So, thought you might like to know about a show. It was way more than I expected to see. If you want to find out what’s behind that whole night, you just have to read carefully through these following lines.
It seemed like some kind of Roger Waters’ tour tradition, he always booked a couple of nights in México City’s Palacio de los Deportes whenever he toured his The Wall or Dark Side Of The Moon album shows. Even though this writer is a fan of both albums, to witness one of those shows in a bigger arena had always been in my bucket list. Luckily, the Foro Sol was the home of one of the biggest shows on Earth this last April.
Usually, this is the part when major forces of nature and weird luck pay me a bad time before or during a concert. Oddly enough, this was the first time nothing felt like it could go wrong. Instead of choosing a ticket in the front zone (where everyone is usually on their feet and in front of the stage), I thought an upper seat would be a better idea. Shows like this have to be fully appreciated from far away, in order to perceive all the gadgets, lightning and production in general.
Roger Waters’ Mother (Live from THIS CONCERT! The song starts about half way through but you can hear his in-Spanish intro first if you would like)
Another odd fact for me was that there would be no opening acts and the concert would start exactly at the time printed in the tickets: a first time for many of us. But big acts need no presentation. And this was going to be a mammoth sized event. As I looked below from my seat, the whole Foro Sol was packed. Seats up on the front in squared areas, a huge stand-up zone in the back and kids with their forever-young parents, wearing the classic “The Wall” crossed hammers patch in their sleeves and jackets, omnipresent marijuana smokers (the good kind, the that makes others’ eyes turn as red as if you spent an hour under water with your eyes open inside a pool with too much bleach), two freaking building-high towers and a wall that was as wide as the front side of the arena itself were all laying before my eyes.
It’s such an irony that an album about the alienation of a man’s mind from the world – a personal and intimate human experience – has gotent this far and become a milestone and a must-see for anyone with a little knowledge concerning concert standards. The Wall became more than just an album: it meant the destruction of one of the biggest bands in music history, Pink Floyd. It also transformed, with time, into one of the biggest album in history, a movie, the most ambitious show of its era and an standard for concept albums and rock operas from then on (as well as The Who’s Quadrophenia and Tommy). The live show keeps on evolving with each tour, using state of the art technologies and, such as its subject, being relevant nowadays.
Was all of this true? For years, this writer had heard a lot about some of Roger Waters’ previous concerts, their magnificence, theatricality and such. Personally, I always thought of Waters as a business man, laying in the glories of his earlier career with Pink Floyd, thinking of himself as the main man, the band’s leader, providing the same shows over and over again throughout the years, just for the income. Once again, it can be nice to be so wrong.
Having seen the movie and heard the album, the concert felt as it would not bring any kind of surprise. Is just the whole album played from the beginning ‘til the end, right? Wrong again. Compadres, what I witnessed, was the perfect display and mixture of an epic album, a rock opera, a huge scale show, technology and music. It was as if my very own wall had been instantly torn apart just as In The Flesh marked the beginning of the night and Waters made his triumphant entrance and 50,000 people went crazy and a plane crashed into the enormous wall, all at the same time.
This is it. This is the reason of The Wall never-ending displays around the world’s best concert venues and stadiums: the audience. Many attempts and The Wall’s hybrid have emerged over the past decades. A lot are now part of the conscious mind but failed to achieve the greatness of the mother of all live shows (nice try, Kiss and U2). Why? Too much gimmicks and lousy music don’t work (in Kiss’s case) and expensive tours using an excessive amount of technology but making the once-heartbreaking music lose its initial charm (sorry U2) won’t do the trick either.Roger Water’s Another Brick in the Wall (Live, but not from this concert)
The Wall became a tradition, an unbeatable beast. The perfect hybrid between: writing, sound, music, show and live concert. An obelisk of what a concert can become if the right amount of talent, effort and heart is put into it: brick by brick.
Just as the album and the movie, the live show takes you in a journey. You can witness a record coming to life, as if you are watching a whole different world, with the help of Roger and the biggest wall-shaped and round-shaped screen you’ll ever see. The few seconds after the plane crashed and the fireworks went off, I began to tear a little, just like the baby at the beginning of Thin Ice. Just as a wonderfully acted play, this golden show has its epic moments.
When a bunch of kids from the Marabunta Organization appeared on-stage to sing along the chorus in Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) and screamed at the professor; when Waters dedicated the show to the victims of the war against the drug cartels and the women killed in Juárez; when he sang Mother and the lyrics Mother, should trust the government? And everyone shouted No! The theatricality earned after all these years by Waters is fully displayed during Nobody Home, as a fraction of the walls pops open and shows him sitting and sitting to the audience from a small living room. Not just singing or acting: but performing magnificently. Brick by brick, the wall was built during these performances, non-stop.
What about the rest of Pink Floyd? Though Gilmour and Mason are absent and Wright left us a while ago, they are missed but not in any way indispensable. The wonderful set of musicians provides the rest of the boost needed to keep this show going. If you close your eyes (don’t, you’ll regret it) and pay attention to the music, you won’t notice the difference.
The icing on the cake was the release of the now famous flying pig, which made a pretty long flight around the Foro Sol and landed just at the hungry back zone with standing fans. Needless to say, after it was deflated above them, the pig was chopped into pieces. Comfortable Numb appeared, with its traditional back and forth between 2 voices and one of the most epic solos ever recorded.
A few songs later, at the roar of Tear down the wall!, it finally came down. A night long effort, another mind-tattooed moment in México City’s concert records and the best concert this writer has even been a part of (tied with AC/DC’s 2010 concert in the same venue) was about to end. With the help of fireworks, a long standing ovation, a trumpet and a final acoustic song, Roger Waters and his band said goodbye with the rests of a wall behind their backs and a thankful public in front of them.
As it has been proven for decades, the mother of all concert operas is a hard beast to take down. The public has been always demanding it for the quality, the emotionalism and symbolism The Wall embraces. It will be performed as long as Waters is able to grab his bass and take the show around the globe. It will always evolve into something better every time. Even though you are not a fan of Roger Waters or Pink Floyd, the beauty of The Wall is that it is for any kind of audience.
If there’s anybody out there willing to overtake this colossus, be warned. Pink Floyd set the bar to standards way up high back in the day, and Roger Waters won’t set it lower. Concerning the level of this living and beating live manifestation of music history:
Roger, did it need to be so high?
Jorge A. López Mendicuti | Senior Writer