Kim Kelly Reviews Roger Waters

FRIDAY, NOV. 26TH, 2010

We waited 30 years for a return to “The Wall” and Friday night at MGM, Roger Waters brought his vision back to life and more technically amazing than Pink Floyd could have ever imagined. Parts of the wall on the stage were visible before the show started and there was something to watch…as most of the audience found their way to their seats, a “homeless” man walked around the arena floor with his shopping cart and a sign that read “Need Money for Booze and Hookers”…the man was none other than Roger Waters himself in disguise, something the majority of the audience didn’t notice even though there was a small security detail behind him and he stopped many times to take pictures with the fans in the floor seats. He finally made his way to the front of the stage, threw a dummy on stage and disappeared below to re-emerge when the concert started.

The show is “The Wall” album in it’s entirety. It started with “In the Flesh” featuring a german bomber plane careening from the ceiling of the arena into a part of the wall where it “exploded” with a hail of pyrotechnics. Five banks of 3 video camera’s projected images onto the wall (which was really the star of the show) as part of the 114 people traveling with the tour added bricks through the first half of the performance. This show was more of a performance than a rock concert, although the musicians Waters has assembled for the tour are talented including his son Harry Waters on piano and keyboards and G.E. Smith (former bandleader on Saturday Night Live). Rogers needed two people to replace david Gilmour…Robbie Wyckoff sang Gilmour’s parts and dave Kilminster played Gilmour’s guitar parts replicating perfectly Gilmour’s solo in “Comfortably Numb“. There are 12 musicians and backup singers in total, all dressed identically to Waters, so at times it was hard to keep track of where he was on stage.

By the way the really good seats up front weren’t necessarily the best seats on this tour as you need to be back to see the scope of the wall and appreciate the video effects. The amazing video was complimented by surround sound and enormous characters including the torturing teacher and oversized matron during the song “Mother”. There was also a floating pig to delight Pink Floyd fans, although unlike the “Animals” days this pig was darker with political graffiti scrawled on it’s sides, glowing red eyes and horns.  At times it seemed inappropriate to cheer or applaud as images of people killed in war and 9-11 peppered the first half with the pictures staying on the wall during intermission.

The show also included some disturbing video images of emaciated children and the actual video of journalists in Afganistan being gunned down after being mistaken for terrorists. It’s hard to believe that Rogers is 67…he still has a lot to say musically and socially as he invites us all back to The Wall.