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The Wall – Stockholm 2011

I like live performances for a number of reasons, depending a little bit on what kind of music it is and what mood I’m in. The social aspect of being together with lots of people who really like something is quite interesting and perhaps a little bit addictive. The most important factor, however, is listening to good music with good sound. I strongly believe that good music is mostly (but of course not only) the result of familiarity and habit, so attending concerts with bands I really know well is most likely to score high. Thus, previous concerts with Infected Mushroom and Vnv Nation have all been quite enjoyable, to say the least. However, these memories fade when compared with this:

Taking a quick glance at my Last.fm account will reveal that Pink Floyd has been the sole leader ever since I initiated the account more than five years ago, and they would probably have done the same even if the list was started another five years back. Pink Floyd has simply stayed a favourite for a very, very long time. There are many reasons for this, but thought-provoking lyrics, interesting concepts and music I like are all part of it. The studio album The Wall (1979) can be said to epitomise everything I like with Pink Floyd. The album is really one continuous song that suffers badly from being broken up. The general story of human isolation is something everybody can relate to, even though it’s also evident that there is a personal story behind it all. The Wall features amazing concept art (especially when including the film from 1982), something which lends itself beautifully to live performances, posters and t-shirts alike. Check this clip from YouTube for a good example.

So, when learning that Roger Waters, the main creator behind The Wall, had determined to make one last tour around the world with the old album, I asked my father to see what he thought about it (he also likes Pink Floyd). The result was that the whole family went, including my brother and my mother, who aren’t perhaps big Pink Floyd fans, but were still willing to give it  a chance. Thus, we left our home in Linköping and left for Stockholm and the big adventure.

In summary, I think the concert was among the best I’ve ever attended. The visual/auditory effects trumped anything I’ve ever experienced before. Pictures won’t be able to convey this, but I’ll show some pictures anyway:

What made the visual effects so dazzling was the fact that they made use of a large number of projectors, so the background constantly changed, partly using themes from the film, but also presenting entirely new ideas. A physical wall was gradually built up in the first half of the concert and this was ingeniously incorporated into the visual effects (for instance, a virtual wall was projected on the physical wall, meaning that it was possible to create really cool effects which made it look like things happened physically whereas in reality, it was just light).

The music and the content was almost identical to the studio album, which was a good idea. Roger Waters is getting old, but I still think he managed quite okay throughout the concert (it’s not as if I like the album because of the beautiful singing anyway). However, adding a visual layer to the entire show, Waters was able to convey a lot more than he did in the original album. A sequence with aircraft releasing various symbols (dollar signs, crosses, Stars of David, etc.) to bomb and cover the earth with blood was particularly effective. The fight against war, fascism and anything else that might separate people and create isolation was strongly felt, perhaps even more so than in the original album.

This concert will probably remain my best live performance experience for quite some time, simply because it’s difficult to beat in all the different areas I mentioned at the beginning. It is my all-time favourite band, a band I’ve listened to more than any other, it was a beautifully crafted show and I enjoyed it in an atmosphere which only is possible with lots of other people present who think as I do. These conditions will be very hard to recreate, which makes me even more happy that I got to see The Wall live.

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