Pink Floyd's The Wall is one of the most iconic and lasting works in the rock music lexicon. And its legacy lives on, with the album and the film. More rare is the opportunity to see The Wall performed live in its entirety.
After its release in 1980, Pink Floyd performed the piece 29 times. A decade later, upon the occasion of the Berlin Wall coming down, Roger Waters pulled together a gaggle of musicians to present the opus. Another 20 years later, Waters wanted to do even more, so he put together a touring production that offered up about 120 shows from 2010 to 2011.
This year, Waters has a whole new slew of dates on tap – 69, at last count. Multiple legs of the tour will cover Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and Canada beginning in February and running into mid-July.
The set list boasts The Wall from top to bottom plus new additional tunes not on the original recording – “What Shall We Do Now?” and “The Last Few Bricks.” The bonus cuts were also included in the original live sets, circa 1980-81. They, therefore, made their way onto the live album from that production, Is There Anybody Out There? which was released in 2000.
The Wall – Set One
- "In The Flesh?"
- "The Thin Ice"
- "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 1)"
- "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives"
- "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)"
- "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) Reprise"
- "Goodbye Blue Sky"
- "Empty Spaces"
- "What Shall We Do Now?"
- "Young Lust"
- "One Of My Turns"
- "Don't Leave Me Now"
- "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 3)"
- "The Last Few Bricks"
- "Goodbye Cruel World"
The Wall – Set Two
- "Hey You"
- "Is There Anybody Out There?"
- "Nobody Home"
- "Bring The Boys Back Home"
- "Comfortably Numb"
- "The Show Must Go On"
- "In The Flesh"
- "Run Like Hell"
- "Waiting For The Worms"
- "The Trial"
- "Outside The Wall"
Another change die-hard fans will notice is a key change on three tunes. Because Waters doesn't quite have the voice he once had, "One of My Turns," "Don't Leave Me Now," and "Run Like Hell" have been taken down a key.
One more switch-up finds an acoustic coda – with lyrics about the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes – tacked on to "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)." Waters incorporated that new piece in mid-2011. Each set is approximately 55 minutes long, with a 20-minute intermission in between.
Thematically, Waters has put a slight spin on his approach. In its original form, The Wall was deeply personal in its exploration of loss. Now, it's universal. As one critic noted, “The original album and tour was about isolation. This time around, it was more anti-war, anti-capitalism and anti-poverty than about any kind of psychological issue.”
Waters gets his point across any which way he can, utilizing “images of poverty, soldiers and others who died in conflicts as well as video of planes bombing areas with crosses, dollar signs, Shell Oil logos, and others.”
As for the international jaunts, February 1 marks the beginning of the run in Oceania with Mexico City getting The Wall at the close of April just after Waters hits São Paulo.
Then, May 1 starts the U.S. leg. The May 19 performance of The Wall in Los Angeles is now being hosted at Memorial Coliseum. On the first announcement of dates, the venue was TBA.
That was true, also, for Roger Waters' Boston stop on July 1 which is now slated for Fenway Park, as well as New York where The Wall will now be performed at Yankee Stadium on July 6 and 7, the latter being an added date. Madison Square Garden hosted The Wall's last pass through New York City.
Other cities also had to tack on shows. Now, Edmonton hosts Roger Waters and company on May 28 and 29 while Winnipeg gets The Wall for two nights on May 31 and June 1.
Among the other big stops, The Wall hits Chicago's Wrigley Field on June 8. In Detroit, The Wall will fill Joe Louis Arena on June 5.
The last show of the year, so far, finds Roger Waters in Philadelphia on July 14.
The Wall 2012 Tour Dates 02/01 – Brisbane, Australia – Entertainment Centre
02/02 – Brisbane, Australia – Entertainment Centre
02/04 – Brisbane, Australia – Entertainment Centre
02/07 – Melbourne, Australia – Rod Laver Arena
02/08 – Melbourne, Australia – Rod Laver Arena
02/10 – Melbourne, Australia – Rod Laver Arena
02/11 – Melbourne, Australia – Rod Laver Arena
02/14 – Sydney, Australia – Acer Arena
02/15 – Sydney, Australia – Acer Arena
02/18 – Auckland, New Zealand – Vector Arena
02/20 – Auckland, New Zealand – Vector Arena
02/22 – Auckland, New Zealand – Vector Arena
02/23 – Auckland, New Zealand – Vector Arena
03/02 – Santiago, Chile – Estadio Nacional
03/03 – Santiago, Chile – Estadio Nacional
03/07 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/09 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/10 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/12 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/14 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/15 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/17 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/18 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/20 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – River Plate Football Stadium
03/25 – Porto Alegre, Brazil – Estádio Beira Rio
03/29 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Estadio Olimpico
03/31 – São Paulo, Brazil – Estádio do Morumbi
04/01 – São Paulo, Brazil – Estádio do Morumbi
04/27 – Mexico City, Mexico – Foro De Sol
04/28 – Mexico City, Mexico – Foro De Sol
05/01 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
05/03 – Austin, TX – Frank Erwin Center
05/05 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
05/07 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
05/11 – San Francisco, CA – AT&T Park
05/13 – San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center
05/15 – Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
05/19 – Los Angeles, CA – Memorial Coliseum
05/22 – Portland, OR – Rose Garden
05/24 – Seattle, WA – Key Arena
05/26 – Vancouver, BC – BC Place
05/28 – Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
05/29 – Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
05/31 – Winnipeg, MB – MTS Center
06/01 – Winnipeg, MB – MTS Center
06/03 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
06/05 – Detroit, MI – Joe Louis Arena
06/06 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena
06/08 – Chicago, IL – Wrigley Field
06/10 – Louisville, KY – KFC Center
06/11 – Indianapolis, IN – Conseco Fieldhouse
06/13 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
06/15 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BankAtlantic Center
06/16 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center
06/19 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
06/21 – Buffalo, NY – First Niagara Center
06/23 – Toronto, ON – Rogers Centre
06/25 – Ottawa, ON – Scotiabank Place
06/26 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
06/28 – Albany, NY – Times Union Center
06/29 – Hartford, CT – XL Center
07/01 – Boston, MA – Fenway Park
07/03 – Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
07/06 – New York, NY – Yankee Stadium
07/07 – New York, NY – Yankee Stadium
07/09 – Raleigh, NC – RBC Center
07/10 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Arena
07/12 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
07/14 – Philadelphia, PA – Citzens Bank Park
Taking a show like The Wall on the road is a huge undertaking. Time and again, it has been cited as “one of the most ambitious and complex rock shows ever staged.” Not only are there a dozen musicians on stage, but video screens and, of course, the 35' x 240' wall itself that gets built up and torn down during every performance.
With all of the pyrotechnics, animations, and other effects, it's a full-body experience. Some estimates put production costs at around $1 million per show, and that's after a rumored $10 million initial investment.
Tour director Andrew Zweck observed, “There are plenty of artists touring with 25 trucks of equipment and doing their ‘froth and bubble’ shows, but nobody’s doing a production with such intensity, depth and integrity.”
With so many moving parts – literally and figuratively – Mark Fisher, the guy who designed the production, noted, “Everyone said that a show like this could never be toured. ... The technology has changed beyond measure.
“Back then being able to move something this big from town to town was way beyond us. There were only individual promoters, not companies that arranged whole tours. We owned our own lighting equipment and took it with us because there were no companies that rented it. A complete industry has now emerged.”
He added, “It’s amusing to think we did the same show 30 years ago without all of this complex automation. ... Everything is completely new... except the artist! Whilst the concept and machinery are replicated, the control is the big difference.”
The Wall Musicians
- Roger Waters – bass, lead vocals, acoustic guitar, trumpet
- G. E. Smith – guitar, bass, mandolin
- Snowy White – guitar
- Graham Broad – drums, percussion, ukelele
- Dave Kilminster – guitar, banjo
- Jon Carin – keyboards, guitar, lap steel guitar
- Harry Waters – hammond organ, keyboards, accordion
- Robbie Wyckoff – lead vocals
- Jon Joyce – backing vocals
- Kipp Lennon – backing vocals
- Mark Lennon – backing vocals
- Pat Lennon – backing vocals
But all of the effort is worth it, according to anyone who has seen The Wall. One reviewer who saw a 2011 show in London wrote, “It's almost impossible not to be impressed with this show purely as a sensory experience: the animations look incredible and the sound effects whirl around the huge auditorium.
“More surprising is how Waters, always the most uncomfortable of rock stars, has flourished into a performer. He's genuinely chilling as a fascist demagogue ... Moreover, he seems to be enjoying himself, encouraging the audience to clap along. ... They happily do his bidding.