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Iron Chad goes to see The Wall and steals Cheetah's gimmick

 
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Iron Chad



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 1163

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:32 pm    Post subject: Iron Chad goes to see The Wall and steals Cheetah's gimmick Reply with quote

Ever since I was in high school, catching a Pink Floyd concert was on my bucket list. Other than a 1994 Gilmour Floyd show at Legion Field in Birmingham, I had no luck. Fortunately I was able to find out about the Roger Waters 30th anniversary tour of the Wall in time to get some awesome seats for the show in Atlanta on 11/18.

THE VENUE/SEATS
I have to give Roger credit for not touring the wall in football stadiums where he could play to crowds of 75000 or more instead of 15000 in arenas. Philips Arena beats the pants off the Omni which I saw much rasslin and several shows in. The Omni was an asymmetrical building, so if you go for the seats that I do (not floor, lower bowl) your sightlines were not the same depending on which section you were in. Philips has even sightlines and for this show I wanted lower bowl back of the arena so I could see the whole stage since the real show is the walls and video and the band is obscured for most of the show anyway. My vantage point was incredible other than the fact I was sitting behind the only couple that insisted on standing for the WHOLE FUCKING SHOW. My vantage point was very similar to the Youtube videos of Wall show(s) posted below from Phoenix a few days ago.

Bonus to Philips for having draft Heineken about every 50 feet. The crowd moved slow and Heineken on draft is hard to find in the South outside of the big cities, Nashville and Atlanta. Thumbs down for so much Heineken being so readily available because my memory of the show is foggier than I wish it were.

THE BAND
Pretty much the same Bleeding Heart Band Rog has been touring with since 2002 or so with a couple of differences, namely no original Floyd member Nick Mason on drums, which is probably a positive because Nick became far more interested in racing cars and his country estate than drumming since the Wall recording sessions ended. Producer Bob Ezrin had to teach Mason how to read drum charts during the Wall sessions and Nick had been drumming for almost 20 years at that point. Gilmour Floyd always had at least two drummers and maybe two drummers and a percussionist IIRC, which means Nick couldn't carry the beat himself.

Roger Waters: Bass, acoustic guitar, lead vocals. The most energetic 67 year old bassist you'll ever see, and that is not damning with faint praise, Rog is not a potted plant like Bill Wyman, he moves around and even does a bit of a step dance with the singing kids in "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" that's worth running down on Youtube if I didn't link to it below. Rog's voice has never been that great (Gilmour was always the singer of the group), but it sounds as good or better than it ever has.

Robbie Wyckoff: lead vocals (Dave Gilmour's parts) -- I was most apprehensive about this guy because I am a humongous fan of Gilmour's voice and guitar and Wyckoff did things I hated like the Shrek soundtrack. He won me over because he didn't stink and actually handled Dave's vocals well. In a perfect world Paul Carrack formerly of Squeeze would've handled Dave's vocals like he did touring for Rog in the 1980's, but Robbie was far better than the guy that sang Dave's parts on the In the Flesh tour in 2004-5 because that guy's voice was too nasally. The Comfortably Numb on the "In the Flesh" live album makes my ears bleed, the vocals are so bad. It could be worse, Van Morrison could be butchering Dave's beautiful vocal like he did in Berlin. Robbie's voice carried much better live than it sounded on the couple of concert vids I peeked at before the show.

Dave Kilminster - guitars/backing vocals - Started touring with Rog in 2006 when Rog started touring Dark Side of the Moon. He's a wildly talented guy, tours with Keith Emerson of ELP, teaches guitar all over the place, Guitarist Magazine's inaugural Guitarist of the Year 1991. He acquitted himself well, sharing the solos with the next guy. You could tell the guy is wildly talented and was having a blast getting to wail on Wall solos.

Snowy White - guitars - Started touring with the Floyd on Wish You Were Here tour in 1976 and played on the Wall album and subsequent live shows in 1980/1981. Also formerly of Thin Lizzy. He's kinda like Pat Smear was to Nirvana and the Foo Fighters -- the first extra guitarist. The guy doesn't age. I swear he looks the same as he did at the Berlin Wall show in 1990. Rog was wise to go with two lead guys instead of having one guy handle Dave's lead work from the Wall. The only problem is it led to a bit of WWE Raw "My turn/your turn" booking where each lead guitarist "gets his" namely on Another Brick in the Wall Part II. White has been backing up Gilmour and the Floyd for so long, he's got Gilmour's guitar tone, which is hard to ape (albeit easier with Fender issuing a Gilmour replica Stratocaster finally, though Snowy usually used a Les Paul), down pretty close.

GE Smith - guitars - was Bob Dylan's band leader in the 1990's or the turn of this century. You probably remember him as the Saturday Night Live bandleader in the late 1980's/1990's, the guitarist with the ponytail who made goofy faces. Focused mostly on acoustic guitar and slide guitar which has always been one of GE's specialties. Gilmour used a lap steel for his slide work, but GE just did it on something that looked like a Telecaster. No complaints about him since I couldn't see his goofy faces. He was married to Gilda Radner when she died as well, OK I'm getting too obscure with the trivia. . .

Jon Carin - keyboards/guitars/backing vocals - Toured with the Who in the 1990's and is the only guy who's worked with Gilmour Floyd as well, got a co-writing credit on "Learning to Fly" from Gilmour Floyd's "Momentary Lapse of Reason" album. Solid and familiar with the material since Gilmour played several songs from The Wall on his tours.

Harry Waters - Hammond organ - Rog's son. The Hammond B3 is an important part of Floyd music. Harry, who I think is a classically trained pianist, tore it up when Dad gave him a couple of solos and played the parts as they should be elsewhere, which is all I wanted.

Jon Joyce - backup vocals - has toured with Rog and sang backup on the original Wall shows in 1980/1981, the backup vocalists were really solid, they could've just played taped vocals from the album and you couldn't tell the difference.

Mark, Michael and Kipp Lennon - backup vocals - these guys are from some band called Venice, which according to their website, is very popular in the Netherlands. They sorta ape the Beach Boys, so were well suited for the backing vocals which sorta ape the Beach Boys harmonies themselves.

Graham Broad - drums - Has been Rog's drummer since 1987's Radio KAOS, even when Nick Mason drummed with Rog over the past couple of years. Very, very good and carries the beat himself (though I missed the bongo solo from "Run Like Hell" which was just a drum fill by Graham here, although on the original Wall shows they just did a drum fill too:(

Absent having Gilmour fill his role, I have no complaints about this band, even Wyckoff.

THE SOUND

Pink Floyd had been on the cutting edge of sound since probably their inception, but for sure since Dark Side of the Moon. I remember the liner notes from Rog's "Amused to Death" album in 1992 or 1993 expounding about some new digital technique called Q sound and telling you that you should sit in the middle of your speakers and the dog barking should sound like he's right in front of you, if he's not, you need to balance your speakers. The sound was clean and amazing. Unlike Lee, I could differentiate the guitars from the piano and keyboards and even the rhythm from the lead. Also, most of the sound effects that were buried on the album were present too, and able to be heard through/with the rock `n roll music.

Also, it was loud, but my ears didn't ring and I didn't seem half deaf like I did after some shows you wouldn't think would wreck your eardrums like Tina Turner (Private Dancer tour). I expected this to be the best sounding concert I've heard, which is why I wanted to sit in the middle, where, I guessed the sounds would converge. Turns out I was right as there's some videos from close to the stage, and half the music is inaudible. This was the best sounding concert I've ever heard.

(continued below)
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Iron Chad



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 1163

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THE SET LIST

If you're familiar with the double live CD from the original Wall shows, "Is There Anybody Out There?" it's identical. "What Shall We Do Now?" which was cut from the album due to spacing reasons is there as well as "A Few More Bricks" or "Spare Bricks" which is a musical interlude between "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3" and "Goodbye Cruel World" that's put there to give the stagehands enough time to finish building the wall between the audience and band.

LIGHTS. . . AND ROLL THE SOUND EFFECTS, ETC.

As good as the sound was, the visuals were as good. The big round video screen (Mr. Screen) is there as were the Teacher and Mother puppets and even the flying pig who showed up for "In the Flesh" (the one in the 2nd act). The pig's use was really cute, IMO, because he appears at the beginning of the song and hovers, stationary, over the front of the crowd, appearing to be watching Pink's racist/megalomaniacal rant with rapt attention before flying over the crowd when the loud arena rock kicks in.

Besides the huge puppets, there's explosions, spotlights, simulated anti-aircraft fire and a WWII warplane crashing into the stage, and that's the first song. Also, the sound effects are awesome, like the birds in "Goodbye Blue Sky" sound like they're tweeting all over the arena and the plane sounds like it's circling overhead before it dives into the wall to end "In the Flesh?"

The biggest upgrade from the 1980/1981 shows is the use of projections on the Wall. At the original shows, mostly Gerald Scarfe's animations from the movie were projected on the Wall, those were there, but so was some of the neatest digital animation I've ever seen. "A Few More Bricks" or "Spare Bricks" featured animation that made it look like parts of the Wall were disappearing and reappearing when the wall was mostly built. When the wall pieces "disappeared", you could see the band in the parts that "disappear". I still don't know if somehow the bricks were made transparent of if it was film mixed into the animation. Whatever it was was impressive to look at. I just reread that paragraph, and it reminds me of a burnout trying to describe an acid trip to me and I don't get what he's saying. Sorry. . . run it down on Youtube to see what I'm poorly trying to describe.

"The Thin Ice" was also very cool as Mr. Screen showed pictures of war victims (starting with Rog's father, of course) who would then appear as individual bricks in the wall. Rog asked fans to post pictures of their relatives who died as a result of wars, including civilians, which was a nice touch.

COSTUMES

Rog wore black pants and a black t-shirt. I'm pretty sure he put on some sort of a hammer uniform for the second "In the Flesh". They had some kids come out to sing the children's part during Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2 and they were wearing cute little black hammer choir robes. There were also stagehands in hammer uniforms that carried hammer flags for both In the Fleshes. That's all I remember. Sorry Cheetah.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Fantastic. Rog wanted to make the Wall relevant for 2010, and the material is timeless in a way dealing with stuff like isolationism and war which will always be around, where it can always be relevant. Luckily that meant just a touch here and there, but keeping the material mostly as it was so those of us who've been waiting their whole lives to see it can enjoy it.

Bringing victims of all wars, including civilians and activists in "The Thin Ice" was a nice touch. "Mother" was incredible (I'd love to argue with Frank about this song someday because he hates it). Roger sings a duet with himself from footage of "Mother" from the 1980/1981 Wall shows then adds the element of Mother being Big Brother. He also changed the Mother puppet to fit the new take of the song as she appears ominously behind the stage with her arms crossed staring at the audience with blazing eyes. The Mother puppet in the original show was a big cartoony looking character sitting on an ottoman.

Rog also found a quote from Eisenhower, that he dug so much he worked it into "Bring the Boys Back Home", which is Rog's favorite Wall song:

“Every gun that’s made
Every warship launched
Every rocket fired
Represents
In the final sense
A theft
From those who hunger and are not fed
Those who are cold and are not clothed.”

I think Rog dug that the quote came from an old Republican warrior as much as the quote itself. It adds a fresh take to Bring the Boys Back Home.

The original Wall shows began with an announcer welcoming the crowd who would be blown off the stage when the band started In the Flesh? suddenly, "The band is almost ready to begin. . . no, not yet. . . BWAAHHH!!!". The announcer returns as the "worm" announcer for In the Flesh in the 2nd act with a weird costume and a slowed down voice altered by a synthesizer or something.

This time Rog starts playing "Outside the Wall" on trumpet before the band kicks in, which is a wink to the original album where the last few notes of Outside the Wall lead into In the Flesh? It's the old cassette gimmick where when side 2 ends if you flip it over side 1 starts right where side 2 ended. He actually plays trumpet on Outside the Wall after the wall comes down and the band comes out to play the finale, which is pretty much the encore.

Comfortably Numb was OK, but with a vocalist and two guitarists the visual from the original show of Gilmour appearing on top of the wall at the song's climax is a bit ruined because there's several guys on top of the wall, but that's a small bitch and about the only one I can come up with besides the couple in front of me that stood for the whole 2.5 hour show.

David Gilmour has promised to play Comfortably Numb at a future Wall show, I assume it will be one of the shows in the UK next year. I hope it's released because that's probably the last chance we'll have to see these two guys play together in a Floyd setting since both are pushing 70 and Gilmour has no interest in heavy duty touring anymore.

I really wish someone would back the Brinks truck up to Rog and build him a theatre in somewhere like Vegas where he could perform the Wall 75-100 times a year and I could get out there to see it again. That's a helluva lot cheaper than flying to Europe, which is my only other option if I want to see this show again, and I do, under the influence of less Heineken so I'll remember it all. Highest recommendation.

Here's some Youtube links from some recent shows I promised, the sound in these videos doesn't do the show justice:

Roger Waters the Wall, Phoenix 11/27/10 Part 1

Mother - Chicago 9/21/10 - guy needs to keep his camera in focus, but you can almost see GE's goofy face during his slide solo, he's the guitarist right behind Rog.

Wall highlights Part 2, Phoenix 11/27/10

Wall highlights Part 3, Phoenix

BONUS CLIP FOR THOSE WHO GOT TO THE END OF THE POST: David Gilmour and Roger Waters, Comfortably Numb, UK charity gig July 2010
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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 16965

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One gets the feeling that Gilmour will play the concert that gets released on DVD. If it's not part of the full concert that gets shot for release, that it probably would be part of the bonus.

Great write-up, Chad.

Five shows out here in LA... I was pretty boneheaded not to go.

John
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Tomer



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 168
Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got to see The Wall at the BankAtlantic Center on my birthday weekend (11/13) and I have to concur with Chad's assessment.
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tdcheetah



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 487
Location: The Cheetah's Lair (aka Clarendon VA)

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's one thing to steal my gimmick.

It's quite another to use it to review (yet another) artist I'm not too crazy about.

What next -- jdw goes to see Tom Petty? guren suddenly turns from Peter Gabriel to Phil Collins? Scott goes to see... *trying to think of something Southern rock-like*... does Lynyrd Skynyrd even exist anymore?


Lee

(Just kidding, enjoyed the report as your experience even if Pink Floyd/The Wall is one of the last prog rock bands/events I'd be willing to go to see.)
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott doing it for a Kid Rock concert. ;)

John
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guren



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 1205

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tdcheetah wrote:
It's one thing to steal my gimmick.

It's quite another to use it to review (yet another) artist I'm not too crazy about.

What next -- guren suddenly turns from Peter Gabriel to Phil Collins?

Hey, no need to get nasty.

"Why I oughta..."
-- Dean R.
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