Musician Roger Waters brings his reinterpretation of Pink Floyd‘s classic album The Wall to Houston’s Toyota Center on Saturday, 11.20.10. The show is sold out, but those who got tickets early enough are undoubtedly in for a spectacle. I was too young to catch The Wall live in its original United States run in early 1980–the band only played a handful of dates–and was generally late to “discovering” Pink Floyd, years after Waters had left the band he helped form in late-60s London.
While my late introduction to the band’s music has led me to become a bigger fan of Pink Floyd guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour‘s music than that of Waters, I respect the fact that Waters’ lyrics and outlook on life were the overarching factor in the image and music that Pink Floyd made throughout the 1970s. For those who are only familiar with the classic rock radio staples, Pink Floyd has a deep catalog of music worth spending time with (start with “Echoes” from Live at Pompeii and the Syd Barrett-era “Arnold Layne”, and then move int0 Animals).
The themes of The Wall–war, longing, and alienation–ring true today, as is apparent in Waters’ reasoning behind his latest tour (besides the fact it is the one album he owns separate from the rest of Pink Floyd). Here’s what Waters had to say:
I recently came across this quote of mine from 22 years ago:
” What it comes down to for me is this: Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?”
I believe this is still a supremely relevant question and the jury is out. There is a lot of commercial clutter on the net, and a lot of propaganda, but I have a sense that just beneath the surface understanding is gaining ground. We just have to keep blogging, keep twittering, keep communicating, keep sharing ideas.
30 Years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old.
It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with it’s concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and ‘isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life.
This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years.
In some quarters, among the chattering classes, there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more ‘humane’ ie, kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another.
In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion, we are after all a very young species.
I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog eat dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of each other.
I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to express my, albeit guarded, optimism, and encourage others to do the same. To quote the great man, ” You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
– Roger Waters, 2010