I saw the original Pink Floyd The Wall concert at Nassau Coliseum back in 1980. Floyd played something like 8 shows between Nassau Coliseum and Los Angeles.

I always assumed that The Wall would show its age over time, and surprisingly, that isn’t really the case. What was an quasi-autobiographical discussion of a single person’s isolation has matured into a critique of government surveillance, excess consumerism, and war.

I knew decades ago that we would still be talking about The Wall years later. But musically, compare Pink Floyd’s opus with another great acid rock, white covered double album: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. I still find that Peter Gabriel-era Genesis disc — written mostly by the rest of the band — much more interesting musically.

When Roger Waters announced he was doing another show of The Wall, I decided I had to go.

A few observations: The sound quality was simply outstanding. The visuals were just terrific. The one weak spot was the not present David Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s brilliant guitarist and occasional vocalist.Water’s band had servicable, even technically excellent guitarists — but those solos lose something when their creator isn’t playing them. And I was less than enthused by the vocals that substituted for Gilmour.

I took about 250 photos, which you can see in order here and here.

Here are a few:

click to for larger photos

We Don’t Need No Edcuation

Waters Accompanying his 30 year younger self

Comfortably Numb

>

Related:

Bob Lefsetz Review

Complete Analysis of the Wall

Official Pink Floyd Site

Wikipedia: The Wall

CD at Amazon

See also:
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
[Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered]

Category: Friday Night Jazz, Music

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

25 Responses to “Friday Nite Jazz Floyd: Roger Waters’ The Wall”

  1. spooz says:

    Have you ever seen the Australian Pink Floyd show? Last time I saw the real Floyd was back in the Meddle days, but as a big fan of the original I have to say I enjoy the Aussie Floyd show.

  2. louis says:

    Agree BR, it just can’t be the same without Gilmour, He was on HD Net the other nite and his guitar work on Shine on You Crazy Diamond gives one chills.

  3. Lariat1 says:

    I got the Pink Floyd book you recommended last year for my 16 yr.old last Christmas. He thought it was “awesome” that some ” financial dude” was such a fan. But he and his friend were “bummed” that the last train out of Grand Central that goes up into Dutchess County leaves well before the show would’ve been over. God, years ago when I was his age, the trains ran late and we were always down the city seeing all the great shows and coming home on the straw seaters, and that was a whole crazy show in itself. But you are right about Gilmour.

  4. Lariat1 says:

    Barry thanks, great pics. You remind me of myself. I’ll travel for 3 weeks and take over 600 pictures.

  5. Cynthia says:

    No physicist has yet to come up with the math to describe what it’s like to pass through a black hole. But IMO, Pink Floyd has come up with the music to describe what this is like. Here’s Pink Floyd performing the first two parts of “Echoes” at Pompeii 38 years ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2hFZ8KnsSo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sein6WnbY0

  6. DiggidyDan says:

    I saw Roger Waters under the name Pink Floyd in Tampa a couple of years ago. It was a good show. . . but during the show he spouted off a rant against america (mostly against GWB). I think GWB was a horrible president, but myself and the crowd didn’t really appreciate the disparagement and heckled him. The music was decent. . . but not like the old album recordings I have heard. The highlight was the giant inflatable pig he tried to set loose wrapping around a column and going awry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflatable_pigs_on_Roger_Waters'_tours
    Waters is talented but came off like a pretentious rock star that night. I would rather have seen the old days of talented, eccentric, artistic, humble and crazy Sid.

  7. philipat says:

    Memories. I watched regularly at my UK University in the late 60″s, along with Bands like Family, Spooky Tooth, Fairport Convention, etc. There was so much good music around.

    Floyd’s special effects in those days, and it was advanced at the time, comprised a slide projector with coloured oil “Moving spoldge” effects.

    Ah………………………………..where does a lifetime go?

  8. Lariat1 says:

    OT, but go to Google today, very nice tribute to John Lennon’s 70th Birthday.

  9. machinehead says:

    The sound quality was simply outstanding.

    How is this possible? I’ve pretty much stopped going to arena concerts, because the terrible acoustics are compensated with massive volume — not my idea of fun.

  10. Pink Floyd was meticulous with their recording quality — the sound booth — usually a table opposite the satge int he center of the floor seats — was hige, about a dozen guys, tables, monitors, sound EQs.

    Floyd (and by extension, control freak Waters) don’t mess around when it comes to audio.

  11. kirkmc says:

    “How is this possible? I’ve pretty much stopped going to arena concerts, because the terrible acoustics are compensated with massive volume — not my idea of fun.”

    It’s been a very long time, but even back in the 70s and early 80s when I was going to concerts at MSG, the sound there was always impressive. With improvements in technology, bands that want good sound can certainly get it there.

  12. kirkmc says:

    I, too, saw The Wall at the Nassau Coliseum, and it was one of the most memorable of the many concerts I saw back in the day. (Hey, were you that guy sitting in front of me? :-)

    Some questions – I remember at the Coliseum that there were speakers all around the top of the arena, with a sort-of quadrophonic sound; was this the case with the new performance?

    Did the airplane come out of the ceiling to crash into the wall? That was a memorable moment.

    Just curious – how much were tickets? I remember paying the most ever for a concert to see The Wall, buying tickets from a scalper at $35 (I think face value was $15).

  13. The Wall tickets at the Coliseum in 1980 was bought from Scalpers — literally as the horseback mounted cops were clearing the parking lot. The scalper asked for $100 a piece, and we only had $118 between us.

    As the mounties came out, we said “Those tickets are going to be worthless in 30 seconds” — he grabbed the cash and gave us the tickets, and we flashed them to the cops and ran into the coliseum, missing the first song only.

    This pair of tickets were purchased through ticketmaster for about 5X the price. They were great seats, but I try not to think about what they cost

  14. steveplender says:

    Barry, your photos are great. The Wall was performed in Toronto in mid-September. It was acoustically superb – visually stunning. I do agree with you about the absence of David Gilmour.

  15. “…Water’s band had servicable, even technically excellent guitarists — but those solos lose something when their creator isn’t playing them. And I was less than enthused by the vocals that substituted for Gilmour…”

    This was the point I was making about the lead singer of Yes earlier this year. Adequate, but not the same. I still contend that the absence of Jon Anderson in the lineup affects the band’s chemistry onstage as well.

  16. beaufou says:

    I can hardly imagine anyone but Gilmour playing the “comfortably numb” solo, maybe Lukather.

  17. MinnItMan says:

    The only time I saw them was with the Waters-less incarnation in 1988 at Three Rivers Stadium and despite my adversion to large-venue musical experiences, I thought they pulled it off. While I can usually tell the difference between Waters’ and Gilmour’s singing, they’re not that different (and I’m guessing almost nobody else can tell the difference). That said, Waters is clearly responsible for a huge chunk of the band’s artistic soul, but Gilmour covered Water’s singing pretty flawlessly.

    I agree that there is something about Gilmour’s playing that is irreducibly Floyd-y (to paraphrase what I think BR is saying about his irreplacability). He is the antidote to overly-notey playing. Unlike the stereotypical rock guitarist, his execution isn’t about a blizzard of notes, but rather filling single notes with feeling and impeccable phrasing that is truly “musical” rather than mere display of virtuosity. Most “memorable” guitar solos are memorable because of the former quality, and Gilmour’s got a ton of them.

    In retrospect, in rediscovering PF recently, listening to them with a mindset outside classic rock, that is, actually listening to the songs instead of just having them as a background soundtrack, I’ve been struck by how minimalist they are, despite the chorales and back-up gospel singers. They are less synthesizer-dependant than I thought. For this reason – and I don’t know if there’s any real point here – they seem a lot closer to the Talking Heads than 70s prog, classic or art rock, and that’s a reason the music doesn’t seem dated (to me).

    I love 70s music, but I avoid the classic rock format like the plague – that is, whether on the radio, in bars or in chosing songs for cover bands that I’ve occasionally played in. There is something about that format/mindset that seems to unduly elevate the mediocre and really crush the sublime into cliche (e.g. “American Woman” is simply a boring and stupid song. “Stairway to Heaven” is a true masterpiece). cf. “Almost Famous,” where IIRC, the argument is made that the Guess Who’s thorough mediocrity is precisely what made them such a great rock band.

    Listen to “Have a Cigar” – to my ear, it goes against so much of the grain in terms of what is usually associated with 70s music, except for the production quality.

  18. keithpiccirillo says:

    Something about Roger Water’s vocals comes through for the small people.
    Not the same when Gilmore sings.

  19. philipat says:

    Confirm what BR says about uncompromising sound quality. In fact, even in late 60′s, uniquely, that sound control booth that Barry refers to directly in front of the stage within the audience was already in place. In those days, it served the purposes also of being used to project the slides onto the stage, such was the technology at that time!

    I’ve seen them in concert a total of must be around 20 times and the sound quality has always been excellent.

  20. philipat says:

    Confirm what BR says about uncompromising sound quality. In fact, even in late 60′s, uniquely, that sound control booth that Barry refers to directly in front of the stage within the audience was already in place. In those days, it served the purposes also of being used to project the slides onto the stage, such was the technology at that time!

    I’ve seen them in concert a total of must be around 20 times, mostly in London, and the sound quality has always been excellent.

  21. red_shoes says:

    For those looking for a newer band advancing the same themes into this century (ie “critique of government surveillance, excess consumerism, and war”), I highly recommend you catch the British group MUSE on their current tour.

    I saw them last week and was simply floored by the sound, visuals, and immense power of their us vs. them message. Admittedly their take is much less subtle than the Floyd’s, but then again our current times demand a little less subtlety.

    Amazing so much music and passion can pour out of three individuals…

  22. Hi Barry,
    I also find The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and most of the Peter Gabriel-era Genesis tracks much more interesting musically than anything Pink Floyd has ever come up with, with the exception of the Dark Side of the Moon.

    Great Blog and great musical taste.

    Cheers

    P.S.
    Was it really written mostly by the rest of the band? That sort of destroys many of my assumptions …

  23. forwhomthebelltolls says:

    “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” is more interesting musically, but The Wall hit a nerve in every single one of us males of a certain age. In my own case, never had something felt as though it was directed straight at me.

    On a coincidental note: I was driving home after a particularly difficult week on Friday. I heard “Fearless” off of Pink Floyd’s “Meddle”. I hadn’t heard that song in over 15 years. Thanks to the anonymity of the web, I’ll admit that it brought tears to my eyes.

    Floyd hasn’t lost it’s effect on me.

  24. RhZ says:

    Nice shout out re: Lamb Lies Down.

    But I would recommend Foxtrot as a better album. Or the first Gabriel solo album. ;-)

    Sorry for any double-post.

  25. spooz says:

    I googled to figure out when I saw Floyd play Echoes during the Meddle tour. October, 1971 at the Auditorium theater in Chicago. I was still in high school, and was lucky to have a big sister who was willing to drag me along with her group of druggie friends. I don’t know if it was the drugs or the music, but I will always remember the out of body experience I had during Echoes. I was floating above the crowd. Luckily, it was an experience that has never repeated itself. Crazy kids.