Roger Waters gives 'The Wall' a new, 'more political' edge for tour
By Jeff Christensen, AP
Roger Waters is asking relatives of war victims to submit photos on his website to be projected in arenas during his tour.
By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY
The British rock veteran will launch a North American tour this fall — kicking off Sept. 15 in Toronto, with shows in the USA scheduled through Dec. 13 — revisiting the epic concept album that he introduced in 1979 as principal songwriter of Pink Floyd.
It has been 30 years since that group launched a string of visually ambitious live performances of the songs and 20 since Waters performed them solo in Berlin.
After showcasing another Floyd classic, The Dark Side of the Moon, on a 2006 trek, Waters "realized that the story in The Wall— of a young man who is alienated and defensive, because he's fearful — could be an allegory for a more universal story. We're all frightened of each other, and that makes us behave in ways that are sadly inhumane, like engaging in wars. I wanted to make this show more political."
To do that, Waters, 66, is posting an appeal on roger-waters.com to relatives of those lost in war. He's asking for their photographs to project onto arena surfaces representing the title's metaphorical wall — so that each victim becomes, in effect, another brick.
"I get slight shivers talking about this," says Waters, who lost his father in World War II. "I want people to remember their loved ones as I remember mine, as part of a show that has a strongly anti-war message."
Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis doesn't expect Waters' approach will prove too controversial. The Wall's songs have always had "a generalized anti-war message," he says. "People are going to go for the spectacle."
They shouldn't be disappointed. Waters says video technology allows for projections twice the size of those in the original Wall dates, in which a huge wall was constructed between the band and the audience. Album illustrator Gerald Scarfe, who worked on the tour and 1982 film, is providing new art and redesigning puppets and inflatable objects.
Waters also is developing The Wall into a stage musical with Billy Elliot librettist Lee Hall. He doesn't plan to collaborate again with surviving Floyd members Nick Mason and David Gilmour, despite fond memories of the band's reunion at Live 8 in 2005.
"But Nick and I have become great friends again," he says. "We had a bad 15 years, so to come back together is fantastic."