Friday, December 03, 2010
Roger Waters at Staples Center
Some of my earliest music memories involve becoming influenced by listening to my brother's records. Pink Floyd's The Wall was definitely one of those guiding forces. The opportunity to see Roger Waters perform The Wall in its entirety is an opportunity that music fans and concert lovers should not miss. Waters brought his massive stage production to the Staples Center for the first of five Southern California appearances (11/30 & 12/5 at Staples Center and 12/13 & 12/14 at Honda Center).
Immediately upon entering Staples Center, your eyes dart to a menacing partial built wall which spans the width of the arena. A lone spotlight shone through the crowd to highlight an unkempt man pushing a shopping cart. The man soon lofted a pink dummy onto the stage as the pyrotechnics start to ignite across the stage during "In The Flesh?". Roger Waters emerged from the smoke to don a black leather jacket and aviator sunglasses.
A replica airplane soon stormed from the back of the arena to bust into the wall and explode in flames. It was a spectacle to behold and the show had barely started. The delayed guitars of "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 1) are unmistakeable and energized the audience. The transition from "Happiest Day Of My Life" to "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) was punctuated by a group of kids wearing t-shirts stating "Fear Builds Walls" dancing along pointing to a massive puppet hanging from the rafters.
The guitar solo was impeccable with the backing tracks of a man screaming adding a sense of paranoia. A double shot of the acoustic laden "Mother" to the hopelessness of "Goodbye Blue Sky" captivated using a combination of superb musicianship and mind-boggling visuals. It was a full sensory assault. Things heated up with the sultry visuals of "Young Lust" paired against its hip shaking bass line and Waters singing "I Need a Dirty Woman". Analog type synthesizers poured over the audience for "One Of My Turns".
Ominous tones of "Don't Leave Me Now" were matched with a prey mantis creature and paint dripping visuals. "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 3)" incorporated pictures of political talking heads with glass smashing over their faces as the wall visually appeared to be peeling away. Waters walked in front of the wall and slyly waved his hand to place the final brick to close the first half of the album to a large ovation from the crowd.
A sliding fretless bass riff kicked off "Hey You" and immediately you were transfixed. The wall soon started to peel away for "Is There Anybody Out There" with sound effects seemingly swirling around the arena in full surround sound. A section of the wall would lower and reveal a hotel room with Waters reclining in a chair singing the piano driven "Nobody Home". Messages of peace and anti-war sentiment were transmitted with footage of soldiers returning home to their children during "Vera" and "Bring The Boys Back Home".
One of the many unforgettable moments was "Comfortably Numb" with Waters trading vocals with Robbie Wyckoff topped off with a blistering faithful to the recorded version guitar solo. The band had hastily assembled their gear in front of the wall for "In The Flesh" as a floating pig soon traversed across the Staples Center emblazoned with propaganda and slogans. "Run Like Hell" was phenomenal with its heavy bass and space delayed guitars with the crowd chanting "Run! Run! Run!". Stomping hammers flashed across the wall for "Waiting For The Worms" with Waters employing a megaphone for parts.
A puppet fell from the top of the wall for "Stop" as the band quickly exited off the stage as operatic tinged "The Trial" continued to enthrall the crowd. Chants of "Tear Down The Wall!" soon emitted from the crowd as the wall crumbled in grand fashion. Waters and his band would soon stand in front of the crumbled wall for an acoustic strewn "Outside The Wall". The whole evening was mind blowing. It would be easy to rate this as the concert of the year but Roger Waters's performance of The Wall is in a class all by itself.