The Wall has been hailed one of the most theatrical and glorified rock shows since its stage debut with Pink Floyd in 1980. Despite conflicts within the now disbanded Pink Floyd over liberties and rights, whether performed by Pink Floyd in 1980 or Roger Waters in 2012, the show continues to deliver a poignant political message.
The wall that served as the focal point at Roger Waters’ AT&T Park tour stop—also, the primary thematic element in Pink Floyd’s classic 1979 album The Wall—on Friday was twice the size of the 12-meter wall in Waters’ normal arena shows. Before the show begins, the wall is already half-built, white bricks stretching from either side of the stadium. Two soldiers in uniforms bearing a crossed hammer emblem symbolizing the fictional corrupt government of The Wall drag a stuffed doll representing Pink, the character that Waters employs to tell the semi-autobiographical story.
Waters brings the audience in as part of the show from the start as he croons “So you, thought you, might like to go to the show,” leading into the crescendo of the opening track with the projection of a bomber plane on the wall and on-stage fireworks. From the start it is clear to see that Waters’ band for The Wall is huge, featuring numerous musicians and back-up singers.
The theatrics of the show are impressive, from the projections on the wall to the three giant inflatable puppets, including the monstrous green-skinned schoolteacher puppet with glowing eyes that dropped from the ceiling during “Another Brick in The Wall pt. 2.” Local school children lined up at the front of the stage, chanting “We don’t need no education,” while pointing at the grimacing schoolteacher puppet in defiance. During “In The Flesh,” the enormous black pig puppet, graffitied with slurs at capitalism (“drink vodka,” “fear builds walls”) is guided on ropes around the field of the stadium. The wind from the bay blowing into AT&T park on Friday night was almost enough to push the pig out of control.
The video projections that light up the wall as it is slowly constructed are an intricate weave of footage from the 1982 feature film and imagery supporting the concept story, but what stands out is the addition of a powerful and blatant anti-war message to the motif. The strongest images were pictures of soldiers and civilians from all over the world who died in wars since WWI, emphasizing photos of those who died as a result of recent conflict in the Middle East.
War airplanes dropping bombs shaped like religious symbols, dollar signs, the hammer and sickle, and company logos are also part of the message. Making Waters’ pacifist message especially clear, graffitied words “No F*cking Way” are scrawled in red across the wall during “Mother” in response to Waters’ lyric “Mother, should I trust the government?” “Bring the boys back home” is also blasted on the wall several times.
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