September 24, 2010

There was much to predict last Saturday at the Air Canada Centre as Roger Waters presented his final Toronto performance of The Wall. Waters did precisely what he promised—to recreate the 1979 Pink Floyd concept album and subsequent stage production in its original entirety. But unlike previous Waters concerts, the show came off as uninspired and reminded one of a bland routine. At the risk of sounding cruel, the words from the album rang truer than ever: “You have grown older and I have grown colder and nothing is very much fun anymore.”

Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone!

 The concert came across as a parody of itself—it was business as usual. There were highlights, though. The cutting-edge animation and computer graphics mixed with very well with vintage animated moments from the 1982 movie. Also, the animatronic inflatable caricatures of the school teacher, mother and praying mantis chimera added to the show’s over-blown psychedelic spectacle. My seat was very close to stage left. From where I sat, I could see Waters in profile, half-heartedly lip-synching some passages. Three guitarist, including G.E. Smith (remember the band-leader for the Saturday Night Live band?), sonically re-created what original Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, mastered alone. It would have been nice to hear some hidden tunes beyond the well-worn Wall repertoire, like “When the Tigers Broke Free.” An encore of any kind would have completely topped the sold-out event. In total, the show was a culmination of a formula that has developed over thirty years with the film, concert and re-releases. To paraphrase some lyrics from the album: all in all, it was just another shtick of The Wall.

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