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27 Nov 2015

Blu-ray Review: This Video of a Performance of Roger Waters' 'The Wall' Is Amazing

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There have been many permutations of The Wall over the years. There was, of course, the fine original album made with Pink Floyd, and the OK 1982 movie that starred Bob Geldof as Pink—a film that achieved cult status but lacked a certain energy. Roger Waters also staged and filmed a production of The Wall at the Berlin Wall in 1990 featuring an all-star cast including Sinead O’Connor, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper and the Scorpions. Something never felt right about that particular staging.

Diehard Waters fans don’t want to hear and see other singers and actors fronting The Wall. They want to see the man himself—so Waters took a massive production on the road from 2010-2013. The show started in indoor arenas, and that was amazing enough. (I caught the production in Phoenix). Then he expanded it for stadiums—and the thing really blew up.

This film covers a stadium show, filmed in Athens. It’s an amazing spectacle, caught effectively by directors Waters and Sean Evans. As with the original show, a physical wall is put up between the band and the audience. Things get modern with crystal-clear projections on the wall throughout the show, making the whole production perhaps the best visual spectacle ever presented during a rock show.

However, it wouldn’t be worth dick if Waters and the band weren’t any good. Amazingly, Waters—a man who approached 70 during the tour—sings like he did in the 1970s. His iconic screech is in fine form, especially during a rigorous rendition of “The Trial.”

In addition to the concert footage, Waters is seen driving through the countryside, visiting the graves of fallen soldiers, and playing his trumpet in cemeteries. It’s an interesting extra—and it’s quite moving.

If there is anything unfortunate about the production, it is the moment when Roger takes a fake machine gun and fires at the audience. Given recent events, I’m sure that’s going to come off as quite jarring to some. If he were to re-stage The Wall in the future, he might drop that bit.

Waters is hinting at hitting the road one more time in 2016, this time to support a new solo album. If that should never come to pass, and this version of The Wall winds up being his final big tour, he went out with a substantial bang.

Special Features: The disc features the amazing moment when David Gilmour joined Roger on tour for “Comfortably Numb,” high atop the wall. Every time Waters and Gilmour wind up in a room together, it’s an amazing thing. The performance is a monumental miracle.

You also get additional footage of Roger Waters driving through the countryside, as well as a time-lapse video.

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