Waters delivers dynamic performance of ‘The Wall’

A review of Roger Waters: The Wall Live at the TD Garden on September 30, 2010

, Managing Editor

It may be just over 30 years since Pink Floyd released The Wall but Roger Waters has decided to take the show on the road for more than just an anniversary celebration. As inspiration, Waters used a quote of his own from years ago about whether communication technologies would serve to enlighten us or deceive us. His response today is that the jury is still out, but we must “keep sharing ideas”. After a dynamic performance at the Garden on Thursday, Waters proved once again what a brilliant idea The Wall is.

Roger Waters has always been an eccentric artist, frequently coming up with new ideas and concepts, but his current take on The Wall stayed true to tours past. The wall itself was once again built about 40ft high by cardboard bricks which also served as a screen, the flying pig once again made an appearance, giant inflatables of several characters played a role, and vocalist Robbie Wyckoff and guitarist Dave Kilminster appeared atop the wall during “Comfortably Numb” just as David Gilmour was accustomed to doing.

In today’s ever-connected world, full of facebooking, twittering, and youtubing, The Wall’s theme of isolation may not seem as relevant today, but the aspect of fear is certainly still pertinent. This was clearly viewed in one portion of the show that was updated, as the faces of the fallen from 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan joined those from past wars in the bricks of the wall during “Thin Ice” and several other moments throughout the show.

Whether fans were attending to take in the message of The Wall or just to hear some great music, it didn’t matter: they got both. However, it seemed like most fans were along for the ride. The response of “No fucking way” that appeared onscreen as Waters sang “Mother should I trust the government?” drew huge cheers, as did emotional videos of returning soldiers surprising their children at school that accompanied “Bring the Boys Back Home”.

There was plenty to cheer for all evening, with Waters often serving as the motivation. Although the idea for The Wall stemmed from a negative incident, and Waters’ wish for isolation, Roger Waters circa 2010 is charismatic and engaging. He bounced around the stage all evening, effortlessly drawing in the audience and connecting them to his character. The star donned a nazi-esque black leather coat during “In The Flesh”, sprawled out in a living room set for “Nobody Home”, and organized the children’s choir (from ABCD) during “Another Brick in the Wall Pt.2”.

Waters also surrounded himself with excellent compliments. Aside from “Comfortably Numb”, Wyckoff also shined on “Young Lust” and especially on the high notes in “Waiting for the Worms”. Guitarists Snowy White, GE Smith, and Kilminster also did an exceptional job capturing the Pink Floyd sound as each searing riff and soaring solo resonated with precision.

Although the climax of the crumbling wall during “The Trial” was beautiful and thrilling, it was also disappointing knowing that the show would soon be over. The performance flew by but still felt whole and filling.

There’s no telling if this will be the last time The Wall will be on tour but if there is a next time hopefully there will be an answer to Waters’ question about communication. If not, at least we’ll have The Wall to tide us over.

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