December 13, 2010
It was odd to see a disheveled man pushing around a shopping cart inside the Honda Center while most of the audience were finding their seats. The lights would dim and a spotlight would shine upon the disheveled man who pushed his cart to the front of the stage and toss a pink dummy onto the stage. From that moment on, the Honda Center transformed into a massive theatrical platform for Roger Waters to recreate the entire classic Pink Floyd album The Wall.
Explosions soon lit up the arena as the opening strains of "In The Flesh?" blasted your eardrums. Waters would soon appear through the smoke to don a leather jacket and Ray Ban aviator shades. The creeping delayed guitars of "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 1)" got the crowd on their feet. Soon a large inflatable caricature appeared out of nowhere and a group of children wearing t-shirts stating "Fear Builds Walls" danced along to "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)."
The actual wall spanning the width of the Honda Center was impressive and doubled as an movie screen bombarding the audience with a vast array of thematic visuals. During "Goodbye Blue Sky" the wall projected images of airplanes dropping such items as a crosses, Shell gas logos and dollar signs as if they were bombs. Sonically, Waters assembled a top notch band that includes former Saturday Night Live band leader G.E. Smith.
A thumping bass line and searing guitar riff for "Young Lust" sizzled as well as the lusty footage of women dancing matched the lyrical content of the song. The mood ominously shifted during "Don't Leave Me Now" as the wall showed visuals of dripping paint like it was blood. The wall slowly assembled itself during the length of the performance and the last brick in the wall was symbolically placed during "Goodbye Cruel Wall."
After a short intermission, the sliding bass notes and acoustic guitars of "Hey You" immediately recaptured the tension and energy. Part of the wall would lower to reveal Waters sitting in a chair as he sung "Nobody Home" with the crowd lending a hand on vocals. "Vera" had some heart wrenching footage of families being reunited with their loved ones from the military. "Comfortably Numb" had everyone out of their seats and was the high point of the evening with a mind altering guitar solo while Waters acted out the lyrics standing at the foot of the wall.
The iconic pig from Pink Floyd would make an appearance during "In The Flesh" in the form of a motorized airborne balloon that circled the arena. Another highlight moment was during the panic stricken guitars of "Run Like Hell" as Waters led the crowd to clap along and imploring everyone to "Enjoy Yourselves!" The visuals during "Waiting For The Worms" were especially harrowing as a slew of large worms crawled across the screen and underneath your skin.
Things started to come together during "The Trial" as the wall quickly recycled all the thematic visuals of the evening turning my brain into mush. A large rumbling started to occur and the entire wall would come tumbling down to the cheers of everyone in the arena. Waters and his band would soon appear for a stripped down version of "Outside The Wall" with Waters on trumpet. The amount of production and superb quality of musicianship make it almost an insult to consider this performance a concert. Roger Waters's recreation of The Wall is in a class all by itself.
Personal Bias: I couldn't wait till the Honda Center show and saw Waters a few weeks ago at the Staples Center.
Crowd: A wide array of all ages were in attendance. A vast number of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters concert t-shirts were spotted.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Is that G.E. Smith?" was the argument happening by three friends directly behind me.
Random Notebook Dump: I spotted Tony Kanal from No Doubt and Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction walking around before the show.
"In The Flesh?"
"The Thin Ice"
"Another Brick in the Wall Part 1"
"The Happiest Days of Our Lives"
"Another Brick in the Wall Part 2"
"Goodbye Blue Sky"
"One of My Turns"
"Don't Leave Me Now"
"Another Brick in the Wall Part 3"
"Goodbye Cruel World"
"Is There Anybody Out There?"
"Bring The Boys Back Home"
"The Show Must Go On"
"In The Flesh"
"Run Like Hell"
"Waiting For The Worms"
"Outside The Wall"