The Wall (Portland OR 05/22/2012)
For someone that saw the original tour in Los Angeles, in the days that 500 people got busted OUTSIDE the building on the first show for smoking joints BEFORE, they entered the Forum, this time, some 30+ years later, I can tell you that this group of people are already comfortably numb and that the excitement and appreciation for something that had never been seen in rock music before ... wasn't there.
When we first saw this, no one, not a single band, or rock anything, had ever done light shows that were multimedia presentations that really gave your head a jolt and a severe headache if you tried to keep up. The advent of the thirty-some shows that Pink Floyd did then, were difficult for the band, and basically, they rarely played together again after the tour, except for one or two special occasions.
Seeing it today ... is far out, neat, exciting, totally awesome ... there are no adjectives that can be used to make it any better, but ... as I sat there ... and looked at 32 or 33 years of media bs and mis-representation and what not, I realized one thing that I am not sure is intended, and this show did not address at all. The media has rendered a show like this redundant, repetitive, and sometimes ... sad. Terribly sad ... most audience members in America can not relate to war losses much, unless they had members that died in Iraq, or recent Middle East affairs, and what not, meaning that for the most part ... America Idol is more important on this night of this show!
Now, do not, under any condition, think that this is a knock on the audience, and the validity of the show today. It's still valid and highly volatile in its finger pointing and accusations, but in the end, the older version came at a time when we still remember fighting against many things 10 years later, and today ... no one fights for anything, except complacency, or send a vote to American Idol, or go read about Brangelina's latest adventure.
The great news? ... was looking at the audience, and seeing so many young faces ... that were as young, or younger than I was when I first saw this ... and that is a very good feeling.
The visualization of this show is fantastic, and today, is vastly superior to the earlier version. In the old version you pretty much had two screens, the big round screen that was patent Pink Floyd, and then the wall in front of the stage. The material shown in those days was not the same continuous thing that today's was. This made the show more complete in my estimation, today, than it did years ago, when you still had to depend on your ability to imagine some parts of the show and what it was saying and doing ... today, everything is on the wall, and you can read it, see it, and react to it. Is all the more recent war information, more important today, than it was THEN, when it had a small amount of information, mostly about World War 2, even though there were references to Vietnam, including in film on the wall, that was well known at the time. In those days, the reference to the war, was almost largely symbolic, and a memory of 10 years earlier, when some of us got our heads banged up ... just for marching with Dr. Martin Luther King!
Today, I think that Roger would like to ensure that many of us embark in a more socio-political path to understanding some of the things going on. There really is nothing like a rock band and the music business to show you more stealing, than Wall Street. There is nothing like a rock band, to show you more advertising and articles that are off kilter and have nothing to do with the person at all. There is nothing like the inane interviews asking about something that doesn't exist as a way to make the conversation sound cool and more important, and it reaching levels of absurdity that is more ridiculous and stupid, than it is intelligent or coherent, for that matter. And this is very clear in the area of "progressive", when some of the fans and interviewers are more interested in their definition of "progressive" than they are in the artist and what he/she has to say and wants to do -- which in the end, none of these reviewers and interviewers want to hear about, because it renders their work ... not important.
In the end, if you did not have a chance to see this, there is one thing that you missed ... this is not a rock show. This is not a concert. This is not anything that you have ever seen, or experienced. This is a once in a lifetime event, and if you missed, for whatever reason, you will never see it again, or have the chance to appreciate it and what the whole experience was about. In your lifetimes, you might have a chance to see one "monster" in entertainment, or whatever, and if you pass on that chance, you will never have another one. "The Wall" is just such an event. However, a warning here is important ... the majority of rock concerts after this will look like, sound like, and feel like ... why are you kissing up to that star ... because most of it is vain, silly, and is mostly just playing with your emotions. This is more than that. And someday, you will understand that, and a lot of music will fall off your iPod as ... boring. Who knows, it might even be Pink Floyd ... and then you can go worship the very folks that this piece is attacking that are the problem, not the solution.
The technology during this show, TODAY, is magnificent, totally insane, and so clean ... the clarity of the whole thing is insane, and unlike the old days, when you could hear the hiss in the speakers (there is an advantage to digital sound!), this time, it was all so clear and clean ... a solid reminder of what Pink Floyd used to do with their Quadraphonic sound, that used to go all around. In one example, though, where the old show was better, in those days, one of the big things in the "quadraphonic" idea was to make sure the sound was separated and when you hear the girl walk in the room and "wow look at all those guitars ... " ... it would start on one speaker and end on the other side of the building. Today, your "movie" was on the screen and she walked in from this side, and ended on the other, and the sound ... remained the same ... we will have to admonish Roger for that oversight, I guess! The movement of the sounds, gave an imagined view of the proceedings to your mind ... but the movie/screen in front of you feeds you the "story" and you don't need to hear it anymore go around the stadium ... the story is no longer 360 degrees ... the story is now flat ... on a wall!
The whole of the animation is far superior, again, because now, you can do things that were not quite visible or possible before. For example, when the Scarfe's cartoons first start with the big flower, for several minutes there is a line that keeps moving and growing towards the center. It eventually moves "up" and becomes the stems of the flowers in the cartoon ... and a magnificent use of the continuity of the cartoons, as was visible earlier with the flowing water that was also running in the part of the wall that was already erected.
The band, musicians? ... I think it was better than yesterday. There was a relaxed feeling in this show that was much more enjoyable than the feeling in Los Angeles that the band had to hurry up and make sure they were in sync with the movie or the visuals ... whereas today, things can get worked out much easier and just about all musicians used would probably learned it as their first song instead of All Saints Go Marching In, or some other silly jingle to teach you any ABC of music! Even in the old bootlegs from those days, you can see that there is a certain pace that has to be maintained, and today's version looked like they could slow down, pace, rest and then kick which is likely to be easier for all musicians at work. Not a whole lot can be said here, except that this is as close or as near to the original as you can imagine, and you did not miss much at all if you compare to the album ... but the show itself, is worth the price of admission ... don't think that Pavarotti was not expensive either, or a Nureyev, or a Barishnikov ... and they rarely failed you!
And this show didn't either!
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