This was one of those weeks, when the list of new releases is shorter than you would like, but still with a few exceptional offerings. With live albums from Roger Waters and Rush, as well as two releases from the “Fare Thee Well” concerts, celebrating the music of The Grateful Dead, it wasn’t impossible to find one for review. Though I had seen a benefit concert during the time of Waters’ “The Wall” tour, and had been glad I hadn’t spent the money to see him, this live album that was taken from three different performances, and made me question whether or not, I was right. I decided on “The Wall”, but have determined a couple of things. If you haven’t heard the original recording from Pink Floyd or seen the movie, don’t even think about introducing yourself with this album. The other thought is that since this is such a concept album, enough to solicit a movie, it doesn’t seem fitting to review track by track for people who already know the music, so I’ll do it by set. One more thing to mention is that this is pretty much, the movie done live, so the sound effects and dialogue, are all here.
The first set begins with the dark invitation by Waters on “In The Flesh”, followed by “The Thin Ice”, which featured Roger’s son, Harry, on piano and organ. It was obvious from early on, that the benefit I had seen, must have been an off-night for Waters. The perfect levels of mystery and psychedelia permeate every space in “Another Brick In The Wall,
Pt. 1”, which moves into the ominous march of “The Happiest Days Of Our Lives” and then effortlessly back to “Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2”. The guitars and harmonies are stellar. “The Ballad Of Jean Charles De Menezes” is not from the movie, but is a lovely tribute and ties in well to the theme. Waters introduces “Mother”, which evokes chills and a huge response from the crowd, and is possibly the best version on the album, even if there are a couple clues to the effects of time on this one, the steel guitar is stirring and Roger is committed to the song. “Goodbye Blue Sky” is the balance, the yin and yang, both musically and lyrically. Rogers puts on his best forked-tongue for his sinister delivery on “Empty Spaces”, which thunders into the rock anthem of excess, “What Shall We Do Now”. The sex-driven “Young Lust” and the manic-depression of “One Of My Turns”, are easily the quality of something refined in the studio. “Don’t Leave Me Now”, is the ultimate moment of desperation and “Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2” is the explosive rebound. “The Last Few Bricks” is almost a medley of the first set and bleeds into the final bow on “Goodbye Cruel World”.
The second set begins with the crisp acoustic and electric work of “Hey You”, until the string infused psychosis of “Is There Anybody Out There?” takes over and continues on “Nobody Home”. “Vera” and “Bring The Boys Back” are short nods to the music of WWII. The lovely tapestry of psychedelia is woven richly on “Comfortably Numb”. The harmonies and vocals on “The Show Must Go On” are spot-on and somewhat reminiscent of a Queen-style tune, which is literally smacked in the face by the harsh dictatorship of the reprisal of “In The Flesh”. Waters engages the audience prior to a mind-blowingly powerful rendition of “Run Like Hell”, complete with sound effects and a ton of percussion. “Waiting For The Worms” starts like a suicide note, but morphs into a hate-filled tirade and into a plea for a way out on “Stop”. The dark musical comedy of “The Trial” is impeccable and leads up to the crowd chanting “tear down the wall”, before you hear it come down. The solemn sounds of “Outside The Wall” usher in a unity in the form of a accordion driven sing-along, and Roger does the band introductions during an instrumental reprisal.
I can say with utter certainty, that I wish I had seen this tour, when Waters came to Denver. With only a couple of brief glimpses into the effects that the years have had on Roger, everything about his personal performance were fantastic. The rest of the musicians are incredibly talented and had absolute precision through-out. Even though I mentioned earlier, that I thought a newbie to the Pink Floyd catalog, should not start with this album and instead listen to the original or watch the movie, it is not because of anything lacking in this live version, but more because a good tree of knowledge starts at the roots, not the branches. I would easily suggest this to fans of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, and even David Gilmour, if that tells you how good it is. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!
HAPPY LISTENING!!!! 😉