Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

18Sep/100

Rebuilding The Wall: Looking inside the new Roger Waters tour

It's an event that ATV pal Peter Chakerian said was a really good idea....it just took a while for Roger Waters to see the light.  Now with that light fully illuminated, Waters is putting The Wall back up with a 30th anniversary tour celebrating the classic album, a tour that opened earlier this week in Toronto (and eventually will land in Cleveland on September 28th).

The tour is bait enough to draw me out to see Waters for the first time in nearly 10 years.  I wasn't a huge Doyle Bramhall fan, so my previous Waters experience was marred quite a bit by the presence of Bramhall on stage.  This time around, I'm intrigued by the vocal inclusion of my longtime faves Venice, with three-quarters of the band enlisted to provide the background vocals for The Wall tour.  Looking at that key nomination as well as the rest of the members selected by Waters to make up his 2010 touring ensemble, I knew this was going to be a show that I probably wouldn't want to miss and with the information below, my thoughts have now been confirmed.

My pal Matt Levitz, webmaster of the official Venice website received the ultimate job perk (can you really call something that you don't get paid to do a job?) when the Venice members offered him a pair of tickets to check out a full dress rehearsal run-through of the tour setlist last weekend in New Jersey.

His full report is online now at the Venice website and I really like this excerpt:

This show is more than just a concert. It's an epic event, and it's unlike any performance I've ever seen before. I'm going to try to avoid spoilers here, but I will say that at the climax of the first song, there is a pyrotechnic display that if it had occurred as their grand finale (or perhaps as the closing ceremony at the Olympics), you would walk away feeling like you'd more than gotten your money's worth. And we all looked at each other, going, "Where on earth can they possibly go from here?" But then they proceeded to show us. Each new song is its own set piece, and is its own stunning audio/visual experience. The images are powerful, thought provoking, and at times even disturbing, but consistently original. The show starts with the bar impossibly high, and then repeatedly outdoes itself. There's no question that millions of dollars have been spent, and every cent is up on display, created and guided by a genius auteur, and then engineered by the smartest and most talented tech guys in the business. This is the "Avatar" of concerts.

If I can take a moment to share another revelation about myself, I'm typically the kind of guy who has to be as close to the stage as possible. At every opportunity, I move up, a few rows at a time, so that even if I start the show somewhere in the middle of the arena, by the last song, I'll often be right at the stage. And the reason is because I feel that the closer you are to the front, the better the show gets. You can feel the performers' energy better, see the facial expressions, and everything intensifies. Well, the bizarre thing about "The Wall" is that here, the opposite is true. Having experienced this concert from the third row, I find myself in the shocking position of admitting that I was too close. This concert is not about the performers, so being close to them is irrelevant. What this is is an overwhelming presentation, fifty feet high and two hundred and forty feet wide, that I was unable to completely take in. Every time I looked at something on the left, I missed something on the right, and then when I spun to see that, I realized that something awesome was going on behind me, flying over the crowd. As weird as it feels to type this, I think that this might actually be the first concert I've ever been to where the fans in the cheaper seats, higher up, are actually going to have a fuller experience than the folks who refinanced their homes in order to pay scalper's prices and sit in the front.

I'm in for that.  How about you?  The important thing that I took away from the above information is that yes, the tickets are really expensive, but if you have a limited budget, this is a show that you will enjoy just as much sitting in the cheap seats.

Click here to read the whole recap from Levitz and if you're still in the mood for some more reading after that, Venice member Kipp Lennon has a nice diary of sorts from their time spent getting ready for this tour.  You can expect that there will be further updates as the tour progresses.

(And an additional side note: Roger Waters is on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone for an in-depth interview regarding the tour.)