June 29, 2012
Between February 1980 and August 1981, Pink Floyd gave 31 live performances of The Wall, a masterstroke concept album about fear and alienation. Given the size of the production, which included construction of a massive “brick” wall as the prog-rock band worked through the record in its entirety amid menacing giant puppets and phantasmagoric videos Pink Floyd performed The Wall in just four cities.
In 2010 The Wall went global, thus far hitting dozens of locales as it heads towards its 200th performance.
Most of The Wall sprang from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who made the double album’s live re-creation a phenomenal chapter in the solo career he launched upon leaving Pink Floyd in 1985.
Waters brings The Wall back to Boston on Sunday for an oversized performance at Fenway Park, one of eight ballparks and stadiums he is visiting in North America.
Waters has credited advances in audio and visual gear, both in terms of quality and mobility, for allowing him to carry out this roving revival of The Wall.
As witnessed at the TD Garden when Waters first brought The Wall to Boston for three nights in October 2010, the show is rock spectacle at its finest. Rows of cardboard bricks serve double duty as both a screen for provocative anti-war visuals and a symbol of a rising tyranny.
Originally a personal work, The Wall is now a broader commentary about the terrors wrought by conniving governments and misguided authority, with fresh graphics underscoring these themes alongside classic images of marching hammers and menacing mothers.
The points will be made even more forcefully at Fenway as Waters has again redesigned The Wall to properly fill the vast spaces afforded by ballparks and stadiums.
According to stats supplied by the Waters camp, the wall now can span 500 feet and rise 40 feet, double the size of the wall used for arena production. There will be twice as many video projectors too. New “wall-sized” graphics are in the can, and across the 20,000 square feet of projection surface, expect “enhanced” video of the musicians performing, hopefully making no seat feel too far away
If you’ve been around Fenway any time since Wednesday you may have noticed the biggest architectural undertaking of The Wall construction of a 90 foot high roof designed to protect the production while not casting a shadow across the visuals.
The 68-year-old Waters has not said when he will dispense with The Wall for good, and why should he? He seems to be enjoying this as much as anyone.
Roger Waters’ The Wall Live is at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at Fenway Park.
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Scott McLennan is a music correspondent for the Boston Globe and former entertainment columnist for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. His work as taken him from the Newport Folk Festival to the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival and many musical points in between. Scott also writes about skiing for Hawthorn Publications.
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