This Roger Waters article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Adam Skirving.
Roger Waters’ tour of Pink Floyd’s classic 1979 album ‘The Wall’ wrapped up on September 21st 2013, after running for approximately three years. Now in 2015, as a companion piece for his documentary on the album and concert film, a special live album has been released, capturing the sound and the experience of the record-breaking tour.
Considering how controlled and calculated the general setup is, there isn’t a really a whole lot more you can do with ‘The Wall’ audio-wise – however, this album manages to suffice. The production was always going to be a piece of criteria that needed to be looked at – the album definitely sounds good, nearly everything is executed well both from the live standpoint and whatever polishing was done afterward.
‘In The Flesh?’ opens the album exactly how it should be opened; it’s powerful, majestic and very meaningful. Of course, ‘The Thin Ice’ follows, and the effects, mostly bomb explosions, sound great intertwined with the heavy outro section of the song, actually some of the effects sound great when countering the soft portion of the track. All three parts of ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ sound good – every instrumental, particularly in the first and third parts, have so much purpose, and the mixing brings that out almost perfectly. The middle section of ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ is gorgeous, ‘Comfortably Numb’ is very orchestral, and this particular live album might boast the best recording of ‘Last Few Bricks’ – a song that alongside ‘Watch Shall We Do Now?’ was a new addition, concert-wise, back in the day.
Speaking of new additions, this album includes ‘The Ballad of Jean Charles de Menezes’; an inclusion on the tour, played after ‘Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2’, telling the story of a Brazilian man who was killed, falsely believed to have been a terrorist.
Conceptually, everything is arranged on-point, but the weaker point of production might be the transition from the softer period to the heavier section in ‘One of My Turns’. The song narrates the part of the story where the main character, Pink, destroys his hotel room, but the change doesn’t burst through the speakers like it should, evidently not sounding destructive enough.
Instrumentally, Roger’s band does a fantastic job throughout the duration of the album, as is to be expected. The guitar solos in ‘Another Brick in the Wall, pt. 2’, ‘Young Lust’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’ sound trademark “Gilmour”. And the version of ‘Outside the Wall’ from this tour involves an incredible and fitting array of instruments, including mandolin, ukulele, trumpet and accordion; this recreates and enhances the enchantment set on previous tours of ‘The Wall’. A good bunch of Roger Waters regulars are involved, including Jon Carin, Snowy White and Roger’s son Harry.
This new live album definitely does a serviceable job of presenting the experience of seeing the show live, in sound form. While there is no experience quite like witnessing the far-out visuals of ‘The Wall’ tour with your own eyes, your ears will definitely be dazzled by this new release. Roger Waters masterminded ‘The Wall’ in the studio, and he has continued to do so on stage.
‘Roger Waters The Wall’ is out now via Legacy Records