This show was my 2nd (and probably final) show of Roger’s Wall tour. After the first night in Mannheim 15 days ago (see my review of this show), I had to travel a little bit more this time and because of the long way home booked a room in a hotel near the Esprit Arena.
Considering that I bought my tickets more than a year ago, I still can remember, that at the time Duesseldorf was meant to be the final show of this tour. So I expected something special for this night. But during the following months a lot of additional dates came out and Duesseldorf is no more the last erection of the Wall (not to speak about a possible follow up tour in South America and down under).
When I first heard, that Roger was going to perform the Wall again, I was frightened, that he could perhaps damage this myth severely. The Wall in Dortmund 1981 was my first Pink Floyd concert and a show to remember for a lifetime. Besides the fact, that I always thought, the Wall was Roger’s theatrical masterpiece with a great storyline and outstanding lyrics, I still think, that this epic is musically a bit weak in some parts and doesn’t stand with other floydian albums. Having said this, I must also confirm, that it includes some musically highlights. On the other hand, the song “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” is in my view one of the worst songs in the floydian catalogue and makes only sense as part of the whole Wall story.
With all these things in my head and the impressions of the Mannheim gig, I headed for Duesseldorf for a show on a bigger scale and a seating more in the back for a better overall view.
After these 2 shows, it’s obvious, that for this event all musicians are more or less replaceable. Even back in 1981, there was no difference between Pink Floyd and the Surrogate Band on stage. The audience didn’t even recognize it back then! So in the end, all musicians did a great job (even Dave Kilminster, whom I didn’t like in some of his previous tours with Roger), but, to be honest, you could replace all of them by other gifted ones and the show would be the same! This is caused mainly by the fact, that all the visuals are so overwhelming and the music itself has been at least a bit in the background.
For the best efficiency of the spectacular visuals, you should be placed near the middle of the wall up to the back of the arenas. From the sides and the ranks on each side it’s difficult in the first half to see all projections. This is because of the circular screen in the back, that is included in the projections on the bricks, that are already erected. So from the side it’s impossible to get an impression of this visual puzzle.
It’s interesting to see the technical capacities of the projections and the software behind it: Not only that the size of the wall differs from show to show and all animations fit nevertheless perfectly every night, but you can also see, that every single brick is integrated in the projections at the very moment it’s erected by the stage hands. So the software can handle every single brick in the wall!
During the show, I had the opportunity to concentrate on other details as on the Mannheim gig. So it was good to see it a second time to round it up in my memories.
The wall itself was really huge in Duesseldorf, so that they used additional video projection of Roger on both sides for all the people in the back to see Roger’s performing in detail.
It was obvious, that Roger seemed to enjoy himself. He interacted with the audience a lot and wandered several times to both endings of the stage. You could feel, that this project is so important for him and that he wants to be understood by the audience.
What about his singing abilities? Roger was never a really perfect singer, but did always a good job. And so he did during these shows! But, and this will be for sure no big surprise, not everything was sung by him live, as he isn’t anymore able to handle a few critical moments, where he did some lip sync and pre-recorded snippets were mixed in.
And the highlights of the show? Well, there are of course musical, visual and emotional highlights throughout the concert. On the musical side, there is (for me) the new musical bridge and new lyrics (dedicated to Jean Charles de Menezes) at the end of “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)”, a moving “Mother”, the still underrated “Hey You”, THE floydian live song and solo “Comfortably Numb” and the mysterious “Outside The Wall”, that Roger still doesn’t comment after some 32 years and that is open for your personal interpretation.
The most impressive visuals are the pyro start of the show with “In The Flesh?”, the flower sequence in “Empty Spaces”, Roger’s visual demolition of the wall during “Comfortably Numb”, the 3D effects in “Run Like Hell”, Mr. Pig (navigated by fans), the marching of the hammers during “Waiting For The Worms” and of course the collapse of the wall at the end of “The Trial”.
But and besides all the technical extravaganzas, there are still very emotional moments in the show: First of all, “Comfortably Numb” will always be a highlight in every concert, although I don’t like others than Gilmour on guitar and vocals on that one. Then the final “Outside The Wall” with the red confetti (signs of Dollars, Shell, crosses and half-moons), where you can see for the first and also last time the band really on front of the stage.
Roger chooses very emotional pictures and videos of all these suffering kids and also the projections of the “Fallen Loved Ones” during the show and the intermission. What a great idea! I’ve been reading all these details about the men and women and even this 9 year old boy, who died in Baghdad and Roger’s own father Eric Fletcher Waters, who died in Anzio back in 1944.
My personal highlight was this 28 seconds video clip during “Vera” about the girl in the classroom, who didn’t know her father was coming home from war. She was trembling and crying and finally embracing him with all her love. This is simply heart-breaking …
So, Waters’ statement about our world today was absolutely clear and he wrote it on the/his/our wall in big letters including the quotation from Eisenhower. And to say it in Roger’s own words: Bring the boys back home!
Review thanks to Hans-Jürgen Müller