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Roger Waters (The Wall) London O2 Arena 11.05.11

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Jim Garten View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 12 2011 at 06:46
31 years ago, a 17 year old me trotted along to Earls Court in London, my 7.50 ticket in hand & had my first experience of a huge stage show, courtesy of the soon-to-implode-under-the-weight-of-combined-egos Pink Floyd; at the time, my teenage mind was completely blown away by the sheer scale of the gig, the precision of the playing & The Wall (for it was that show) being built before my eyes, only to be destroyed at the end of the show.

Fast forward 31 years to last night.

A nearly 48 year old me and my wife (age a state secret) trotted (well, wandered) to the O2 Arena in London, our 75.00 tickets in hand to witness Roger Waters's ressurection/update of the same show. Now, such events can be coloured by rose tinted hindsight, leading to disappointment, but last night was not such a case... very far from it.

Everything to do with The Wall as a concept & stage show has been updated to the 21st century; individual isolation being expanded to include the futility of war & the lies of Government & Gerald Scarfe's imagery/animation/puppets all re-imagined, added to, updated & digitised (the dodgy 35mm projections of the original, now fully digital, crisp & flowing - but let's face it, a wooden aircraft on a string, is still a wooden aircraft on a string ).

Waters's band (including Snowy White from the original 1980/1981 shows), although staying mostly in the shadows, bar the occasional solo, played marvelously & the excellent acoustics of the venue combined with the multiplicity of PA systems seemingly everywhere you looked gave a virtual surround-sound feel to the event.

One example of how immersive the show is these days is the perennial favorite 'Comfortably Numb' (and yes, that solo was played beautifully by Dave Kilminster in case you're wondering); during the solo, Waters appears to be walking aimlessly along the front of the wall randomly hitting it... until he really punches it & the projections make it appear to explode outwards in a blaze of colour, revealing a rising sun behind... when this has faded, you suddenly realise the band's equipment has appeared in front of the wall, ready for the final dictator/judgement/downfall section (incidentally, it just as magically disappears before the wall falls on it); probably just done with lifts/hydraulics, but so seamlessly, you genuinely do not see it happen.

Waters himself is a completely different man these days - back in 1980, he was morose & withdrawn; last night, he was... well... bouncy... chatty... humorous... - he seemed genuinely happy to be playing & even referred to his 1980s self as "that f***ing miserable young b**tard who last played this in London 29 years 329 days ago" - this description leading into 'Mother' which he managed to play perfectly in time to a full scale projected film of himself playing the same song in 1981.

Suffice to say a great evening & I'll finish my rambling with a couple of photos from last night published by the London Evening Standard (no, not taken by me):





A gig by a real master of the stage & maybe the last of the great prog-rock shows...?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Queen By-Tor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2011 at 10:26
Sounds like an awesome time. Good to hear that Waters can still put on a show and actually enjoys it! Although from what I've heard from people who have gone to his other shows (Dark Side Of The Moon, ect), they're - and I quote - "The best shows that I've seen in my life."


Will definitely have to catch him when he rolls through Vancouver again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2011 at 11:21
Nearly forgot - there was a bit of a comedy moment at the end when the intro to 'Outside The Wall' was played very shakily on trumpet by RW (much to the amusement of the band) to huge applause & a big grin from the man himself - a good way to defuse the emotional carnage of the previous 15 minutes.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camel666 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2011 at 11:37
I watched this show in Milan. I was blown away by the greatness of it all. Pure magic.

Edited by Camel666 - May 12 2011 at 11:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2011 at 13:28
Thanks for a great report JimClap

I also went to the original Earl's Court show, and this makes me wish I could afford to travel to see these.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dellinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2011 at 21:18
I know so long a time would make it very difficult to compare, and the difference of perception because of the age won't help, but which show do you think was more enjoyable, the original with Pink Floyd, or the new one with Roger Waters? and which show would you be happier to see released on DVD?. I must say I did see the show on december and was really great, but I was just a few years old when the original shows were played.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 02:36
It's an interesting question - as I said in my review, it's easy to look back with rose tinted glasses at the original show, which was after all 31 years ago, but I have to say the band RW has with him now is so good & the updated effects/show so head-spinning... add this to the fact Floyd were on the verge of implosion back in 1980 & RW was uncommunicative throughout... I'd have to say, Wednesday night's show was probably better & the one I'd like to see released on BluRay.

Incidentally - Gilmour appeared with RW last night to play Comfortably Numb; bad timing on my part, maybe, but bonus though it would have been, he wasn't actually missed on Wednesday.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 02:49
A Couple more photos - this time courrtesy of The Guardian:




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 02:52
And another:


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 02:58
Yes, just saw a clip of Gilmour.....brilliant! Unlucky Jim. Mason also appeared.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 03:00
The moment the wall explodes during Comfortably Numb:


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 03:01
^Just saw that bit with Gilmour on the news.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 03:01
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Yes, just saw a clip of Gilmour.....brilliant! Unlucky Jim. Mason also appeared.


It was a shame we missed them by 1 night, but I genuinely don't consider myself unlucky - after all, I did see them all there 31 years ago

Edited by Jim Garten - May 13 2011 at 03:01

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 03:03
Originally posted by Jim Garten Jim Garten wrote:

Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Yes, just saw a clip of Gilmour.....brilliant! Unlucky Jim. Mason also appeared.


It was a shame we missed them by 1 night, but I genuinely don't consider myself unlucky - after all, I did see them all there 31 years ago

It looks amazing Jim. I will have to settle for the DVD I suppose.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 03:05
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

^Just saw that bit with Gilmour on the news.


Hah!

Found it:


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Easy Livin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 03:05
Nice one Jim, sounds like a good gig.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 03:13
And the award for understatement of the year goes to...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Easy Livin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 12:20
Cool
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2011 at 15:48
Great stuff, I gather. Too bad it was way over my financial capacities, this time... Let's hope he keeps touring. And Gilmour too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2011 at 08:55
This article pretty much sums it up. Good news, at least flames of hope are sort of starting to burn.
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