When it comes to things that are near and dear to my heart, very few are as near and dear as Pink Floyd’s legendary album The Wall. For a creative person who had some experiences that echo that of Roger Waters in his youth, I’ve always viewed The Wall as more than just an album, but an inside look at what being a creative person is and how, if taken to extremes, certain personality disorders can manifest themselves. It is a very personal album that, over the years as Roger Waters has performed it as a solo musician, has taken on a more political tone and has become a more broad work of art.
At this point I’ve driven hundreds of miles and paid hundreds of dollars to see Roger Waters’ production of The Wall twice now and count them as two of my favorite concert experiences. If you’ve not seen The Wall, the personal message is still there, but one of the overwhelming messages is about freedom and overcoming oppression in all forms. The concert begins with the unmistakable chants of “I’m Spartacus!” from the 1960 historical drama before Roger Waters dressed like a homeless man pushing a cart through the audience tosses a dummy on stage in front of a stand holding his “fascist” gear. “Outside of the Wall” plays before the unmistakable beginning to “In the Flesh?” kicks in and Waters climbs up on stage.
Throughout the performance there is a giant wall built up and images of soldiers who fell in wars, civilians murdered during wars and other anti-war, anti-oppression imagery is used. No one is spared from this, as there are even images poking at our overly-consumerist culture by the way of mimicking Apple ads. It is safe to say that Roger Waters cares about these things and cares about freedom and lack of oppression. I mean, this is a guy that to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall staged a huge, free, all-star performance of The Wall in Germany.
Someone in Belgium seemed to miss the message that is clear to just about everyone else in the world, though, as they saw Waters in a long, Nazi-like trenchcoat firing off a prop machine gun at the audience while an inflatable pig flew over the crowd covered in different political and ideological symbols during “In the Flesh” later on in the show. The Anti Defamation League has come out with a statement saying that it was clear that this was not anti-semitic at all and that Waters has been using the same prop for years without incident.