Review Roger Waters at The Aviva Dublin
The Aviva Stadium
18 September 2013
What can you say about this performance by Roger Waters other than it was an awesome spectacle of sound and vision to blow the mind and senses. For those who were at the performance of ‘The Wall’ in the O2 a couple of years back, it was essentially the same show with a few added bells and whistles, on a somewhat grander scale. The Wall is bigger, the visuals greater, the music louder and the Pig is bigger to reflect the larger surroundings of the stadium version of the show. But the essentials are the same, the music and the graphics that accompany it so spectacularly. The essence of the Wall is essentially Roger Waters autobiography, charting his life from childhood when his father was killed in World War 2, right up to his ‘angry young man’ phase which culminated in him spitting in the face of a fan during a Pink Floyd show in Canada on the ‘Animals’ tour of ‘77. This was the infamous incident that led to the concept of ‘The Wall’ being born, and ultimately, the incredible visual spectacle that it has now become over thirty years later. The angry young Waters of yesteryear has mellowed since the original days of the Wall back in the early 80s. Gone is the angry young man whose personality and life vision had inspired this stark concept in the first place, to be replaced by an artist who seems to be genuinely pleased that his semi autobiographical story holds such a dear place in the hearts and minds of so many.
The show itself opens with a spectacular fireworks display and a plane crash, which accompanies the intro track ‘In the Flesh?’ and moves slowly through a series of inspiring graphics relating to the narrative of the album. The graphic bombardment is a challenge for the senses but visually thrilling at the same time. We are treated to lashings of supersize animations from the pen of Gerald Scarfe (the artist and inspiration for the visuals used in the original Wall album and shows) along with a multitude of new visuals, which comment on contemporary culture and political events… with images of war and its effect on the ordinary man still looming large in Waters visual landscape. The Wall itself is gradually constructed across the front of the stage as the first half of the show progresses, eventually blocking the audiences view of the band, which may sound odd, but ultimately is an integral part of the story of alienation that Waters felt in his young adult life. Obvious highlights were ‘Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)’, accompanied by the obligatory crowd sing-along and a choir of Irish school kids on stage, and ‘Comfortably Numb’ which is only missing an appearance by his old Pink Floyd sparring partner David Gilmour to make it as good as you could hope for. Unfortunately this wasn’t the occasion for them to refresh their friendship, but you have to live in hope sometimes! Other highlights included the duet by video with his younger self for the song ‘Mother’ and the ‘Trial’ sequence, which is accompanied by an animation sequence throwback to the original show, complete with the marching hammers.
Part of the original concept of ‘The Wall’ was Waters belief that stadium shows had become so big and detached from the audience that they could have had a surrogate band playing the music on stage and no one would have been any the wiser, and judging by his backing bands performance, his theory holds true. Although, ultimately it’s not the same as seeing the real Pink Floyd, the backing band could possibly be said to be even better than the real thing, the musicianship was so true to the original. Waters has become a fine showman and knows how to send a crowd home with a smile on their face. Having indicated that this, the penultimate show of the 218 date tour, would be the last time the show would be performed in front of an English speaking audience, you would feel that the likelihood of this spectacle being seen again is rare, so it was one not to be missed. Even the capitalist Pig got his comeuppance in the end when the crowd murdered him! A treat for the eyes and ears and a great way to spend an evening. TEAR DOWN THE WALL!!!
Review by Tony Martin
Photos by Tudor Marian
See the full gallery of photos from Roger Waters at The Aviva Stadium Dublin.