Roger Waters at the Pepsi Center, 11/23/10
11.23.10 | Pepsi Center
If you were at the Roger Waters show last night at the Pepsi Center, chances are you're still talking about it this morning, regaling your co-workers and feebly trying to figure out a way to somehow express the unbelievable awesomeness you experienced. Good luck. Afraid there just aren't enough superlatives to do it justice.
Even more absurd/impressive/imposing is to first reconcile and then account for the fact that the show in question is a thirty-year-old production, and it's being orchestrated by a white-haired dude your grandpa's age, just shy of earning a septuagenarian designation, thanks.
Despite the fact that this tour is a re-creation of the original, which took place more than three decades ago, it's safe to assume that many of those on hand at the Pepsi Center last night were seeing the spectacle in person for the very first time.
One of the most expensive and logistically daunting productions in history, The Wall was initially performed only 31 times, in four cities (Los Angeles, New York, London and Dortmund, West Germany), first in February and August 1980 and then in February and June 1981.
And after witnessing firsthand The Wall Live, as this tour has been dubbed, it's easy to see why. With as much thought and effort that clearly goes into putting this thing together, it's hard to imagine that Waters and company had the wherewithal back then, much less the capital, to take the show on the road. Every show lost money -- but then, tickets were reportedly only $12 or so.
This time around, however, Waters not only has the resources to re-create his classic creation in its entirety, but he now also has the technology to produce the show in the way he originally envisioned. And how. To call this the ultimate concert experience would be woefully underselling it.
The sound wasn't just good; it was an expansive, enthralling, spectral, three-dimensional experience. And combined with the stunning visuals, pyrotechnics, inflatable creatures and airborne pig, it was like watching a digitally remastered version of The Wall in 5.0 surround with thousands of your friends.
Gingerly taking our seats around 7:30, we sensed we were in for something special. And everyone around us seemed to share that sense of anticipation. Just before 8 o'clock, as folks were still filing in, a slightly disheveled man in slightly tattered clothes made his way through the crowd from the side of the stage -- pushing a shopping cart with a hand-scrawled sign in it that read: "Homeless Need Money for Booze and Hookers!"
A few people wondered aloud if this was part of the show. "It's got to be," one lady behind us remarked. Considering that a) the gentlemen looked a little too kempt to be truly indigent, and b) he was strolling through the aisles undeterred by security, one would assume so. And indeed it was.
As the show got under way after a brief announcement from a booming voice advising that Waters was okay with everyone taking pictures but would they please turn off the flash setting on their cameras, the presumed hobo made his way to the front of the stage.
There he was greeted by Waters, on stage and cloaked in a leather trench with a red armband, a row of soldier-like figures on raised platforms hoisting flags bearing the crossed-hammers insignia behind him and a stunning wall of flash pots in front of him that electrified the senses and lit up the arena like an Independence Day celebration at an arson conference.
All this before a wartime-era biplane dive-bombed from the rafters and crashed into a section of the forty-foot wall that had been partially erected as a shower of sparks rained down on the players. And that was all just during the first song "In the Flesh," which kicked off the show.