May 2nd, 2012

Loopster Live: Roger Waters — The Wall Live at Toyota Center

The Wall Live returned to the U.S. last night with a first stop in Houston.

The performance, for it is perhaps better termed theater rather than concert, lives up to the hype in many ways. It is a remarkable production that, perhaps intentionally, overwhelms and can subdue as easily as it enthralls. As a result, the floor audience often seemed unsure whether to sit or stand, as if attending the in-laws religious service on Christmas Eve and wanting badly not to offend.

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The music is of course familiar. Reproduced to an almost unbelievable faithful level by a talented group of eleven artists, including, what sounded from introductions, to be two brothers and an uncle as well as NBC’s legendary GE Smith. Perhaps it is because it is so familiar and the visuals so stunning, that it seems easy to get caught up in the messaging and miss the sound.

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Roger Waters is a curious character. Of infamous temperament and strong opinion, he seemed gracious and appreciative of the Houston audience’s response. He acknowledged the mutual love as a group and by section both in word and expression. Not having seen the first stop in 2010, I’m not qualified to speak to how Roger’s individual performance has changed, but he seemed very aware that he was the draw and yet some of his talents are being tested by time.  Through well-choreographed breaks and technical artistry, he is supported by his former self in video recording and is clearly working on his dramatic performance, not expecting his voice to carry the entire load alone. It is still a charismatic and impressive performance on an individual level.

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I often write of the production of concerts. It is an element that, to me, helps define a live experience from listening to an album, certainly from a live album. To that end, The Wall may be the most complex and intricate performance I’ve ever seen, certainly within the rock domain. There were elements of stage rigging that would have made Cirque De Soleil proud, the visuals were bigger than design-heavy Kraftwerk depends upon (though I do expect The Wall to return with visual in 3D to further cement the current effort), and with lifts, pyro, 3/4-story tall puppets, pig blimps floating through the arena, it is easy to believe that the tour requires 14 rigs, which approaches the limit for an arena show and exceeds many stadium tours.

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My twitter feed showed many who witnessed the 2010 stop had returned, and it quickly became clear that, with so many visual elements, the production certainly justifies repeat viewings. In fact, as the pictures one attendee posted to Facebook (and others commented on), the show is unusual in that floor seats are not necessarily the best seats. Witnessing Roger Waters, sit on the floor. Witnessing the spectacle of The Wall – Live, seating back and up has many advantages.

— Alexander

Comments

Erin N. — Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:27 pm

When we saw The Wall in 2010, our seats were to the side of the stage, therefore obscuring our view of the Wall itself & everything projected upon it. However, we loved being able to see everything going on behind the Wall & the performance quickly bolted to the top of our “best shows ever” list.

When we heard there would be a repeat performance this year, we snapped up tickets as soon as possible. This time our seats were in the lower level (not floor), pretty much dead center. It was the perfect view of the entire spectacle. Even though we knew what would come next, it didn’t diminish the experience for us by even the tiniest bit. We were just as enthralled by the theatrics & the music & left the how just as happy as the first time (if not more-so). We would happily attend again.

Ten — Friday, May 4, 2012 4:51 am

I also saw Roger Waters last tour. The guitarist/vocalist they have replaced Gilmour was a guy called Dave K, and he was the shit. I have tix from ticketexecutive.com
for the concert in May. Tickets are cheap comparing to last tour..but not sure there are any left.

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