When I was 18, there was nothing I loved more than Pink Floyd. I had all of their albums. I knew all of the songs. I read books on them. I knew each of the members names, what they played, how they were raised, what their background was, etc. I knew of the feud between Roger Waters and the rest of the band. I knew the back stories of each album.
I wanted a Pink Floyd tattoo.
My plan was to get the crossed hammers logo tattooed on the back of my neck.
Let’s fast forward 21 years later.
Let’s just say I’m glad that I didn’t get that tattoo.
I recently saw Roger Waters The Wall (that title annoys me because I feel like there should be a colon or a comma or something in there, but there isn’t). It was a nice, enjoyable trip back to my late teenage years, but ultimately made me remember why I grew out of it.
If you aren’t familiar with the famous album The Wall, you should probably check it out. After the album Animals (which was an homage to Animal Farm) was not the success Pink Floyd had hoped for, bassist Roger Waters started to show signs of cracking. During their last tour he spit in a fan’s face for no reason, other than being annoyed. Taking some time off, he came to the band with two separate ideas for albums. The one they chose was The Wall, which touched on the themes of parental loss, creative oppression, drug use, oppressive schooling, and isolation.
The album and subsequent tour were huge commercial and critical hits. The songs were thematically linked and all flowed so well together. During the tour, stage hands and roadies would build a giant wall between the band and the audience, which made Waters happy as it relieved a lot of his anxiety.
Roger Waters The Wall is a concert film detailing his latest tour, inter cut with footage of him on his way to visit his father’s grave for the first time. Waters’s father was killed in WWII and apparently he’s still not over it. I don’t mean to criticize, but come on, dude, it’s time to move on.
The film is interesting. The concert footage is INCREDIBLE. Say what you want about Roger Waters, but the guy knows the cream of the crop in production design. The wall is built during the course of the show, while images and movies are projected. It’s an incredible effect.
The band he’s chosen to replicate Pink Floyd does an outstanding job. Also, Waters’s voice has not changed one bit. He sounds as good as he did in the 70’s. The concert delivers and made me incredibly jealous that I did not experience it in person.
The rest of the movie is incredibly self indulgent. There’s nothing memorable about it. Waters can’t seem to let go of his father’s death and keeps seemingly milking it over and over. I found myself during the film parts counting the seconds until we could get back to the concert. Let’s just say that Roger Waters is really great at making it all about himself.
If you’re a Pink Floyd fan, I would highly recommend seeing this, in a theater if possible. The music is still fantastic and the concert is a complete spectacle. If you’re going into this looking for more, you’ll be disappointed.
I’m glad I never got that Floyd tattoo, by the way.
I’m much happier with my David Bowie tattoo.