Photos by LP
Roger Waters “The Wall” is an experience incomparable to any other rock concert in the world. To call it a concert is hardly suitable anyway; it is, all in all, a theatrical experience whose themes hold more truth now than ever before. What began as an autobiographical rock opera expressing Waters’ feelings of isolation and abandonment, has bloomed into a much broader political statement on greed, war, the media, fear, and all the walls that shield us from what we can be.
Roger Waters first built up The Wall (literally) about 30 years ago, and many asked why he chose to resurrect the show decades later. The answer is evident when you experience the production first hand. For starters, the technological advancements we have now allowed Waters to create something as monumental and unforgettable as The Wall itself, a show it deserved. Building a wall that stretches across the entire length of the given stadium’s stage, for once being far away actually adds to the experience. Hi definition projectors allowed the wall to be manipulated and transformed as it was progressively built up, and it was there that some of the most poignant imagery was visualized.
From portraits of the fallen and victims of war (the first being of Waters’ father himself) during “The Thin Ice”. To Latin crosses, dollar signs, Stars of David, Mercedes Benz, Shell and McDonald logos, all colored red and shown as dropping bombs in “Goodbye Blue Sky”. Real life videos of returning soldiers reunited with their awe stricken children, to, of course, the revamped versions of Gerald Scarfe’s powerful animations shown in the film, Pink Floyd-The Wall.
Perhaps the most directly relevant of the visuals was the repetition of the satirically used prefix, “i” such as in “iBelieve”, referring obviously to iPhone, iTunes, iPod, etc. It illustrated the ominous nature of technology today, and as Roger has expressed, the fine line between the negative and positive affects it may have on us- by either bringing us together and allowing connections to be made, or by further fueling tyrannical use of information.
Other visuals outside the wall included famous characters such as the giant and slow moving Schoolmaster whose bug eyes glared down at the local Ft Lauderdale students who chanted along to the famous, “Another Brick In The Wall”, as well as the Ex-wife puppet, both which seemed to have jumped directly out of the film and onto the stage.
But besides the gorgeous manner in which the visuals were produced, what made this show so successful and extraordinary was the impeccable attention to detail and the insightful way in which Waters displayed The Wall’s relevance. Nothing was just slapped together in this show. Every single detail was incredibly thought out, every visual was there for a reason, there was no extraneous footage or images shown- they all had their place. For instance, the subtitled video during “Run Like Hell”, of Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen being attacked by American pilots, their cameras being mistaken for weapons. Following the footage, a banner was dropped saying,”Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh, We Will Remember You.” As well as a picture of a pig next to “iLead”, a dog next to “iProtect”, and sheep next to “iFollow”, all in reference to their parts in Pink Floyd’s, “Animals” album. As I said, nothing was irrelevantly placed.
Roger Waters “The Wall” showed us how now more than ever, walls can be built without us even realizing it. He illustrated that by taking our social media, our war, and our fears, and spelling them out across an ever rising barrier that was the wall. By using photos sent by real people, videos and statistics of recent occurrences, and symbols prevalent in our day to day lives, (such as those of religions, and products), the show exemplified how real The Wall is, and how easily it can get out of hand. The production was an enlightened warning, sometimes subtle, most times not. Perhaps one of my favorite moments of bluntness, was during “Mother”, when Waters sang, “Mother should I trust the government?” and splattered on the wall were the words, “No. Fucking. Way.”