Review + Photos: Roger Waters' The Wall Live Tour at the Scottrade Center, Friday, October 29
If you're a Pink Floyd fan, Roger Waters' The Wall Live tour is a big deal: It's the first time in twenty years that the entire iconic album has been played live by someone associated with the band. Even if you're not a Pink Floyd fan, the tour is a technical marvel worth experiencing, a show full of well-choreographed special effects and arena spectacle. Last night, an adoring crowd packed the Scottrade Center for the St. Louis stop of the tour. The night was thought-provoking and visually dazzling, although occasionally flawed.
Todd Owyoung Roger Waters' The Wall Live Tour at the Scottrade Center
View a slideshow of photos from Roger Waters' The Wall Live Tour at the Scottrade Center
Before the show started, a homeless-looking man pushing a stuffed shopping cart wandered through the crowd. He made his way to the front of the stage and threw a faint-pink ragdoll onstage - a symbolic representation of the album's character, Pink. Soldiers carrying red flags with the familiar crossed-hammers logo marched onto the stage. The platform on which they stood then lifted them high above the stage, fireworks exploded and Waters walked out. Silver-haired and sporting sunglasses, he shrugged on a black leather jacket with the same logo on its sleeve. Thus began "In the Flesh?" a song which ended with a dynamic explosion of pyrotechnics.
The rest of the Wall experience was sensory overload, in the best possible way. Surround-sound beamed incidental voices and instrumental effects around the arena; the enveloping disorientation was effective. Moody lights bathed Waters and the band in spooky reddish-black hues. Giant inflatables - a garish caricature of a British schoolteacher, a green-hued dragon-woman with orange spiky hair and, of course, a black pig floating above the crowd - nodded to Pink Floyd's arena traditions. A circular video screen in the back complemented the projections on the jagged, in-progress wall; notable animations included plants simulating sex and planes air-dropping dollar signs, a cross, the Star of David and the Shell Oil logo. (Being able to look up at the ceiling and see the giant Volkswagen "VW" logo on the arena's hidden Jumbotron felt rather fitting.
The wall itself was constructed methodically -- and with such pinpoint precision -- that each brick melted into part of the video screen immediately after being placed. By the end of part one, the stark white construction effectively blocked the band from the audience. During part two, the screen became a blank palette for impressive video projections -- everything from ghoulish animation and macabre sloganeering to nightmarish monsters and marching armies of crossed-hammers. Until "The Show Must Go On," most of the band stayed largely hidden - guitarist/ex-SNL musical director G.E. Smith peeked out from behind a brick to play guitar during the sufficiently creepy "Is There Anybody Out There?" and Waters settled in a mini-living room set-up with a chair, TV and lamp for "Nobody Home."
Todd Owyoung The Wall itself. Roger Waters' The Wall Live Tour at the Scottrade Center