmingham and Wembley, there was an announcement that cameras were allowed providing flash was turned off as it would ruin the performance. At Birmingham I saw venue staff telling somebody off for just that.
An amazing experience. Shame my local cinema isn't showing this and there is no word of it turning up on DVD.
Spitting at the audience was all the rage back in the late '70's.
I'm happy to agree that "The Wall" was a brave and very personal artwork that was perhaps difficult to listen to or watch, but for those very reasons was a whole lot better than the self indulgent tripe the rest of the band continued to trot out for decades.
"Spitting at the audience was all the rage back in the late '70's."
Not at the audience, but from the audience.
"I see you've all read the Daily Mail and are spitting, just like punks are supposed to, but I don't particularly like being spat at ... ". Hugh Cornwell of "The Stranglers", on the album "Live at the Hope&Anchor". If you listen closely, you'll hear a Yank in the crowd between tracks. That was me ;-)
While there are some cracking tracks on The Wall, Mother, Another Brick in the Wall Parts 1 to 3, Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell, the rest are, in my opinion, less than those found on DSoTM, Meddle and Wish You Were Here. Especially side 4 where it degenerates into some kind of semi-opera.
For me The Wall is the turning point where Waters tried to turn Pink Floyd into The Roger Waters Band and the problem is that I don't think Waters is a great, solo, song writer; he needs others, Gilmore/Wright at the least, to introduce a steadying influence.
> I don't think Waters is a great, solo, song writer; he needs others
A bit like the Genesis boys - much, much better together than any of their solo projects. Apart from (maybe) the first Steve Hackett album - usually called "the best Genesis record that Genesis never made" (largely because Mike and Phil both played on it and helped with the music..)
A relative of mine did a lot of the lighting and staging work for PF around the time they were going through those "financial troubles" and he was owed a lot of money. He got a call from the Fraud Squad informing him that they knew where one of Nick Mason's treasured Ferraris would be on a particular day, and wouldn't it be such a shame if somebody happened to "borrow" it, perhaps as collateral against an unpaid debt.
He was paid soon after.
1) The first time I saw the film, after it finished I just sat there for about five minutes, absolutely stunned at the intensity of it.
2) When I was in the 6th form, we were forbidden to play "Another Brick in the Wall". Naturally we played it frequently until Mr Parker, Head of the 6th Form, walked in to the Common Room one break time at the perfectly wrong moment and demanded we "Turn that off now!" As one, virtually the entire room, in time with the song, chorused "Hey, Teacher! Leave us kids alone!" :-)
putting myself in a global minority of 6 : Gawd save us from aging self-indulgent pop musicians. Especially those riding on a mess of songs masquerading as a (late) 1970's re-working of Tommy, with bits of Primal Therapy a la Lennon from 10 years earlier, a theme song ripping off Lionel Bart's "Food, Glorious Food" from 20 years earlier and We'll Meet Again sentimentality from 40 years earlier.
But then this is the man/band whose riff from Money was basically a re-working - playing it backwards as a starting point - of the riff from the original Money, the Beatles staple (they did not write it), put in the charts by Bern Elliott and the Fenmen again 10 years or thereabouts before Floyd's version.
Nothing new under the sun. When John Barry wrote the James Bond Theme he must have had the theme from Bonanza playing in his head.
As a fan from the early days with Syd and having seen them more than 40 times I never really liked this piece. Sure, tracks like Comfortably Numb are great but there is a lot of dross (IMHO).
The original Dark Side as played during their 'Tour '72' was the best version, again IMHO.
Saw them play is at Brighton Dome, 20th Jan '72 and Portsmouth Guildhall the next night.
I think that Dave G was right to stop touring when he did.
Like a lot of us, they are getting a bit long in the tooth these days.
" I never really liked this piece. Sure, tracks like Comfortably Numb are great but there is a lot of dross (IMHO)."
This. The double album of The Wall always was an overblown Waters solo project, with an LP's worth of half decent material stretched out onto two LPs, and the less said about The Final Cut, the better. A far superior "Waters-era Floyd" album is Animals.
It's interesting that the track from The Wall that stands out the most is the only one where Gilmour had any real input.
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I was taught by Rogers mother (Mary) at junior school and went to the same senior school as him. It was Very authoritarian (Latin master wandering around in full gown and mortar board) and I hated every minute of it.
So, I think the Wall does reflect what he went through - and good for him to keep it alive.
I'm not quite old enough to have seen the original show, the album also wasn't their best (I much preferred Animals), it wasn't until PF released the 'Is Anyone Out There?' concert recording of those original shows that the album seemed to make sense. It had been edited down to fit on the two LP's but now it was there in its full glory.
I was fortunate to see the new version at Wembley, the presentation of it was wonderful, every single brick in the wall is mapped by the projections, they were able to black-fill bricks so they were only illuminated at the correct point. Technically the whole thing was incredible. Musically it was sublime and powerful however has that slight aggression to the performance that was softened by the rest of The Floyd. My wife whom I'd dragged along and definitely not a PF fan had her reservations but soon concluded the show was quite special and unique.
They don't really make rock operas any more, certainly not of this ilk, with the looming streaming world we live in few artists will be big enough to afford to put on such a production and even if they did it would be of the vacuous turd variety.
Not sure how the cinema experience of it will be, it's more of a political manifesto now, but will certainly make the effort to go and see it.
I remember my mum letting me watch The Wall when I was about 12, really changed my outlook on what music could be and how it could carry a deeper message for you to pick through. Up until then I was just listening to naff pop chart music, seeing some of the disturbing stuff I didn't quite understand in the film, made me go looking for more music with messages instead of the inanity of chart music. I still dig out the album and/or video sometimes and wallow in it and I'm still finding things in it some 25 years after first seeing/hearing it.
We get an almost endless flow of reinterpretations of works by Shakespeare, Austen etc.
Never understood the moans about musicians reinterpreting their work - are people not meant to change over time? 35+ years is plenty of time to change (where change presumably == improve in the opinion of Waters) aspects of a work.
Should also be borne in mind that "The Wall" was originally a Floyd album, and not a Waters solo album (much as it may seem like one) & doubtless (from Waters perspective) it was a compromise to some extent
Personally, if I can get to a cinema showing it I would be interested (as though I saw the original Earls Court Floyd wall show way back in the day, I missed the Waters wall tour as it was too expensive for me to justify the ticket, travel & overnight stay needed), I'm hoping cinema option more within household budget so I can get a feel for what I missed as a live experience!
Shame a Bentley was picked for Euro travelogue, a green Lamborghini would have been more fun.
There was only one "Wall" show ever worth mentioning. I attended two or three others of them. Delivered on the freshly cleared minefields between East and Western Berlin. Well, the mines were cleared but not the decatons of DDT sprayed by the DDR to keep the minebelt clean of weeds. We half a million of kids went there and kicked up the dust inhaling a superdose of that shit. I was sick for a week afterwords. Anyway it was worth it. The scene of Ute Lemper´s microphone being switched off and she throwing it on the ground and stampeding off stage ... one of the big moments in Rock`n`Roll history. She was just too full of her " I´m a star in the States" attitude and completly unprepared for her song. I will forever tip my hat to the sound guy who had the balls to just switch her off. It´s not in the movie of course... but I, me, myself am in it. I managed to get in the place for the rehearsals. A lot of the audience shots were taken the night before the show and its the Riggers and Stage Hands you see on the movie.
Have a Cigar
quite dissapointed that he comes up with this interpretation of the production 30 odd years later while it was clearly the whole reason to watch the movie at the time. But then it seems to be just another PR wash up. He does not need to do it for the money, he´s rich enough and he certainly does not need to give us fans a "new" interpretation of something that could have only be performed once and everyone understood at the first time anyway. (Except he himself maybe) And if he reads this: The stage crew hate you because you are a cunt, Waters
Saw this at both the start and the end of the tour. Separated by years, I was surprised to enjoy the second outing even more than the first.
That said, I wasn't planning on viewing this but this lovely review has made me reconsider.
(Off to see his old nemesis, Gilmour, in London next week too.)
Gerald Scarfe, who did the animation for the film, complained in an interview that so many people had said this to him and was frustrated because he didn't know why - he appears to have thought that he was doing something so outrageous e.g. depicting school so graphically as a mincing machine to homogenise everyone, that his sets would never be created and he was surprised when they were.
I can tell him why - it legitimised the notion that the mainstream education system was just BS indoctrination to get you to want to be cannon fodder for the state and the corporations.
I've been on both sides of that coin and went from the worst comprehensive school in my borough to an elite boarding school that was, for my time there, more expensive than Eton or the other one.
It was there, The Wall was given to me and I never looked back. It gave me the discrimination to do my own research and to be able to go up against so called "experts" in their fields with facts, numbers and real world solutions - and win. I'd always had a problem with "authority" and, with The Wall, authority had now completely evaporated, unless it stood on its merits.
I built a 20 year career (give or take) in the City of London with that notion.
As for the music, The Wall is bluesey rock to me and Floyd went from catering to an acid loving audience (e.g. the excellent Set the Controls to the Heart of the Sun) to, say, the incredibly powerful Comfortably Numb, which is a dope smoker's track. I think that Echos is a very clever in-betweeny track, that heralds the transition.
Then, after the complete despair in The Final Cut - documenting the whole Thatcher, Falklands event, with the pessimistic ending of nuclear annihilation whilst slavishly working to make a profit for your employer (Not Now John), Waters made a few false starts when he was broken out of Floyd. Radio Kaos springs to mind. Ugh.
Then he created the Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking - a much undervalued album in my opinion. David Sandborn on saxophone and Eric Clapton on lead guitar. It's the only album that I've ever come across to depict what we would now call a "road movie". The insight, perception and musical talent that you're exposed to with this one is, for me, the pinnacle of Waters' art when looked at from the perspective of a whole album - as opposed to a bunch of songs slung together.
And that's the nub of it for me. This is art. I lived with someone who went through a ceramics degree at Camberwell (the top place to do this in the world at the time) and, as a business analyst, she asked me to define "Art" to her. I shadowed her studies and came up with this:
Art is something where the viewer perceives things in the work that the originator has never even thought of.
In my view, Scarfe had a blind spot - he never saw how original and game changing his stuff was.
I know nothing about this latest work but given Waters' track record, I would imagine that it's now very, very well done, extremely polished and well worth a look.
The question, for me is: "Why would he bother?"
Perhaps because he feels it's message is still relevant and needs to be shoved in our faces.
Given his later stuff e.g. Perfect Sense, he's arguably right.
I think Roger deserves a beer just for getting to the age that he is and for giving so many people so much pleasure and a vehicle for some heavy duty reflection on what's going on in their lives and their world.
Personally, I take my hat off to the man.
Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.
Thank you so much for reminding me. Moving to the Bricks that are left of my vinyl Wall, pulling out that jewel and throwing it onto the 1210, Setting The Controls For The Heart Of ... my sound system ... Oi! Where´s the spliff? Thanks again
20th July 2013 - Belgium.
A black inflatable boar was released emblazoned with a Star of David alongside other symbols including a crucifix, a crescent and star, a hammer and sickle, a Shell Oil logo and a McDonalds sign. The display of the Star of David caused Waters to be accused of Anti-Semitism. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center criticised Waters by stating "Waters has been a supporter of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. Forget Israel/Palestine. Waters deployed a classic disgusting medieval anti-Semitic caricature widely used by both Nazi and Soviet propaganda to incite hatred against Jews.".
I'm never going to listen to his music ever again.
He used the pig to symbolise greed and oppression, he covered the pig in a whole range of symbols to illustrate this which was used for a moment during one of the songs from the album. No-one else complained. It's true he's against the oppression of Palestine and is quite vocal about it, but if anyone ever is critical of the Israeli government they're immediately accused of anti-semitism as an ad hominem to attack the person instead of their argument.
I don't always agree with Waters' politics but strongly disagree with the notion that he's anti-semitic.
I thought the film was rather good. I saw the live show in London in 2010 and 2013 (ish) so was keen to see this. The film was a little self-indulgent, but then it was always going to be, being Roger Waters. But it stuck very closely to the stage show and the inserted "road trip" segments did give more insight into his character and work. Thanks to El Reg for mentioning it otherwise I'd have missed the 'one night only'.
It was pretty self indulgent, yes indeed but that is part of what Waters does. I thought he came across quite well in the chatty road trip parts, I knew about his father but don't remember hearing about his grandfather before
The production and filming were very good indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was an evolution of the original stage show. It wasn't just a DVD of the concert but a theatrical production of the highest standard.
It was well worth a trip to the cinema last night. (icon, just because)
Saw it last night with my 16yo daughter and 17yo son. Asked them on exit to give it marks out of 10 - instant response was "10, obviously, duh!". Loved the effects, especially the tube.
Hitchiking: I tried to listen to this a few months ago, after a gap of many years, and had to put it aside - it was earworming so badly, I was dreaming about it for days, and couldn't get parts of it out of my waking thoughts (for some reason "Apparently they were hitchiking abroad" parts, Wilkommen in Konigsburg)
Anti simitism: surely it's acceptable to loathe the hawkish Israeli government without being down on Jews ?