Roger Waters And The Wall In Columbus

During the guitar solo on Comfortably Numb

Last night Richard and I, along with a bunch of other friends and colleagues, watched Roger Waters’ performance of The Wall, in its entirety, at the Schottenstein Center.

During Another Brick in the Wall, Part II

It was an awesome spectacle, and I am trying to use those terms with precision.  Waters, who is whippet-thin, was in good voice and good spirits and was backed by a large and skilled band and backup vocalists.  Together they were able to musically recreate the album — not quite note-for-note, but close.  The songs sounded great on an excellent quadrophonic sound system, and soon much of the audience was singing along.  By the time the show reached The Trial, a massive, crushing wave of sound was washing over the audience.

The music, of course, was married with a lot of showmanship and visual effects.  As the show progressed, workers steadily built The Wall brick by brick.  The Wall then served as the conceptual centerpiece for the show and the backdrop for wide-ranging video projections, many of which had overt political themes, before it finally crashed to the ground at the show’s climax.  The show also featured enormous, extraordinary puppets depicting characters in the same disturbed cartoon style found on the album, a crashing airplane, and a huge floating boar covered with advertising and political slogans and graffiti.

The Wall is a weird, disturbing album, filled with pain and misogyny.  This performance of the album sounded similar themes, and at times during the performance of album one the anti-woman messages became unbearable.  For album two the perspective was a bit less anti-female (but only a bit) and more political and anti-war, including a profoundly moving video montage of soldiers returning home to greet their children.  As we reached side four of the album, fascist concepts prevailed, with giant goosestepping hammers projected against The Wall, red and black flags, and Waters clad in a floor length black leather coat with a Nazi-style armband.  Watching the show beginning to end, you can’t help but conclude that Waters must have had to deal with some disturbing issues in his life.

For me, highlights of the night were Another Brick in the Wall Part II, where Waters was joined on stage by a group of children who sang and danced and then went to protest at the feet of an enormous strutting schoolteacher puppet, Mother, where Waters sang a duet with a 1980 video recording of himself that was projected on The Wall, Hey You, Nobody Home, and finally the stunning, irresistible Comfortably Numb, where a guitarist stood atop The Wall as he played the iconic guitar solos from the album.

This show was an experience, and one well worth having.

3 thoughts on “Roger Waters And The Wall In Columbus

  1. Bob

    The OSU football game was one thing, but missing “The Wall” crushed me. Thanks for giving Laurie the link for the review. It looked and sounded like I imagined. Only one point of confusion, what do the “side 1 … side 2 … etc.” mean? My iPod plays the songs straight through. Certainly you’re still not making LP references from like the 1870s. Oh, sorry, 1970s. HA! Thanks for sharing and we’re sorry we missed you guys this year. Hey, but no law enforcement mishaps. Unless Bill Williams stepped up.

    Bob B.

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    • Bob W,

      Thanks so much for a wonderful time at the concert and the football game (even though for this Purdue fan the outcome sucked). Pam and I had a wonderful time and as always, really appreciated your company and hospitality.

      And to Bob B,

      We really missed you and Laurie. The concert was excellent and I am sure you would have enjoyed it. And the tailgate and game were great as usual. But there were no interactions with Columbus’ finest, although we dodged a bullet with the odorous substance wafting through the air from the Schott up into the Vorys suite during the concert.

      Bill

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  2. You’re right — those references do date me, don’t they? From now on, I will have to avoid references to “albums,” “sides,” “vinyl,” “45s,” and every other item that shows that I am a child of the 1960s — also known as the Dark Ages.

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