Roger Waters Austin Texas May 3 2012 – Concert Review

Roger Waters presents The Wall in Austin Texas – May 3 2012

May 8 2012 Roger Waters – the bassist, vocalist, and main lyricist of Pink Floyd has been taking his masterpiece album The Wall out on tour across the world since 2010. The Wall was originally  presented as a Pink Floyd album (1979), tour (1980/81), and movie (1982).  This latest concert presentation is a spectacle in itself in that it reproduces the original gigs as performed in 1980/81 (which by the way only played in 4 cities since it was just so massive and expensive). It has of course been updated technologically and features some of the most advanced lighting and concert effects ever seen. It is selling out everywhere across the world and it is my personal belief that it will be the last time the world will see such a mega production from the classic arena rock era (as all the musicians are approaching or past their 70’s).

Roger Waters – The Wall Live in Austin, Texas May 3 2012

The Wall has smashed attendance records in South America playing to over 750,000 fans across a record-breaking 15 open-air stadiums shows in Chile, Brazil and Argentina including a mind boggling 9 sold out shows in Buenos Aires’s River Plate Stadium with a capacity of 75,000 (yeah do the math – 675,000 tickets were sold just in Buenos Aires). Furthermore, the Pollstar Music Industry Awards, as voted by the music industry, has honored Roger Waters and The Wall Live with two of the highest accolades – the coveted “Major Tour of the Year” and “Most Creative Stage Production” of 2010.  The Wall also won the “Most Creative Stage Production” for a second consecutive year in 2011. The album is also the 3rd biggest selling album in the States.

Roger Waters in Austin, TX for the May 3 2012 performance of The Wall

The best arena show ever.  Period.” – New York Post

The New York Post got that one wrong. We are declaring this show not the best arena concert of the year, decade, or millennium but the best concert ever. Period. The Wall is a musical masterpiece (not necessarily the individual songs – but the entire album consumed in its entirety from the first note to the end) and will be enjoyed for many generations to come. Seeing it’s creator on stage performing it as he intended is quite the experience.

Roger Waters – The Wall Live in Austin, Texas May 3 2012

Wikipedia gives a very good overview of the work

The Wall is a rock opera that explores abandonment and isolation, symbolized by a metaphorical wall. The songs create an approximate storyline of events in the life of the protagonist, Pink, a character based on Waters, whose father was killed during the Second World War. Pink is oppressed by his overprotective mother, and tormented at school by tyrannical, abusive teachers. Each of these traumas become metaphorical “bricks in the wall”. The protagonist eventually becomes a rock star, his relationships marred by infidelity, drug use, and outbursts of violence. As his marriage crumbles, he finishes building his wall, completing his isolation from human contact. Hidden behind his wall, Pink’s crisis escalates, culminating in an hallucinatory on-stage performance where he believes that he is a fascist dictator performing at concerts similar to Neo-Nazi rallies, at which he sets men on fans he considers unworthy. Tormented with guilt, he places himself on trial, his inner judge ordering him to “tear down the wall”, opening Pink to the outside world. The album turns full circle with its closing words “Isn’t this where…”, the first words of the phrase that begins the album, “…we came in?”, with a continuation of the melody of the last song hinting at the cyclical nature of Waters’ theme.

Tonight was the second leg of The Wall in North America. We have seen this concert 6 times so far including the magic moment in rock history when David Gilmour stood on top of The Wall in London’s O2 back in May 2011. The recap (and video) of that night is here.

Austin, Texas on the day of The Wall

The show in Austin was 100% sold out well in advance of tonight’s gig and the crowd was buzzing. This show was nearly identical to the first leg of the tour, with the exception of some new animations on the wall including closeup video footage of Waters on the wall for some songs. What was new for sure was Roger Waters playing acoustic guitar to a song right before Mother with a picture of a young man up on the oval screen above him. Waters greets Austin and tells the crowd that the song was about “Jean-Charles de Menezes – a student engineer living in London, and he was shot to death by the British police who held him to the ground and fired 8 bullets in the back of his head for which there has been no recourse, nothings happened, no heads rolled, no guilt, no blame, no nothing… there is a message for us all, which is that, its a very slippery slope when we give our governments and our police too much power. That is all I have to say about that“.

Roger Waters – The Wall Live in Austin, Texas May 3 2012

The basic premise of the concert version of The Wall is that an actual wall gets built during the first half and the second half begins with a full wall hiding the band. The show culminates with the wall being broken down at the finale. In between we get a Stuka plane flying over the audience and blowing up behind the wall, massive puppets of The Teacher, The Mother and The Wife, flag bearers, a hotel room scene, a simulated machine gun shooting of the audience,  and of course a flying pink pig.

Roger Waters performing The Wall in Austin, TX – May 3 2012

The venue in Austin (Frank Erwin Center) is essentially a college basketball stadium dating from 1978 and it certainly shows its age compared to other venues we have seen this show. The monolithic building had what seemed like a smaller sized wall with a lower ceiling and the sound was adequate but not pristine. Nitpicking aside the crowd was totally blown away and there is no doubt that Waters delivered the goods once again.

Roger Waters and band outside The Wall in Austin TX on May 3 2012

Verdict: 5+ out of 5! Roger Waters has come full circle. What started off in 1976 with him being a self confessed dark, miserable and f*ed up individual, who wrote The Wall because of his disgust at rock audiences and which eventually tore apart Pink Floyd culminates in his current 3 year swan song that has sold over 2 million tickets and establishes The Wall as one of the most impactful works of art the human race has ever created.

Roger Waters The Wall Review! Check out The Trial below and see The Wall get brought down.

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2 Responses to Roger Waters Austin Texas May 3 2012 – Concert Review

  1. Pingback: Roger Waters Tears Down The Wall for the Final Time in Quebec City | T-Mak WorldT-Mak World

  2. Pingback: Roger Waters The Wall Review Athens Greece - Olympic Stadium 2013 | T-Mak WorldT-Mak World

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