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Roger Waters - The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans) CD (album) cover

THE WALL (A FILM BY ROGER WATERS AND SEAN EVANS)

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

3.65 | 42 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

iluvmarillion
3 stars The Pink Floyd rock opera, The Wall, whose themes of abandonment and isolation are explored through a character called Pink, are appropriated by Roger Waters through a personal journal to follow the last traces of his father, who died in the Second World War in battle for Cassino in Italy. Unsurprisingly the two align since Waters wrote the original lyrics to The Wall. The character Pink, a Rockstar whose star is fading, is alienated from his fans, so goes into a form of self-imposed exile where he substance abuses. He eventually comes out the other side after he abandons his self- isolation. The symbol of this self-isolation is a wall that society erects to protect it's own citizens, but is overtly used to seal itself from the truths of it's own folly. The collapse of Communism in the East Europe in the eighties, associated by the fall of the Berlin Wall, bore the venue for Roger's celebrated 1990 concert which raised money for the Memorial Relief fund charity.

Roger Waters seeks to address his abandonment by his father by journeying to Cassino to pay his respect at his father's grave site. The picturesque site of the hills of Cassino are a perfect place to build the memorial and it is very moving to watch the solitary figure of Roger take a trumpet out of his car and play tribute to his father.

The documentary is cleverly interspersed with the concert performance of The Wall in such a way as to not disturb the flow of the concert. Roger Waters is a master at using silences to highlight the musical nuances within a song. Despite that I would have preferred the documentary to be played before or after the concert, not during it.

A superb cast of musicians have been assembled to play the concert. You couldn't get better guitarists than Dave Kilminster and Snowy White. Multi-instrumentalist Jon Carin shares keyboard duties with Roger's son, Harry Waters. And Graham Broad on drums and percussion has been featuring with Roger Waters since the nineteen eighties. Roger Waters does most of the singing and hasn't lost his touch on voice. He has a chorus of singers including a boys' choir to support him.

The concert itself is a visual feast of lasers and lights, very theatrical, with screen projections of attacking aeroplanes and huge life size floating blimps. Marching Nazi like troops join the stage with Roger firing a toy machine gun over the heads of the audience. As the band plays, a gigantic cardboard brick wall is built around and over the heads of the performers until it reaches a point where most of the musicians are concealed behind the wall. Then after performing the finale song, The Trial, Roger screams at the audience to tear down the wall and the whole thing comes down.

How does this concert performance compare with Pink Floyd's studio album of The Wall? Basically, I think the two support each other. Neither is perfect. This one is longer. Many of the songs are stretched. Others are shortened. The last side of the Pink Floyd album drags a bit after the song Run Like Hell. In Roger's version the wailing sirens of Run Like Hell gives the song more expression and leads to a more fulfilling conclusion when the wall comes down. The first part of Roger's version is impressive as well. From In The Flesh to Mother, through the middle chorus of Another Brick In The Wall, it moves more freely. Where it can't compete is side 3 of the Floyd album from the opening Hey You to Comfortably Numb. While Dave Kilminster performs a great guitar solo on Comfortably Numb there is nobody who can play this solo as well as Dave Gilmour.

iluvmarillion | 3/5 |

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