Monday, October 25, 2010

Roger Waters @ The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, MI, 10/24/2010

Wow. This was concert 292 for me, and I feel like I could hang it all up because I will never see another show as massive or as impressive as this. Sure, Trans-Siberian Orchestra had more in the way of spectacle, with lasers and pyro that induced seizures, but this was the best production that I have ever seen.

The wall extended from one side of the arena to the other, there were humongous marionettes, an inflatable boar sailed over the crowd, and the wall itself was a screen with insanely high resolution. Things looked real, like the bricks toppling, etc.
The arrangements performed were nearly identical to the live versions found on Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81. In The Flesh kicked things off, and the airplane crash that you hear on the album was embellished live with a huge model airplane crashing into the wall at the end of the song. Our seats were in the rear center of Loge Level (upper bowl) and the plane came down from a wire that was right in front of us. The most amazing thing about that is nobody seemed to notice it before it came down the wire. The Thin Ice, Another Brick in the Wall Part 1, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 all followed. A group of school children did some weird dance type number with the teacher marionette. It must have stood 30+ feet tall. Crazy.
Mother was done as a weird sort of duet. Roger Waters played acoustic guitar and sang against/with a video of himself performing the song live in 1980. Kind of odd. The band that was backing Roger Waters was great. There were something like 3 guitar players, Waters handled most of the bass playing, a drummer, 2 organ/keyboard players, several back-up singers...the songs sounded album perfect. Goodbye Blue Sky  was accompanied by a video sequence that was very political. In fact, many of the sequences were political and contemporary, as opposed to the World War II overtones on the album and movie. Empty Spaces had the animation segment from the film in it, ditto the non-LP track What Shall We Do Now?, which was in the film and on the soundtrack album, The Film (super rare and only available on vinyl). Young Lust was next, followed by the brilliant One of My Turns. Don't Leave Me Now, Another Brick in the Wall Part 3, then the  non-LP (although it was featured on the live album) The Last Few Bricks where the last few bricks were put in place. The wall was constructed throughout the performance, and was now complete. Goodbye Cruel World was the last song before the intermission.
Hey You and Is There Anybody Out There? flowed into Nobody Home, one of my favorite songs off of the album. I thought about the lyrics a lot during this performance, and I wonder how kids today interpret it. The whole notion of somebody not being home to pick up the phone as a metaphor for being alone might not make sense to the iPhone generation. A chunk of the wall unfolded during this song to reveal Roger Waters sitting in the hotel room from the film watching TV, singing the song in the recliner. Bring the Boys Back Home was the only song where his vocals didn't sound great. I've got to tell you, Waters is in great shape for his age, and his vocals are still there...just not as much on that song. Comfortably Numb found two people doing what should have been David Gilmour's bit on top of the wall. One guy was singing, and the other did the guitar solos. Whoever that cat was, he had the tone and feel down pat.
The Show Must Go On gave way to In the Flesh, complete with the Hammer faux Nazi flags. Run Like Hell sounded great. I really can't explain how great the video pieces were. It really looked like the police cars on the video display on the wall were driving at the crowd. Waiting for the Worms had the marching hammer footage from the film. The imagery is so powerful, and so is the song when it gets to the riff. That's always been an album highlight to me. Stop also had the film's footage, ditto The Trial. At the end of that song, during the "tear down the wall" chanting, the wall toppled down. The entire band stood in front of the wreckage and sang Outside the Wall. That was all they wrote. It was brilliant. I never got around to seeing Pink Floyd, but I am glad that I got around to seeing Roger Waters. I really can't adequately express how fantastic this concert was. To hear one of my all-time favorite albums played with precision against such a huge backdrop was really something, though.

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