I had no expectations whatsoever in regards to Rogerâ€™s new Wall show. Of course I know the songs and the original live show but based on the last couple of times Iâ€™ve seen Roger I thought it was best not to get my hopes up. I must admit the main reason for going to London was a small hope that David might appear here.
A couple of friends and I got to see three shows and Iâ€™m really glad I did. Apart from the fact that we got to be there when David made his promised appearance, the whole experience was mind blowing to say the least. Perhaps it helped that I didnâ€™t have any expectations but I really got to hand it to Roger and his band for doing justice to The Wall.
The show starts off with a powerful In the Flesh and although I missed the Surrogate Band with the masks the new opening hits you right in the face and sets the standard for the rest of the show. From there itâ€™s pretty much a nice balance between the original 1980-81 performances and new up-to-date animation and graphics. The classic theatrics is there from the teacher puppet to the hotel room and fascist display. Roger has managed to keep the original story line fresh and timeless by tweaking it slightly towards a more political approach. The Wall has never been one of my favourite Floyd albums but this new show has made me see it in a different light and given me a better understanding of its powerful message. Itâ€™s more political now, yes, but Iâ€™m a bit surprised to see that many in the audience just donâ€™t get it and scream their loudest when Roger points out the â€œweakestâ€ in the audience. I have also seen comments and reviews stating that the show is too political. Perhaps it is but then again these people probably donâ€™t know who Roger is and what he stands for. After seeing the show in early May a Norwegian reporter said that Wall was a lame compilation of songs that had no meaning in the Floyd history. I donâ€™t even want to start on that oneâ€¦
The show aside Iâ€™m very impressed by the overall sound and the bandâ€™s interpretations of the songs. I was expecting a tight performance but also feared that it would sounds too perfect. When you know the stuff as much as we do itâ€™s hard not to focus on the details but I caught my self thinking I was back in 1980 several times. Roger and the band hasnâ€™t only learned the songs but studied in detail â€œIs there anybody out thereâ€ album. Itâ€™s amazing to hear every drum fill and guitar lick right off that album. At times Dave Kilminister sounds just as wild as David did and Snowyâ€¦ well, Snowy is Snowy and he played on the original shows. Roger even had chorus and phaser on his bass!
I had told my self not to be too critical of Kilministerâ€™s playing and tone. He has his own style and tone and it would only ruin the show if I sat there and compared everything he did with Gilmour. Well, principles aside I spent the whole first show dissecting Daveâ€™s playing LOL! After all, Iâ€™m in this for the guitar. But if you read this Dave I have to say Iâ€™m really impressed! The heavy Thin Ice, the airy echoing Another Brick in the Wall (part 1) and the rich sustain on Empty Spaces was all present. I also think he did a great job with Comfortably Numb playing very close to the album version. If I had to point my finger on something I think his distortions are a bit too saturated and boomy and songs like Young Lust was just a complete mess. A nice little surprise was Jon Carin on Run Like Hell. His tone was huge! The definitive low point of the show was Snowy and GE Smiths half assed attempt at the Mother solos. One of the high points for me was Last Few Bricks, which really stirred up the crowd.
We had set our minds on Saturday. For some reason it seemed more likely that David would appear this day. We were looking for signs all the time though and while I was allowed to bring my Canon into the show on Wednesday I was forced to deposit it on Thursday. No professional cameras they said. David will appear today we though! Getting into the arena we were desperately looking for new clues. Was the sound engineer wearing white sneakers today and black yesterday? David will play today! But we did however notice two cameras at the mixing desk and rails for a camera rig in front of the stage. This wasnâ€™t used in the first set though but they rigged the camera during the intermission we were sure something was about happen. When they didnâ€™t start filming until Comfortably Numb we were positive that this was the night and focused on the top of the wall and surely there he was for the chorus. It took a couple of seconds before I realized it but then I saw the Hendrix strap and heard my self scream my ass off like a mad man. It was wild and unbelievable and the crowd just went completely crazy! This was Super Bowl and Shea Stadium times ten and it was hard to hear what David was singing. He must have felt it too and from where we sat we could see that he was totally perplexed.
Youâ€™ve seen the clips already and mistakes or not this was a night to remember and a huge experience for everyone there. Not least Roger. He just couldnâ€™t stop smiling and he seemed very emotional. David on the other hand looked shaky and a bit shy but no doubt happy as you can see on the Outside the Wall clip. No wonder he was nervous though considering he hasn’t really played to a crowd like this since Gdansk 2006. It was also great fun to see Nick up there. Rick was there in spirit.
It’s hard to point out what gear he might have used. It’s The Black Strat obviously with the Hendrix strap. When we were there it sounded very much like the G2+Tube Driver but judging by the clips I would assume that he’s using either the 1999 or 2006 Cornish board with a Muff+Tube Driver combo and perhaps some delay. I’ve also seen unconfirmed reports on him using Alessandro and Hiwatt amps.
After the show we waited outside the backstage tent and surely Roger turned up and agreed to some signing and pictures. We were no more than ten fans so it was a nice chance to see him up close. A nice bonus for me personally was to meet Phil Manzanera. A guy whom Iâ€™ve admired for years. This will be something Iâ€™ll remember for the rest of my life and Iâ€™m glad I got to experience it with great friends (thank you Asle and JT!) and 20.000 other maniacs!