Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Brick in The Wall

Getting the chance to write about Roger Daltrey last fall and falling in love with Tommy, whet my appetite for classic rock Rogers. I was thrilled to get to write both a preview and review of Roger Waters' performance of The Wall at the Rose Garden for The Oregonian.

The preview presented a challenge. Unlike most people in my generation, my parents did not listen to classic rock. So I never heard The Wall until I was a teenager, and by then I was too into punk and not enough into pot to care.

So when it came time to write this piece, I listened to The Wall over and over again and discovered, that unlike Tommy, I didn't love it. I watched the movie, but still felt like I didn't get it. Why was it so long? Why all the funny voices?

 Finally, after talking to a couple of writer friends who are big Pink Floyd buffs, I realized the history of the album was the most interesting thing to me. So I researched and wrote an essay that kind of felt like a college paper. It was fun! 

The day of the show, I was wondering which Roger would win out--Daltrey or Waters.

Poor Daltrey never stood a chance. Waters put on the best show I've ever seen.

I think The Wall wasn't meant to be a movie or an album. It was meant to be a massive live production. I felt it. I felt it so much that afterward, another journalist I ran into and our friends didn't want to leave the building. We dreaded going out into the world where people didn't see what we just saw. As I walked back downtown, I ran into someone I knew. I told her I'd just seen the best show ever.

"Oh cool. Did you get new glasses?" she asked.

Image: Waters performs "Mother" in front of footage of himself performing it 30 years ago.


  1. I grew up with The Wall on Top 40 radio. Of course the anthem was a hit that I had memorized as a child, without understanding what it meant... but as a university student, seeing The Wall for the first time, I was devastated. After viewing the movie, I felt all was futile, the machine would crush us, the echoes of WWII seen through Nazi bombing of London were perversely immitated by emerging nationalist/racist movements in England itself. All I could do is hear the echo "why... why... why..." as sleep and all its succor stayed tragicly at bay until the first rays of morning...

  2. Heavy. That's sort of how Bad Religion's Suffer affected me, only with an undertone of hope...