Music fans take note: Pink Floyd's Roger Waters comes to Boston

Roger Waters performing live in 2006
Roger Waters performing live in 2006

Are you a music fan heading to Boston? There's a once-in-a-lifetime event this weekend that you just can't miss.

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd is re-staging the grandest production he’s ever created --“The Wall" -- on a massive tour that stops at TD Banknorth Garden Thursday September 30, Friday October 1, and Sunday October 3. The conceptual double album came out in 1979 and it was one of the darkest extravaganzas, of then or now. It's all about alienation, smothering mothers, a bankrupt educational system, jingoism, war’s destructive power on all, rock star delusions, drug abuse, egotism and isolation. Fun stuff? You bet! Pink Floyd tried to stage this monster in 1980-81 and it sputtered. It was very expensive to mount, and people didn’t exactly like the idea that as the show went on this gigantic wall appeared that separated the crowd from the band. It was symbolic, yes, but people didn't like being separated from the band, even though that was part of the point.

At any rate, Waters has decided that “The Wall” really is his major statement and he’s mounted it again, spending tons of money, and with modern technology and much more flexibility. Concert-goers will get to listen to some of the album's classic songs: “Run Like Hell,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Mother,” “Another Brick in the Wall,” and “In the Flesh?”

Waters, who just turned 67, has spent a good part of his post-Pink Floyd career suggesting (sometimes rather pointedly) that he was Pink Floyd’s main man and the band that sometimes records and ventures out on the road – guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason plus whoever – was Floyd lite. Many would agree. Waters and Gilmour had a bitter fallout, even though they’ve occasionally played together since the breakup (most famously when the Berlin Wall came down, at the very site) and Gilmour will reportedly join Waters’ band for a “Wall” show in London later this year. But Waters was the primary songwriter/architect of the post-Syd Barrett band and while Gilmour’s spacey-blues guitar licks were golden (Waters has used three guitarists on previous tours to get the Gilmour sound), he’s not the dark genius Waters is. There’s a lot of violence and anger in Waters’ music. A lot of catharsis, too.

Waters' dad was killed in WWII when he was an infant and he’s never forgotten it. Waters maintains he’s lightened up some, that age has leavened some of the rage. (He certainly will concede he’s a control freak, but then again, why shouldn’t he be? This is his baby and very likely the last time he’ll tour with it.) “The Wall” is a magnificent, nasty piece of work, but he’s reportedly broadened its themes (via the visuals used on tour) and updated them somewhat. It certainly musically works for me: There’s a masterful juxtaposition of the acoustic and the bombastic electric, a keen sense of melody, and the over-riding idea that expressing joy is not a necessary part of making music that sticks. There’s another side of the world, a darker, more despairing place and with Waters’ work there’s a real sense of community, if you will, in the sharing of unpleasant realities. If you’ve ever felt powerless, the songs on “The Wall” can help you identify with many other like-minded souls.

Coming into town for the big event? We’re going to assume you’ve got some bucks (because Roger Waters tickets are big bucks...) so we’ll recommend two terrific high-end spots. There’s the Liberty Hotel, which is near the Garden, and its got some great bars, including Alibi with its jailbird theme. Perfect post-Waters spot. Also nearby and luxurious: Fifteen Beacon.

--Jim Sullivan of JimSullivanInk.com

Photo credit: wvs/flickr

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