Monday, July 9, 2012

Photos/Review: Roger Waters performing The Wall @ Yankee Stadium


Roger Waters @ Yankee Stadium - July 7, 2012

The first chord of The Wall at Yankee Stadium will stay in my mind for as long as I live. Mind you, I only saw the film for the first time one week ago. "In The Flesh" has to be one of the best opening tracks of all time. Cue fireworks. Jaw drops and stays open for the remainder of the song.

I was probably five years old when I first saw the video for "Another Brick In The Wall." Mean teachers, students in a meat grinder, and rioting in the classroom meant nothing to me. And then I experienced public school in Taiwan. Let's just say I wish those teachers would leave us kids alone. The children in the choir was something I looked forward to seeing the most. It was a delight to see them in black t-shirts bouncing from side to side, clapping their hands, and air-punching the inflated "teacher" that was at least ten times bigger than they were.

The change of scenery involved the onsite construction of the Wall along with visuals protected onto it. Roger: "Mother, should I trust the government?" Screen: "NO. FUCKING. WAY." Add photos of lost ones from wars and 9-11 contributed by fans and you may feel a chill on this hot summer night. Live props included the flying airplane, puppets from the film, waving flags, and an inflatable capitalist pig. This tour must have the most hard-working stage crew in rock and roll history.

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The band was pitch perfect. The four-man choir was tight and the surround sound was haunting. Roger Waters looked and sounded great. With a big grin on his face, he was sincerely grateful for his audience. As he closed the show with a reprise of "Outside The Wall," he declared that 30 years ago he would've refused to play in front of such a large crowd, "but that was 30 years ago!" This was a show that you know wouldn't happen again, yet still wish you could see over and over...

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Nostalgia is an odd thing. I bought The Wall in 1979 the day it came out on vinyl, Columbia BL 36183 - paper insert with the band name and title under the shrink-wrap and a gate-fold sleeve with crazy illustrations by Gerald Scarfe. I played it millions of times (and at recent inspection, it shows) and read Rolling Stone's review of the shows in LA and NYC with a jealousy that was just out of my reach financially and age-wise. My buddies and I saw the film on opening night, probably at midnight, and dug the shit out of it - I've owned it on DVD since one could have. I bought the song book to The Wall from Sam Goody so I could pick it out on piano and my Dad's guitar.

Then I forgot about it. Except the parts that classic rock radio would not let me forget.

I saw Waters on his "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" tour twice with the buddies once we were financially and age appropriate. He played a few songs from The Wall (as well as a smattering of everything form Floyd's discography). Awesome - a taste!

Then I forgot about it. Except the parts that classic rock radio would not let me forget.

Until he played Berlin in 1990. That seemed awesome, even though there was no way in hell that I could go, although a good friend of mine did.

Fast-forward 20 years. A very jaded man buys field seats for the Yankee Stadium show after his sister and one of his best friends tells him he will regret missing this show.

I would have regretted missing this show. Despite the parts that classic rock radio will not let me forget.

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Everything you've read about it is true. The sound is amazing, the visuals are astounding and the performance is breathtaking. A smiling, appreciative Roger is not a bad thing (one of my fears) and his re-imagining/updating exactly what The Wall means to a 68 year old man 30 years later is profoundly poignant.

I guess, since I didn't get to see it in NYC when I was a teenager and living in North Carolina, I count myself lucky that I got to see it 30 years later with all of that 30 years of wisdom, life and technology that Roger has experienced too. Something also tells me that if I had been there 30 years ago at Nassau Coliseum, I'd have still been at Yankee Stadium this past Saturday night.

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Check out more photos of Saturday night's show below...

10 comments:

  1. It was a delight to see them in black t-shirts bouncing from side to side, clapping their hands, and air-punching the inflated "teacher" that was at least ten times bigger than they were.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dirty Projectors play again tonight at Prospect Park, for which tickets are still available. Check out a huge gallery of shots that Nadia took of last night's show, including photos of opener Dustin Wong (of Ponytail).

    ReplyDelete
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