2010 Nth American Leg
Wall Tour Zone 2010
Robbie Wycoff (left) & John
Fantastic show. Probably the best of the 5 I have seen (12/14). Briefly meeting Roger on 12/13 and getting an autograph was AWESOME.
12/14 was surprised to see Robbie Wycoff on the floor and managed to chat with him for a minute or two and get a picture. What a nice guy and a true class act.
Above images & review thanks to John (SeaNile)
Hey all! The drive from Santa Barbara to Anaheim and back for the show was one thing but we came from 2 hours north of San Francisco -- leaving Monday AM and getting back today Wednesday by dinnertime. Not only that, but we did that once already for the first night of Staples. But the idea of missing the last US show was impossible so it was well worth all the time (and cash) that it took. There were seven of us wandering into JT Schmidt's before the show. It was really crowded in there but I finally recognized Simon from the blog so grabbed him and he came over (joined by Kami) so I could introduce him to our group. If any of the rest of you were there I wish I'd bee able to meet you...but it was all a bit hectic.
Two of our three kids were there: our son Gaelen now 21 who was only 1 year old when we took him to the Berlin Wall show; and our eldest daughter Cerrithwen who is almost 30 and who being 9 at the Berlin show remembers it very well. She went to all 5 of these RW Wall shows we went to and just booked her flight to Europe from May 10 to July 4. She's been saving United miles for years and waiting for the right moment to go....and will see several shows over there in 2011!
We were in the lower level risers in the back corner on the Nobody Home side, very nice views and sound (though we liked San Jose the best as a venue). Cerrithwen had a seat elsewhere and was surrounded by clueless drunk yahoos so came down for the second set. I sat right behind the board for a while during the break waiting for the right moment to make my move and as the moment finally came when the security folks were distracted I made a sneaky lateral movement and was on the main floor for the first time yet.
I wandered up to 102 looking like I knew where I was going and got to a row that not only was empty but also looked as if it hadn't been sat in (there were no spills, cups, trash, jackets, etc.) so I sat down in the dead center. Eventually the four seats at one end filled up then this woman came in from the other side with a ticket and asked me if it was row 15. I told her I had no idea since I had moved up there (telling her the reason why). I noticed she had a pass and it turned out to be Jim Joyce's wife! (edit: right, Jon Joyce. Jim is a tile guy I know). She was really great and we talked quite a bit. Then some other pass holders came in behind her so I moved over a couple seats but had two to myself. Kami was in front of me a the beginning of the second set but moved. In any case, 15th row center was FUN!
We got back to Santa Barbara at 1AM and left at 6:30 AM to drive up (my wife had to teach a one hour class at 2PM in Sonoma county). I'll never forget these five shows.....it has been an amazing journey! Cheers......
Review thanks to terrapin
Courtesy of a extremely fortunate circumstance, I received an opportunity to attend the last performance of The Wall in the US, the second show in Anaheim. It was an amazing and yet somewhat bittersweet experience, to see Floydian friends and our hallowed pied piper and his merry band one last time. The aforementioned circumstance also allowed for an amazing vantage point: third row center. To say I was gobsmacked is an extreme understatement. And I brought one of my best friends along with me this time, which was just one more memorable aspect of the event entire.
Another wonderful meetup with AFGers, lots of reminiscing and laughter and just plain fun, I will always treasure the experience of meeting such warm friendly people and bonding with them not only over Floydian matters, but life itself.
I was also fortunate enough to chat with Jon Joyce and his wife Susan Boyd (also a vocalist) as well as Kipp Lennon before the show, and as I have interviewed these gentlemen recently on behalf of AFG there was a special significance to me; both are incredibly charming and kind and legends in their particular corner of the music business. My friend and I also spied David Crosby (surrounded by a rather large entourage) in attendance. Our dear Si had his photo taken with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.
Experiencing a static presentation more than once (like viewing a film over and over again, for example) allows one to concentrate on different things each time (or at least attempt to) and I always enjoy that opportunity because I very rarely "let go" in regards to art/entertainment (people who know me say I overthink everything, but I don't consider that an insult). I love to pay attention to the details and there's a lot of that in the music and the stage show, of course. There is a consideration in respect to fans being "attached" to the details, and I could feel myself responding to what was literally encoded in my consciousness, regarding the album, rather than what I was hearing. Experiencing the show for the second time enabled me to take a step back, as it were, to listen more carefully to what I was actually hearing.
Thematically I've believed that The Wall has always been about more than Pink, and Roger has stated many times the elements of the greater interpretation of the work, even before this version of it. The walls we build between ourselves and others, the macrocosm of the world and the microcosm of the self. But it's fascinating to see, now, the forms which those walls take: walls of violence and walls of avarice, walls of possessions and walls of emotions, walls of ideologies and walls of ignorance, walls of distraction and walls of isolation. The distractionary tactics we face every day at the hands of the government and the media were very well-defined, it reminds me of a great line of Zack de la Rocha's: the thin line between entertainment and war. Faced with so much noise, so many conflicting messages, so many ways to numb ourselves...and in that aspect Roger was very ahead of his time in emphasizing this kind of behavior, though I realize in itself it's an accurate representation of life on the road. But the sensory overload we experience now in the 21st Century, I hope it is an appreciable subtext to those who have seen the performance, I feel it's a very important message in the whole.
Roger having a chance to fully realize these personas - to both emphasize and deconstruct his own role as a rock star - is a great opportunity for him, I think, because he is such an enduring presence. There's a sort of parody but an intentional one, everyone is in tune with the notion of him running the show, and even for those who may be on the other side of the Which One's Pink? debate, they seem willing to concede this point (especially in consideration of Peace In Our Time). I don't agree with the notion of the "tribute band" aspect advanced by certain fans and critics (whereas some other bands, like Yes, have definitely become their own tribute band, in my opinion) so that wasn't a consideration to me at all. Instead I was wholly impressed with the camaraderie and chemistry of this band, so carefully selected.
There were little things I noticed this time, like the sound effects were missing from "One of My Turns" and I'm sure there's a good reason for it, but both times I kept expecting to hear breaking china and glass, and traffic sounds; so it's as I say: my consciousness was still trying to hear what has been imprinted upon it. On the other hand, I loved all the ambiance which was added to "Run Like Hell," I noticed Jon C. adding a lot of textures which was great. And this time the "pinprick" in "Comfortably Numb" was floating above my head. So many details it’s difficult for me to even catalog them all, but another great moment was Robbie’s performance of “Young Lust” entire, but especially the screams during the instrumental break.
I experienced the quad elements somewhat differently, of course, no less in intensity but perhaps more as they were meant to be. I really appreciated those moments when the wall was meant to "move" we could feel the rumbling of it, even separate from the collapse. The collapse itself was amazing to experience up close. Even though I knew there was the lip of the stage and a gap between the stage and the seats as well as the crash barrier and our dear Si had already stated no one actually gets hit by the bricks, but it still seemed as though the wall was going to come down right on top of us! I think my heart skipped a beat or two. And some of the samples were more distinct for me in terms of the new additions, such as what is playing on the television as it gets smashed.
From where I was sitting in Los Angeles I could see only about half of Mr. Screen, so this time in Anaheim I could fully experience one of the most iconic moments of the show: the Fucking Flowers. It still amuses me that Alan Parker admitted to desiring to make the film based on that one piece of animation, but I don't think anyone could deny its visceral primordial power. What I appreciated both times was the addition of the "roots" projected onto the wall, it's a great piece of dynamic evolving animation. And then of course Gerald's animation for "What Shall We Do Now?" which is again one of his best pieces and such a great song.
It is those moments which audiences continue to expect and it was very savvy of Roger to realize we desire them and therefore to make certain to include them.
Interestingly, one of the drawbacks of being up close is when the wall itself plays a part it didn't always work because I could see how many of the bricks were a bit worse for wear. Of course after 56 shows I'm sure nothing is quite like it started out to be! During the Intermission, however, I took the opportunity to read as many as the Fallen Loved Ones tributes as I could, including the one for Roger's father. One soldier I read about was from my hometown. I felt grateful that although I have known soldiers who have served in combat, I have never known anyone who was a casualty of war. All those veterans I have known were fortunate enough to be able to return to their families and friends and did not have to make the ultimate sacrifice. But also to consider how many civilians have died as the result of political violence, who have also sacrificed their lives, and the tragedy inherent in such circumstances. This consideration made the sequence during "Vera" emotionally overwhelming, as I did cry this time. Susan and I had discussed the pacing of the show and how much effort one has to put into it, to plan it out and make it flow naturally for the audience, marveling at all the intelligence and hard work inherent in the production.
I enjoyed examining the lighting rig, which I could see from underneath, and again the continuity of involvement among the technical team means an attention to detail and quality which achieves the standard of excellence and Marc Brickman’s contributions are once again in top form. The puppets were a bit frightening to experience so close (I kept having the feeling the Mother puppet was angry with me) and I was amazed that the band was so cool, calm and collected during the pyrotechnic apocalypse which takes place at the end of “In The Flesh?”
I was also able to observe the band interplay; the way in which they interacted with one another while onstage. They were all so wonderful again during "Brick Pt. 2" and to see Snowy playing Goldtop up close, it was a dream come true for me. I also really enjoyed Harry's solo during that song as well as Jon C.'s during "Young Lust" although I joked to my friend that Harry wasn't being historically accurate because he wasn't playing with his elbows during "In The Flesh"(!) During "Comfortably Numb" I could see Robbie at the top of the wall (by craning our necks as far as they would go!) but unfortunately all we could see of Dave K. was his hair. However, he was amazing as always, he really sounded so soulful last night, and I know he's a big fan of the "shredders" so to hear him playing in another style is a treat.
My heartwarming moment was getting Jon C. to wave at me when the band came out for “Outside The Wall.”
Roger was in rare form it seems, really emoting and projecting and even having a few moments where we thought he might start laughing, such as during his introductory speech for "Mother." I think it was a great self-referential idea for him to sing with himself, to allow him to comment on himself in regards to then and now but it's also an entertaining piece of stagecraft. Of course, his mention of film from Earls Court drew a really big cheer (fans are salivating over the prospect of an 80/81 DVD) so there's that nostalgic affection which does have to be acknowledged, I believe, though it does not negate the restaging to do so. I have never seen Roger perform up close in person, and so many times during the performance I felt like I might have been holding my breath just to see him, all the nuances he brings to the performance, the way he interacts with the crowd and the material. His speech at the end of the show brought tears to many eyes (it looked like Jon J. was really about to cry!) and the wave of adoration swept us all away. This time, not only was I just stunned by the spectacle, but also emotionally wrung-out, so to speak, from the intensity of it all: performances, staging, visuals, sound, all of it made for a one-of-a-kind journey into a unique story which is also our story, each of us, in our own apprehension.
Review thanks to Julie Skaggs
Above images thanks to Robert Perry
Wall to Wall: A Short Essay Pt. VIII (see 13 Dec Hinda Center Anaheim, CA for Pt. VII)
OK...so I've attempted to write a grand finale short essay as a conclusion to my Wall to Wall short essays throughout the 2010 US leg of the tour, and it hasn't been easy. At one point it's been as long as five pages, then wittled back down to one page, revised back up to three pages, and then edited down to one paragraph. After sleeping on it, shredding it up, and throwing bits and pieces of it back together, I've finally realized it would be impossible to wrap it all up in one nice package. So here are my final ramblings, rants, and raves...and for better or worse, it is what it is. Will this be the last installment of these short essays? Only time will tell...
So there it was, the final show of the 2010 US leg of Roger Waters The Wall Tour at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Rather than giving a traditional review of the show itself, I'll instead wrap up this series of random thoughts and impressions with an overview of some of my my experiences since the tour was first rumored back in February. While I'm not a professional writer (I am a visual artist by profession), sometimes writing (and playing guitar) as a creative outlet gives me the same satisfaction as if I was in my studio creating a piece of artwork. In other words, I like to write and I write what I like, and hopefully my attempt at writing properly translates and reflects what I think and feel to those of you who read this.
I'll start by thanking Col for this great AFG website and Forum, for without this I may have been just another lost soul seeing a couple of shows out here in Southern California with a couple of friends and family members. But as it turned out, and because of this site, I saw multiple shows across the country, met dozens of cool people, and always knew there would be a pre-show meet-up at every concert I attended where I could hang out with friends that I have met through this forum. In the beginning back in February upon hearing the first rumblings of a new Wall tour, I somehow stumbled upon the site while browsing the web looking for any more info. I immediately joined at that time, but didn't start posting and participating until May when the Wall Tour was indeed a fact and etched in stone. Slowly bit surely I began posting here while treading lightly amidst the excitement of ticket pre-sales, and immediately was welcomed and made to feel at home. I had found a place where everyone was here for the same reason...a true love and appreciation of Pink Floyd, and it was at this point that I dove in head first and never looked back. Looking back and thinking about it all, the journey had just begun.
As I've mentioned in the past, the original Wall tour and the new Wall tour stand on their own as the best concerts I've ever seen, and are exceedingly great for reasons of their own. With that said, I have been asked numerous times throughout the past few months which version I liked better, but it is almost an impossibility to answer that for a variety of reasons. In an attempt to compare and contrast, I will try and put down some thoughts that have been bubbling in my head since the beginning of the tour. I myself was at two of the original Wall shows in L.A. (specifically Feb 8 and 12, 1980) thanks to the helping hand of my older brother Scott , and to him I will always be grateful. Back then as a teenager still in High School, I bought the Wall album and listened to it religiously.. None of us knew at the time the concert itself would consist of the Wall and the Wall only, and as a matter of fact, we were totally unaware of anything that was going to happen at the show. That element of surprise added a certain mystery and intrigue, and is something that was really impossible to replicate for this new tour knowing what we know now, even for those who didn't see the original shows as they have seen clips and photos, and have read numerous accounts of what took place.
As far as the imagery, animation, special effects, and sensory overload of this new tour, what we've seen is truly astonishing. At the same time, what we witnessed in the context of 30 years ago was also state of the art and cutting edge...moments of astonishment and amazement that had never seen the light of day before then at any concert. So to make any kind of comparison you have to take into consideration that 30 year difference of separation and put things into the proper context of then vs. now. It's only natural then - and thankfully so - that 30 years later the stakes have been raised even higher to reflect the state of the art cutting edge effects and animation techniques that we have today for the ultimate visual feast. Truly amazing no matter how you look at it. With that said, I do recall there being a somewhat darker, eerier, bleaker, and more dismal and mysterious vibe to the overall experience back then (and I mean that in a positive way) compared with what we have seen today...but maybe that was because my young impressionable mind had never experienced something as jaw-dropping and mind-boggling as that before. Or perhaps because now we're seeing Roger smiling, chatting, and bouncing around the stage which has lightened things up a little. Or maybe it is the bombardment and sensory overload of the new colorful animation and visual effects in addition to the total visual narrative throughout this show that outweigh the feeling of total isolation that was the true focus of the original shows. In the world we live in today, we are saturated in sensory overload and special effects. Whether it's television or movies, we are surrounded and bombarded by this sensory overload, and while it is indeed awe-inspiring to experience it all in a concert setting, sometimes less can actually be more. in order to leave room for the imagination to fill in the blanks. So if I was forced to pick a favorite (which I'm hesitant to do), it would have to be the original version for personal and sentimental reasons, and due to the context of seeing and living through it all as a 17 year old in 1980, all of which is based on my subjective opinion. Ultimately, while both versions have their positives and negatives, what it really all boils down to is the original Pink Floyd version vs. the new Roger Waters solo version, and when push comes to shove, it is the music and musicians that must come first in my mind...and that would ultimately be the original Pink Floyd version.
With all that said, these new Wall shows rest comfortably alongside the original Wall shows on the list of the best concerts I've ever seen and experienced in my life, and I'm fairly sure that nothing will ever come close to being on the same level as either of them. I love them both for a variety of different reasons, and I'm thankful and grateful that I've had the opportunity to experience them both in my lifetime. It was life changing then, just as it is life changing now. Regardless of any small criticisms I may have had about this new tour in the past, none of that really matters in the big picture of it all. I must thank Roger Waters for bringing this show back for myself and the world to see and experience, as the original was always a highlight for me. Now I don't feel as alone when trying to tell people about what a great concert The Wall was. Now there hundreds of thousands of us who will be able to relate to what I am talking about after having shared similar experiences.
So from seeing the original Wall 30 years ago as a 17 year old, to seeing the new Wall 30 years later as a 47 year old, I can only stop and wonder....where has all the time gone? Well wherever it's gone, I can honestly say that these last 3 months have been a major highlight of my life. I traveled to cities I'd never been to before, revisited several cities that I've always wanted to go back to, and most importantly have met dozens of new friends that have provided with me with friendship and memories that will last a lifetime. I've been overwhelmed, I've been in awe, I've been shocked, and I've been blown away. I've also laughed and I've cried. I've held my breath with anticipation, and have felt mentally and physically exhausted after almost every show. This tour has had an unbelievable impact on me, and has exceeded all of my expectations. Alot of it is still stirring and digesting in my system, and it will take months to truly look back in wonder and give a true testament about it all. The bottom line is that I have been blessed to relive the old memories, while at the same time adding hundreds (if not thousands) of new ones, and making dozens of new friends in the process that I will appreciate forever.
So to conclude, I thank you Col and I thank you all again...it has certainly been a BLAST! From Chicago to New York, from Kansas City to Los Angeles, from Oakland to San Jose, and finally right here in Anaheim, California. It's been a hell of an amazing journey seeing a total of sixteen shows across the country and meeting new friends everywhere I've been. Yet at the same time, there is also a slightly bittersweet feeling knowing that this particular chapter of my life has come to an end. As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end...but do they really? There's a little birdie that keeps chirping in my ear and I can almost hear it singing "London, London, London"!!! Other times I hear it singing "The Wall will return to America"! Will this be truly be the last time for me to experience The Wall? For every question I have, a can of worms is opened, and only time will tell if there will indeed be another segment to this chapter. As with life itself, everything depends on a number of circumstances, so until then I'll be sitting in a bunker here behind my wall (in my art studio) waiting for the worms to come. Until the next time (if indeed there is a next time), over and out! Stay tuned...
Review thanks to Eric "DiamondHead"
(A particular note of thanks from the team here at AFG for Eric's great series of reviews. Thank you Eric)