Review: Roger Waters – The Wall Live, at Birmingham NIA
The word spectacular doesn’t come close to describing Roger Waters’ latest live imagining of Pink Floyd’s classic album The Wall.
Theatre, politics, visual art, film and music – it was all here in this stunning two-hour show.
It’s over 30 years since the original album and tour, but the music sounded as fresh as ever, especially when presented alongside a jaw-dropping array of visuals.
The opening salvo during In The Flesh? set the tone – a volley of indoor fireworks and a model of a Messerschmitt fighter crashing into the stage. How’s that for starters?
As with the original Floyd tour, the stage was dominated by a 35ft-high wall which slowly grew, brick by brick as the first half progressed, with stunning visuals projected onto it, many carrying images of the victims of conflict or comments on the futility of war – including a very poignant tribute to Stockwell tube victim Jean Charles de Menezes while Waters played an acoustic refrain to Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2).
As well as some of Gerald Scarfe’s original animation from the film The Wall, his grotesque figures of the Teacher, Mother and Wife came to life in the form of towering inflatable puppets. Stunning.
As the crowd drew its breath over the interval, the now completed wall displayed a roll of honour of more war victims – from Second World War Lancaster pilots to children from 21st century conflicts.
This was thought-provoking, stimulating art weaved into a rock concert.
The second half resumed with the band hidden behind the bricks, Waters eventually appearing front of stage and then, for Nobody Home, in a mini living room set that cleverly descended out of the wall.
Just when you thought this sensory assault couldn’t be topped, guitarist Dave Kilminster appeared atop the ramparts to play the spine-tingling solo in Comfortably Numb, which rightly drew a standing ovation.
After the rock-out Run Like Hell brought the crowd to its feet, the wall was sent crashing down to bring a suitable crescendo to the show, the likes of which this reviewer has never seen.