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Pink Floyd - The Wall

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Red and black hammers marching against a red sky.

Pink Floyd became a household name when their eighth album Dark Side of the Moon was released in 1973; two albums and six years later this album was still charting high. Since that album the band's bassist, Roger Waters, had taken full control of lyrics and was assuming more and more control of the musical side of things too. On the tour of their tenth album, Animals, something happened and Waters had a sudden vision of a dramatic concept to stage a rock show; with it came the concept for the music for their 11th album from 1979.

The Concept: A Rock Opera

Most of the band's members were not fond of huge stadium concerts, the acoustics were clearly lost and there was no sense of relationship between the band and the audience - sadly the popularity of their music made huge open air performances unavoidable. While touring for the Animals album, Waters' anger and disillusionment with performances reached a head in Montreal, Canada. A crazed adolescent fan clawed his way out of the human cattle pen towards the stage and Waters replied, in a fit of rage, by spitting in his face. Instantly reproaching himself, Waters contemplated the relationship between the band and audience and was not happy with the results. He then came up with the idea of building a wall during a show to separate the two and give greater weight back to the music.

Roger presented the band with two demos, one would later become The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (a solo work) the other was two albums soon to become The Wall. The album, on two vinyl discs, was produced so that all the songs, bar 'Comfortably Numb', were mixed into the previous or following song. Incidentally, during the making of the album Roger Waters become frustrated with keyboardist Richard Wright as he was becoming less creative due to the pressures of his divorce. Because of this much of the synthesized music and organs on the album are played by Freddie Mandall and co-producer Bob Ezrin. Waters called a meeting of the band, giving them an ultimatum to choose between Wright or Waters and his album so far; the band were forced to fire Rick Wright.

Since 1973, Floyd albums had always been concept albums but with their 1979 piece they took it one step further to a rock opera; that is to say they made an album which followed a narrative through the lyrics - like The Who's Tommy or the more modern A Grand Don't Come For Free by The Streets1.

The Wall follows the life of Pink, born into a Britain at war. He loses his father to the conflict and finds his mother taking on both parental roles, while becoming overbearing due to a fear of being alone. He is picked on at school, but seems to be heading towards success when he leaves as a musician, travelling to the United States for fame. Soon he finds his wife is having an affair and this tips him over the edge as he builds a wall to protect himself from the evils of the world. Inside the wall he has various hallucinations and memories, a doctor tries to revive him to no avail. Mr. Floyd soon realises what he has become and puts himself on trial, the result of which is to have the wall torn down and have himself exposed to the outside world.

Much of the album is largely exorcising Waters' own demons, such as the obsession and indictment of war, but the elements of insanity also relate to their previous lead singer, Syd Barret, who had experienced mental illness through overusage of LSD.

Disc 1 Side A

'In The Flesh?' - 3:19

The album starts mid-sentence with a voice saying '[isn't this where w]e came in?'2 that trails off into a mellow accordion solo. Just as you're approaching your stereo to turn up the volume, as it's so quiet, a violently loud guitar chord and drum beat will deafen you, this is repeated before it begins a sinister tune. The guitar takes centre stage while the military-style drums start to produce a rhythm, this soon hits a climax as all the instruments stop and Waters sings his intro with harmonising backing vocals. After the verse the instruments start again, building into a crescendo, Waters shouts 'Action!' and carries on shouting, almost indecipherably due to the loud instruments which end on a frenzied drum solo that is taken over by the sound of a plane speeding overhead. As it becomes almost unbearably loud the plane sound effect subsides and a baby cries.

This song is a prelude to the story; with only six lines at its disposal it seems to accuse the listener of wanting to see a show. The listener is supposed to be confused and not seeing what he expected, but is assured that; to find out what is behind Pink's 'cold eyes, you'll just have to claw your way through this disguise.'

'The Thin Ice' - 2:29

The sound of a crying baby continues before a piano gently enters driving the song. Gilmour's voice sings harmoniously as a single voice of a loving, caring parent before Waters takes over with a more sinister feel; after this a louder guitar solo kicks in for the remainder of the song which soon ends conventionally with all the instruments calming down and echoing off into the next song.

Pink is assured, gently, that both his mother and father love him dearly, but not to trust the warm sea or the blue sky as the world cannot always be trusted. The subtle signs of doubt are soon abandoned as Pink is told frankly to be cautious of the 'thin ice of modern life', especially if he is carrying silent reproach, pain and fear as they will cause him to slip out of his depth.

'Another Brick in The Wall (Part I)' - 3:10

The echo of instruments from the previous song soon turns into a calm and calculated repetition of a few guitar notes, after each line of vocals the guitar becomes more erratic. This builds up as the song goes on, then resumes to calm, but still alternating the notes played. A sound effect of a brash Scottish man, soon to be revealed as School Master, is heard whistling and calling then later the sound of a large group of children playing is heard. The guitar rhythm carries on to the next song.

The first of the bricks in Pink's wall appears in a very short song, lyrically. Simply, the song is Waters pining for the father that has now flown overseas to fight in World War II and has left nothing more than a picture and a memory.

'The Happiest Days of Our Lives' - 1:50

The sound of the controlled guitar is soon replaced by a building fast noise like a helicopter. The brash, Scottish man calls out 'you, yes you! Stand still laddie!' after which a guitar and drum strike together. The guitar makes a few repetitive noises as in the previous song but the drum joins in a few times before a much faster rhythm is achieved. Vocals start with lyrics about teachers hurting the children and there is the noise of someone being spanked and an 'oof!', also heard is the maniacal laughter of School Master. The next verse's opening lyrics are echoed as Water's voices are filled with more passion and emotion. After the short verse, backing vocals harmonise powerfully together becoming more overwhelming until a scream is heard half way between this song and the next.

The prelude to their famous 'Another Brick In The Wall' single, this song is Waters angrily recollecting his time at school when 'certain teachers would hurt the children in anyway they could'. He also gibes that the teachers' punishments were part of a vicious, perpetual cycle that reflected the punishments dealt to them at home by their 'fat and psychopathic wives.'

'Another Brick in The Wall (Part II)' - 3:59

The scream of the previous song is carried on but abruptly stops for the famous steady guitar and drum beat of this well known song. Gilmour and Waters immediately sing with combined vocals for the first verse. There is no gap between the first and second verse, which is sung by the choir. These are followed by a rather famous guitar solo which is soon phased out and all that remains is a very quiet drum beat as sound effects are layered of the School Master screaming at the children to stand still, eat their meat before their pudding and the familiar sound of a busy playground of children. This is also soon eclipsed by a telephone ringing as the track ends. The famous song, released by the band3 and featuring the Islington Green School Choir who, under the Copyright Laws of 1996, were eligible for royalties that were not contractually agreed to at the time. After meeting on members of the choir took legal action and gained £500 each. In the 1980s this song was adopted by black students during the Elsie's River rising as a protest against a biased curriculum and educational propaganda. Though the song has been banned in some countries as a protest song, the double negative in the repeated line 'we don't need no education' alludes to anger at a bad education, rather than formal teaching altogether.

The second part of the 'Another Brick In The Wall' trilogy continues on the theme of the previous song. The nihilistic anthem against education, and how it's a means of propaganda and indoctrination by the government, conveys Pink's feelings of isolation and non-conformity. The final line 'you're just another brick in the wall' keeps with the theme that the teachers helped build Pink's wall but also have a double meaning that the children who try to fit in all become unrecognisable bricks of a wall.

'Mother' - 5:33

The telephone ringing of the last track ends and this track starts with a sigh of relief, either to be away from school or to be glad the phone has stopped ringing. After the breath an acoustic guitar kicks in with a relaxed rhythm and Roger Waters' soothing voice. As the verse continues the keyboards add a backing ambience to the track and soon enough David Gilmour has taken the place of vocals, singing as Mother. After this chorus the guitars become electric and percussion takes the place of keyboards but as Waters sings again the acoustic comes back into play with a more overstated percussion. Gilmour once again takes on the chorus with the aid of only a few piano keys in the background, Waters, though, has the final line.

A Freudians field day could be one way of describing this song. Having lost his father in the war, Pink turns to his mother for both maternal and paternal guidance. She, in return, protects him from any form of harm and fills him with a certain set of neuroses. In the song Waters, as Pink, asks her for reassurance on his fears about the nuclear bombs, his music, the government, war and women. Being an overbearing mother afraid of loneliness (and not wanting to hurt her child) Mother, voiced by Gilmour, reassures her son that she will build a wall to protect him and will vet all his girlfriends so that they are up to her standard - a scary relationship indeed.

Disc 1 Side B

'Goodbye Blue Sky' - 2:47

The sound of birds twittering in the trees signals the start of this sweet ditty with a dark message; Pink's child-voice points out 'look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky.' Instantly an acoustic guitar plays with sinister synthesized music in the background. Gilmour's harmonic voice sings a short verse, repeating the first word of the lines. The track ends leaving the guitar to play out the song. The sound of trains and a woman on the public address system replaces it as the music moves into the next track.

This song almost acts as a quick reminder of the first side of the vinyl. An older Pink recollects the fear he had as a child running into bomb shelters during the blitz; the listener is reminded of his vanished father and his overbearing mother. The use of a voice is an attempt to revolt people against war by contrasting something of anger and destruction with the innocent and vulnerable child.

'Empty Spaces' - 2:08

This track starts with a slow, dark and murky synthesized sound and a train in motion until a guitar layers over it, then over that is a message backwards4 celebrating finding the hidden message. Waters voice begins to sing slowly and mournfully, but the song ends abruptly with a yell that seeps into the next track.

The lyrics are very short at four lines. Pink offers a plea to his wife over the lack of communication in their marriage and warns that if they do not stay close he could complete the wall.

'Young Lust' - 3:31

This track was written by Waters and Gilmour. The roar works its way into the beginning of this song as Gilmour sings a more standard type of song with a punk style guitar and backing drums. The end of the song sees the music fade, but continue, as an operator speaks to Pink, though naturally he isn't heard speaking.

Giving up on his wife, Pink sees himself as a 'stranger in this town' in America and looks for a good time with a thrill-seeking woman. Hypocritically he seems angry to discover that his wife his having an affair. The operator conversation at the end of the song reveals that a man is answering the phone at his home and after the name Mr. Floyd is mentioned he abruptly hangs up. Perhaps this scene is meant to have taken place in between 'Empty Spaces' and 'Young Lust' but the way these two are presented, with the yell in the middle, makes that impossible. Originally another song, 'What Shall We Do No?' was in between them but for space limitations it was taken off.

'One of My Turns' - 3:36

The dialling tone of the phone is heard, then a coquettish woman starts speaking. After her final line Waters abruptly starts singing. From the speaking through to the singing a low, continuous synthesized sound is the only music heard until the second verse. This sees Waters yelling in fury and the drums and guitars kick in finally reaching a climax during the bridge and then relaxing for the final verse. Both instruments and vocals trail off towards the end, a hopeless singing note kept until the next song.

Angered at his wife's adultery, the phone is abruptly put down after the last track. Pink finds a seductive woman to sleep with who is easily impressed by money. Her flirtatious questions about bathing and her amazement at his huge apartment and plethora of guitars shows her to be nothing meaningful for him. The song itself is about how the relationship, which one is not specific, is growing less fun and more stale. Half way through the tempo and volume are picked up as Pink turns psychopathic and wields an axe, but he is confused why she ran away.

'Don't Leave Me Now' - 4:16

This gentle, depressing song sees Waters begin singing with the aid of a piano and reverbed synthesizer. Soon a small guitar solo kicks in and Gilmour sings the final line as the guitar note trails off and the noise of TVs being turned on is heard.

Sad and on his own, Pink desperately tries to stay in a relationship with anybody he can, offering flowers, unable to face the 'end of the road.' His nasty side comes around soon enough though when he admits his reason for needing her is 'to put through a shredder' and 'beat to a pulp.' The loneliness is reflected in the reverb of the synthesizer.

'Another Brick in The Wall (Part III)' - 1:14

The noise of TVs continues but are somewhat hidden by the sound of something being smashed to pieces; possibly the TVs! A guitar quickly cuts in and, rather than the slow drone of the first part or lively anthem of the second, it is savage and almost painful. The song ends soon after the lyrics do with a piano sound tinkling and continuing into the final part outside the wall.

The final part of the trilogy sees Pink realising he has no friends and Waters sings out bitterly, refuting the notion that he should need arms around him or drugs to calm him. He has 'seen the writing on the wall' and realises that he has no place in life as the next song firmly captures. He is convinced that 'you were all just bricks in the wall' and that he is not to blame. This is the height of his arrogance that has built up through the previous tracks.

'Goodbye Cruel World' - 1:14

The fast piano tinkling is layered over, then slowly drops under, the sound of two low keys being repeated a myriad of times. Waters soon starts singing with a lack of hope in his voice; it seems to be completely hollow. On the last word, 'goodbye', the song and the side abruptly drops in sound then finishes within a second.

Reaching the height of his pain, and with enough bricks in place, Pink commits a metaphorical suicide. He has now completely bricked himself inside the wall and prepares to lead a life of now-welcome isolation.

Disc 2 Side A

'Hey You' - 4:41

A medium paced acoustic guitar opens the second side with a sense of travel and walking. For the first time the bass makes an obvious contribution before being replaced by the keyboards. Gilmour's vocals are the happy beginning of the song; Waters takes over the more sinister and foreboding second half of singing. The drums kick in after the first verse and later on an intensely loud guitar solo breaks in before Waters' part. The last line is echoed out into the next song.

Despite Pink's welcoming of solitude as the previous disc closed, he now seems to be looking for people. Gilmour sings a hopeful and lively question to anyone listening, but by the time Waters kicks in it is realised that 'no matter how he tried he could not break free' of the wall Pink had encased himself in. The song's bridge makes first reference to 'the worms', which are all the evil things in the real world that made Pink build his wall. This theme is picked up a lot later on. Waters is also angry at conformity and is violent, a return to form from Pink; the last echoed line is 'together we stand, divided we fall.'

'Is There Anybody Out There?' - 2:40

A simple, yet eerie song that starts with a television5 being turned on. The sound of the programme is met with a growing, ambient noise made by the synthesizer. Quickly the lyrics start, which are simply the title repeated four times by Roger. After this an emotionally evocative acoustic guitar continues for the majority of the song which ends to the sound of a rushing sea.

Once again Pink has reconsidered the idea of isolating himself. Feeling lonely, he calls for anyone else who can hear him. The repetition of the lyrics implies not only Pink's desperation for human contact but also the fact that there is nobody out there to listen to him.

'Nobody Home' - 3:24

The noise of a TV or radio broadcast is drowned out by a horse's whinny, which Pink yells at. He then shouts out the opening line of the song. This song is very conventional in terms of layout compared to the other tracks on the album and is simply, yet emotionally, sung by Waters with a piano and occasional synthesized sounds for ambience. The last verse contains only two lines, unlike the others which contain nine, making the song seem to stop halfway with the signs of apathy.

Locked inside his own world, Pink seems ever more desperate to reconnect with the outside world. This song is the sign of a famous rocker coming of age; complete with the 'obligatory Hendrix perm', a little black book for his lyrics and the signs of drug addiction6. All of these add up to a catatonic, depressed and isolated Pink; constantly referring to nobody being home, it is ambiguous whether he means his wife or himself.

'Vera' - 1:33

A very short song that starts with more television sound clips; this time of guns being fired and a bomb dropping then exploding before Waters' vocals start promptly. Again the piano takes centre stage musically, while violins add to the emotion of the song. This is built on by an underplayed acoustic guitar that is only noticeable at the end as it carries the song into the next track.

A short reminder of Vera Lynn, the woman who reassured everybody in the war that they would 'meet again, some sunny day.' Pink, however, never met up again with his dad and by now the 'blue skies [that] drive the dark clouds away' are all but gone. Once again the time of past and present are confused inside Pink's walls and his own world.

'Bring The Boys Back Home' - 1:27

Military drums build up over the wailing violins of the last track; suddenly a barrage of noise strikes in with Waters singing the title of the song and not much else. As the drums fade away sound clips from throughout the album are played over and over, becoming louder and more confusing. The School Master's 'Go on do it again', the telephone ringing, a new knocking and a voice saying 'Time to go'. The seductive young girl's 'Are you feeling okay?', the telephone operator's 'There's a man answering' swell with laughing throughout. Then, suddenly, Pink's inner psyche asks 'Is there anybody out there?'

This song acts as a perverse Deus Ex Machina for the album. In theatrical terms this would be the point where everything becomes clear for Pink and the plays ends well. For a Floydian tragedy though, there is no such ending; this song continues Pink's escape into the past and criticises war for leaving children abandoned. The idea that people are being abandoned is something Pink is guilty of and subsequently he is snapped back into reality after recollecting the various moments in the past that caused his isolation. His manager saying 'Time to go', to a music concert, reminds him of the present that he cannot totally escape.

'Comfortably Numb' - 6:21

This track was written by Gilmour and Waters. One of Pink Floyd's most prolific songs, where Waters sidestepped, mostly, to let way for Gilmour to shine - though Waters still sings the verses. A loud guitar crashes in but remains soothing throughout, an understated guitar and various synthesized noises add to the relaxed, but overwhelming, sound of the track while the ethereal voices and sweeping lyrics remain haunting. This song is famous for, among other things, possibly two of the best electric guitar solos ever to grace a record. This is the only song of the album to stand completely on its own.

In 2004, the band Scissor Sisters covered the song in a rock-disco style on their self-titled album debut; they then released it as a single that reached number 10 in the UK charts. The band cites David Gilmour as one of their most key influences. Though the entirely falsetto arrangement is very different from the original and has irked some Floyd fans; both Gilmour and Mason have expressed liking for the band, while Waters sent a letter of congratulations and approval of the cover.

After the sound of Pink's manager banging at the door, he has managed to break in only to find his prodigy in a state of complete mental fragility. The opening lyric 'Hello, is there anybody in there?' counter pins the lyric that closed the last song and achieves the idea that somebody outside Pink is asking the same question he has been asking to the world. This person, presumably a doctor, tries to discover the root of the problem and ends up administering an injection to 'keep you going through the show' but Pink remains 'comfortably numb' - a state which presumably means a complete apathy with the world.

Disc 2 Side B

'The Show Must Go On' - 1:36

Harmonising voices and gentle drums open the second side while Gilmour sings Pink's point of view. The song ends with an elongated vocal note, deciding that 'The show must go on', which aurally contrasts well with the instant opening of the next track.

In a moment of mental clarity Pink realises where he is and panics, not wanting to perform at the show; though there are obvious metaphors for the rock concert equating to life itself as well. Dealing again with the themes of masks and disguises, Pink has to decide whether he will mask himself to what his fans know him as, or show them his new embittered and hateful persona.

'In The Flesh' - 4:16

This is a reprise of the opening track. The angry voice of Waters calls for the show to begin and the same menacing drum beats and guitar sounds play. This time though, they end on harmonised vocals and a gentle acoustic guitar before the opening lyrics. The song still has the same angry ending: a cacophony of drum hits, synthesized sounds and deep guitar strums.

Pink unwillingly takes the stage to his cheering fans who idolise him like the crazed Canadian adolescent idolised Pink Floyd7. Once on the stage Pink starts shouting offensive abuse:

Are there any queers in the theatre tonight?...That one looks Jewish and that one's a coon...

To many it might seem odd that he is attacking values he once held, but very simply Waters is expressing the idea of psychoanalysts; that obsession leads to assimilation. Because Pink cannot stop thinking about all that he hates, that is all he knows and what he becomes - the hateful School Master despotically picking on the minorities. Mother instilling fear and paranoia; as well as being against the anarchic Another Brick In the Wall (Part II), trying to order his fans into the military and weeding out the weaklings.

'Run Like Hell' - 4:23

This track was written by Gilmour and Waters. Another conventional song with a powerful guitar and consistent, almost transient, drum beat throughout. Also present are backing vocals helping to repeat the most important words and almost convey a military mantra. The song ends with some cheering that moves into the next track.

Waters sings with the voice of Pink, rallying his fans against all that he now hates. He has become a Fascist and shows this by warning people to disguise themselves to become like him or face the wrath of his fans. Ordering people to 'Run all day and run all night' it is clear he is instilling fear into what he once was and has now turned full circle on himself; somewhat conveying a futile circle of life.

'Waiting For The Worms' - 3:58

The chants of the last song lead onto a German call of 'Einz, zwei, drei, come on.' Backing vocals sing throughout this track and start it until Gilmour takes over, swapping all the time with Waters who sings predominantly on the track. Military drumming is used again as well as synthesized sounds - there is also a sound clip of a military meeting commencing to 'follow the worms' and Pink's orders. The last minute of the track builds with chanting again and an elongated guitar chord. The leader of the military meeting joins in with drums before it hits a crescendo on the simple word 'Stop!' being yelled before the next track begins.

The German counting gives obvious allusions to Hitler's Nazi Party, the most famous dictator of modern times and certainly a powerful image. However, the harmony before the main song starts shows signs of a reasonable (as well as splintered personality) Pink who is still disillusioned with the world and repeating the line of the first disc's last track. Pink has found 'perfect isolation' in a concrete bunker and seems to have hidden himself away from the world again; this time in fear of what he has done rather than hatred and neuroses of what is out there. Still though, he shouts orders to his troops in a fit of ethnic cleansing against the 'the queers and the coons and the reds and the Jews.' The crescendo of sound mirrors the emotion building and at the last minute Pink realises what he has done is all wrong and evil.

'Stop' - 0:30

Taking its title from the last word of the previous song, a quiet piano replaces the crescendo of noise and Waters simply sings in fear of what he has done. Occasional words and phrases are echoed and the piano trails off as the song closes.

In an instant the new guise of Pink in Fascist power is over as he realises that what he has created is the very thing he used to fear. He takes off his uniform, leaves his show and puts himself in a mental cell; waiting to find out if he has 'been guilty all this time'.

'The Trial' - 5:19

This track was written by Waters and Bob Ezrin. The sound of locks being tinkered with and steps being taken into a court room accompany a keyboard that sounds formal and is not overstated, giving a clear rhythm to the speech structure of the song. A gavel thuds before Waters sings the part of prosecution lawyer, Pink, School Master, Mother and Wife, then finally (in a very sinister and warped voice) the judge passing sentence. The jury of backing vocals joins in with the sentence and the sound of a wall crashing down is heard.

Pink is concerned about what he has used his stardom for, and even more worried that perhaps the reason for the wall being built was his own weakness rather than everybody else's evil doings. The judge is humorously referred to as 'The worm your honour' and the School Master is called by the prosecution. Both Mother and Wife appear as witnesses too, but are not called by name; these are of course the three major worms in Pink's life. Put on trial for 'showing feelings of an almost human nature', the School Master claims he could have hammered him into shape if he was not tied by the 'bleeding hearts and artists'. His wife merely shouts abuse at him and accuses him of breaking up homes, then asks for five minutes alone with him while his Mother begs for the Judge to let her take Pink home and protect him once more. The Judge, not needing the jury to retire, sentences Pink 'to be exposed before your peers' and calls for the wall to be pulled down.

'Outside The Wall' - 1:43

An accordion plays gently as the album reaches its steady resolution after the anti-climax. Waters sings along with backing vocalists, who also follow the same lyrics but in slightly different timing to him. The song ends with the first part of the sentence that was completed in the first song, 'isn't this where w[e came in?]'

Waters sings from an authorial voice, talking about the 'ones who really love you' around outside the wall; perhaps a message of hope for anyone feeling truly alone. Now that Pink's wall has been knocked down he can assume a normal life and it seems that people have gathered around to help him rehabilitate, some with more success than others. The message 'isn't this where we came in?' though, hints that the cycle is perpetual and some will use Pink's bricks to start their own wall.

The Tour

The album was actually based around the idea of the concert and thus the tour was a huge affair. In fact it was so grand an effort that all of the Pink Floyd members lost money - except Rick Wright who was fired during the album and thus was on a paid income8. The show is a defining moment in rock history and began the tradition of people sitting down in Floyd concerts, there were tours in both 1980 and 1981 and in 2000 the live album was released as Is There Anybody Out There?

As well as the four members of the band there was also Pink's 'surrogate band' who opened the concert wearing masks of the real band and played as a backing band throughout. During the first half a large wall was being built by stage hands whilst three huge puppets (the largest 25 feet in length) made their way around the arena: School Master, Mother and Wife. Also, during the track 'Run Like Hell', a large pig dashed around madly. The concert was the album in its entirety with the only additions being a spoken introduction to 'In The Flesh?'9, a track called 'The Last Few Bricks' which was merely a way of letting the last few bricks be put on the wall while the band played variations of the album's music and a track called 'What Shall We Do Now?' that couldn't fit on the album after 'Empty Spaces'. In the second half projections of animations by Gerald Scarfe were seen on the wall; also a carved section of the wall was opened up and revealed a living room for the first part of the second album. For 'Comfortably Numb' Gilmour was raised to the top of the wall with a light shining into him, projecting his silhouette around the arena.

The Film

In 1982 Roger Waters worked to make the music into a movie with Bob Geldof in the lead role. Some of the music was rearranged and the addition of 'When The Tigers Broke Free', in two parts, and 'What Shall We Do Now?', as well as Geldof singing both 'In The Flesh' tracks and 'Stop' are notable differences. The film was a mixture of live action, animations and dream sequences - it did not feature much dialogue. It was not received well commercially but such an artistic experiment was probably never meant to. If nothing else it certainly helped to complete the wall.

The Real Wall

In a fit of artistic fervour, Roger Waters once said that he would not tour with The Wall until after 'the real wall' had been knocked down; by this he meant the remnant of the Iron Curtain, The Berlin Wall. In 1989, something that many people had assumed to be impossible happened: East Germany won its liberty from the USSR and Germany was reunified after 44 years of division. Roger Waters had a promise to keep. Of course by this time Waters had long since cut his ties with the rest of Floyd and bitterly denounced their sans Waters album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Unbeknownst to fans at the time, Waters had been approached just months earlier by Live Aid promoter, Mike Worwood to stage the album in order to publicise the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief - a trust fund for victims of war. The 72 year old British activist, Leonard Cheshire, who had founded the trust and had asked Worwood to contact Waters. They ended up introducing a show of gargantuan proportions in Potsdamer Platz - the old area of no-man's land between both factions of Germany. Before the show a speedy check had to be made over the land that had not been touched for decades; nervous of mines, the sweep turned up a slew of munitions and an unknown Nazi SS Bunker.

On July 21, 1990, the show was performed to over 200,000 in concert and over 100 million around the world. The performance had a cast of over 100, including Bryan Adams, Sinead O'Connor, Van Morrison, Jerry Hall and Tim Curry. Also there was the Marching Band of the Combined Soviet Forces and the East German symphony orchestra as well as 2,500 bricks to help tell the story of Pink the rock star. The show played the album version, rather than the live version, but replaced 'Outside The Wall' with 'The Tide is Turning (After Live Aid)', a song from Waters' solo album Radio KAOS. The performance was released to buy in September of the same year and is also available on DVD.

1Though this is technically a rap opera rather than a rock opera.2The parts in square brackets appear at the end of the album, but are put here so that the sentence makes sense.3The only song to be released in the UK as a single from this album, giving them their only number one in their homeland. This was despite 'Comfortably Numb' (Disc 2 Track 6) being played regularly on radio stations following its release in the US and Japan.4It wasn't just Motley Crue that did it.5Clearly he didn't smash them all up!6'Nicotine stains' from cigarettes; 'silver spoon on a chain' for freebasing cocaine and 'swollen hand blues', a sign of heroine addiction.7The band, not the character - confusing I know but its all parallels.8In fact, after the next album, which many regard as Floyd's worst, he rejoined so really he did have the last laugh.9Which was later emulated for In The Flesh, but with distorted sounds.

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