In The Flesh

I had never seen anything like it. It was hands down the greatest concert I ever saw. There Gina and I were, floor tickets at the Xcel Energy Center to see Roger Waters perform Pink Floyd’s classic 1979 album, “The Wall” in its entirety.

I have seen Waters before. Twice actually. First time was cool. The second time he did “Dark Side of the Moon” with lasers and floating pigs and crazy videos on a giant screen. I never thought anyone could top that kind of show, but Waters managed to do so with “The Wall.”

I could go on and on about everything, but that would take too much time. It started out with the sides of the wall on stage, and throughout the first half of the concert, as videos and images flashed on the giant circular screen, stage hands were inserting the bricks until by the time “Goodbye Cruel World” was performed, there was one lonely missing brick where Waters popped his head out of and crooned the lyrics.

This was almost an over-stimulating experience. Planes crashing into the wall, crazed cartoons that at times felt like thet were in 3D, the energy of the band… it was the most visually insane concert I ever saw. It was almost a multimedia play. Waters playing himself and the character Pink, a stage within the wall for “Nobody Home”and band members and extras dressed in the pseudo-Fascist uniforms with the infamous crossed hammer armbands. It was a very impressive show.

What was impressive as well was Waters taking what is considered a very personal album about losing oneself to madness and bottling it up until it finally explodes into a very personal anti-war, anti-consumerism message. During the intermission, the wall was full of pictures of fallen soldiers from all over the world. During “Vera” the wall was full of videos of troops coming home and surprising their children at school.

I can see how some people may have been turned off by his politics, but it should not have been a big surprise. Pink Floyd’s albums were full of anti-war, anti-consumerism and anti-status quo themes. “Us and Them” from “Dark Side” was a classic anti-war song. “Money” is very self explanatory. “Have a Cigar” from “Wish You Were Here” was about the phoniness of the corporate music world. The whole “Animals” album was politically charged and based of George Orwell’s book, “Animal Farm.” “The Wall” had these themes as well, but they came out in full force during the live show.

Waters even brought back the giant inflatable pig for the show. He also had giant inflatable puppets to portray the school master, the mother and Pink’s wife. It was a larger than life show.

Another cool part of the show was that Waters used a video from 1980 of Pink Floyd performing “Mother” from “The Wall.” He played along with himself as an experiment, he said. And it was cool to see the young Waters in black and white on the screen and partially built wall singing with an older Waters on stage.

Of course, “The Trial” was incredible. The whole crowd was screaming “tear down the wall!” with the band, then the wall actually collapsed. Every brick carefully put up during the show came tumbling down. It was epic.

I have seen many live shows in my day, but I doubt anything will ever top this one.

Avatar of Joe Froemming

About Joe Froemming

I'm a reporter/copy editor for the Bemidji Pioneer. Previously, I worked for the Worthington Daily Globe as a copy editor and before that, I had a brief stint as the Fine Arts Columnist for the St. Cloud Times. I was born and raised in St. Cloud, a graduate of St. Cloud State University and worked in record stores for 10 years before wandering into the world of journalism. I live in Bemidji with my wife Gina and our cat, Mac. All the papers and towns mentioned above are located in Minnesota.
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