Houston Calling

Review: Roger Waters, The Wall live at Toyota Center

November 21st, 2010 · 17 Comments

 

Roger Waters, Live @ Toyoya Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

Photos by David A. Cobb, Houston Calling

Roger Waters
The Wall, live at Toyota Center, Houston
11.20.10

Much has been written about the impetus behind Roger Waters writing Pink Floyd’s The Wall. From the death of his father in WWII, to feelings of alienation and self-doubt, to stardom and the trappings of fame, the album was Waters’ way of coming to terms with his childhood and becoming an adult.

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

From the onset, those in last night’s capacity crowd at Houston’s Toyota Center knew they were in for a show. It began with a “homeless” man shuffling his way through the aisles of the venue’s floor and led into a parade of flag bearers in mock military garb before launching into the spectacularly pyrotechnics-enhanced intro of “In The Flesh” and “The Thin Ice”. Once Waters hit the stage it was apparent this was his moment–his artistic statement–and no matter of legal wrangling and bad blood between his former Pink Floyd bandmates could keep him from his mission.

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

For The Wall‘s lead 1979 single, “Another Brick In The Wall, Part II”, Waters was joined onstage by a group of children, each sporting a shirt that read, “Fear Builds Walls”. It was one of the many tools Waters used throughout the night to pound home the point that The Wall was more than a mere concept album or performance art–it was socio-political commentary, and one that remains as valid today as it was 30 years ago.

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

Waters used the wall, which was built brick-by-brick throughout the concert, to reinforce his point. Scenes of violence, political slogans, and images and information on soldiers killed in action were projected upon the wall in its various states.

The theatrics–an exploding airplane, the crumbling wall, the requisite floating pig, and the projections–never quite overshadowed the music, though some were heard after the show to comment on being forced to stare at a wall instead of being able to watch the band. While understandable, it’s tough to imagine people today still not getting the point of The Wall.

It was The Wall’s moodier moments–notably “One Of My Turns,” “Nobody Home,” and “Vera”–that were most impressive. Waters vocals were strong throughout the two hour-plus concert, and his onstage antics (pretending to try to scale the wall, machine gunning the audience) did little to detract from the overall theme.

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

Waters chose a smattering of hired guns for his 2010-2011 tour, singer Rob Thomas Robbie Wyckoff and guitarists G.E. Smith and Dave Kilminster among them. However, the music of Pink Floyd and The Wall is iconic and was what missing was readily apparent to anyone who’s spent serious time with the album. Like fellow reviewer Pete Vonder Haar wrote in his review for Houston Press‘ Rocks Off music blog:

…The Wall may chiefly be Waters’ baby, but the fact he needed three guitarists and a vocalist to replace Dave Gilmour’s contributions shows just how vital to the whole thing Gilmour was…

While I wholeheartedly agree, it was a relatively small point last night, since fans have had decades to get over the break-up of Pink Floyd and the Houston stop (or “Howston,” as Manhattanite Waters deemed it) was good enough to allow even the most ardent Gilmour fan (uh, me) to ignore it and simply enjoy the show.

Roger Waters’ experiences, insecurities, and talents helped him craft The Wall, and last night’s performance reinforced why his music remains among the most notable in rock history. At the end of the show, Waters commented on the feelings of alienation that led him to pen The Wall and how close he felt to his fans after all this time. “I don’t feel…alienated any longer,” he said. It was good to see how time has healed Waters’ wounds.

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

More photos…

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

Roger Waters, live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

Roger Waters, Live at Toyota Center, Houston, TX 11.20.10

Tags: Music · Reviews

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 HoustonCalling reviews the Roger Waters concert // Nov 21, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    [...] out David’s review and photos from the show. Tags: david cobb, houston, houston calling, pink floyd, roger waters, the [...]

  • 2 vbc3 // Nov 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Nice pics and write-up, but “Rob Thomas”?! Ouch! Poor Dave Wyckoff’s ears are burning right now…

  • 3 RPI // Nov 21, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Very well written, but I hadn’t heard of Rob Thomas joining the show. (It’s actually Robbie Wyckoff.)

    The typo does produce uncomfortable mental images: “Pinkie, babe, you’re so smooth.”

  • 4 richard // Nov 22, 2010 at 2:56 am

    …The Wall may chiefly be Waters’ baby, but the fact he needed three guitarists and a vocalist to replace Dave Gilmour’s contributions shows just how vital to the whole thing Gilmour was…

    Without detracting from Gilmour’s significant contribution, the original wall shows had back up guitarists as well, there is far too much guitar work on that album for one man to complete live. Gilmour has back-up guitarists on his own (and Pink FLoyd) tours as well. There was even one at Live 8

  • 5 David A. Cobb // Nov 22, 2010 at 11:22 am

    You are correct — I appreciate it and have updated the review.

  • 6 Craig // Nov 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

    As a very long Pink fan and one that does relate to the whole Wall story, I have to say that the show was fantastic. Roger was the last remaining member that I had not seen live and it was well worth the wait.
    I ran a gamet of emotions as the show went along. The opening song sent chivers up my spine. Tears were brought when “Bring the Boys Home” was played. Just a fantastic evening.
    I certainly hope there is a DVD of the tour to follow.

  • 7 Carey Akin // Nov 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    One of those “back up” guitar players was also present with Floyd on the first tour and this one. Snowy White.

  • 8 Tiffany Abrego // Nov 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    This show was AMAZING!!! Words cant describe how great this show was.

  • 9 Houston Calling reviews the Roger Waters concert | Forum on Media Player // Nov 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    [...] out David’s review and photos from the [...]

  • 10 Houston Calling reviews the Roger Waters concert // Nov 23, 2010 at 3:37 am

    [...] out David’s review and photos from the [...]

  • 11 Morgan Lloyd Sr. // Dec 3, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Iv’e just attended waters show in L.A,/ and all I’ll say is the sound was disapointing. Next monday I’m going again.

  • 12 SPACE CITY ROCK » Local(-ish) Press Stuff to Check Out // Dec 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    [...] Roger Waters show here back towards the end of last month, culminating with a very cool review of the show itself. Check it out, if you haven’t [...]

  • 13 Dave // Dec 30, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I missed The Wall when it was performed in Rome back in the ealry 80′s (I’m dating myself), this being Roger Waters’ swan song, I told the wife that I’d mortgage the house if I had to. I wouldn’t miss it this time. I wasn’t disappointed…and I still have the house! Excellent Show!

  • 14 william cochran // Feb 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    i have been to hundreds of concerts including pink floyd 4 times, and about everyone who is somebody.it was the best total perfomance i have ever seen. i would have went the next night to dallas if i could have. i feel sorry for anyone that missed it.cant wait for the DVD.

  • 15 Margaret Martinez // Feb 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I just heard on Classic Vinyl (SIRIUS RADIO) that David is going be performing Comfortably Numb just as he had promised Roger Waters at one of the sold out London dates. No -one knows which show it will be. OMG I can’t even imagine how those people are going to feel when DG appears on tp of that stage at whichever shows he performs at. LUCKY THEM!

  • 16 tim p // Mar 11, 2012 at 1:51 am

    going to see the wall in houston tx on my happy bday and i love the wall movie

  • 17 Reminder: Roger Waters performs The Wall in Houston tonight // May 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    [...] you missed the show here in November 2010 (a review of which you can read here), be sure to check this one [...]

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