May 31st, 2011

Squee!

I was actually much closer than these pictures imply but my shitty phone makes things always seem farther away then they actually are.

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The Wall

There's a moment in the second act that explains exactly why this works as well as it does.

Roger Waters, in character as Pink, is alternating between being in a fetal position and standing up and banging on the wall trying to get out. Each time he bangs red flashes that look like blood explode out of the wall where he's hit it.

The fourth or fifth time he gets up and just throws his entire body into it and hits the wall with everything he has. At this point the wall seems to shatter only to reveal another wall behind it.

He then sits back in the fetal position while one of the most famous guitar solos in rock history is played.

I challenge anyone who had ever had mental health problems to not be moved by that moment. We've all had times where we've struggled to get through whatever our personal wall is and think we've finally blown through only to find that we are back where we started.

This is also what makes the climactic moment of the entire stadium chanting "Tear Down The Wall" more powerful than anything I've ever seen in a rock concert. It must be how Red Sox fans feel when their team beats the Yankees in the World Series.

There's no point in reviewing this show from a musical perspective. If you are under 50 years old you know the songs and you either like them or you don't. What matters at this show is how well Roger and company are able to tell Pink's story.

And, the answer is really fucking well.

It's a terrifying show. There's a scene where a goblin type thing seems to leap out of the wall at the audience completely unexpectedly. It's the first time I've heard people scream at a rock concert because of fear instead of just because their favorite song has been played.

The technical effects are astounding. At one point they fly an ultralight airplane from the far side of the stadium into the wall where it bursts into fucking flames which are then put out by the weird Hammer Dudes who look like Nazis.

Some times the wall appears to move into the audience. Other times it seems to move backwards into the stage. You know intellectually that it's a trick of the light, that the wall is where it always is, but your eyes tell you something different.

Eventually Roger finishes a song by taking a very realistic looking and sounding machine gun and shooting it at the crowd while running up and down the aisles.

When he got back on stage the crowd was cheering and he said "Merci les paranoids de Paris. I still want all of you shot."

This is not a show for the faint of heart. Much of it is violent, some of it is pornographic and it always alternates between anxiety, anger and a deep abiding sadness. It's a Broadway show for people who need xanax to walk out of the house.

The highlight, for local French reasons, had to be when the wall displayed an image of a young girl in a burqua being led out of her school by the authorities.

As this happens the wall displays the message "Fear Builds Walls."

Yes, Roger, it certainly does.

Deep Thoughts

The World Health Organization just announced that cell phones cause cancer.

I can not wait to bitch at anti-smoking people about how their second hand cell phone waves are killing me.