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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Pink Floyd - Is there anybody out there?
[The wall live] - 2000
I know it is a little too long since it was released, but I can’t help doing a little room to the wonderful recording, worthy of collectors, with which EMI label wanted to commemorate twenty years of superb staging of "The Wall". On it several moments of the performances at Earl’s Court, London, have been picked up becoming more than a praiseworthy work of sound mix by James Guthrie.

It is offered in two different kinds of editions with the same range of musical topics. Of course, I specially recommend the limited edition with "just" one million copies because of its smooth presentation, profuse details, pictures, drawings, projects, etc. All is kept in a cardboard box and issued together with a sewed 64 pages book, that turns this edition into a jewel, which mustn’t be left in the shelves of any lover of the genre.

The songs collected involve an evolution from the original studio idea towards what the film was going to be except for the special licences of a live performance (different endings, spreading of some of the songs, etc.). Therefore we find:

Disc 1

MC: Atmos (1:13), In the Flesh (3:00), The Thin ice (2:49), Another brick in the wall-part 1 (4:12), The happiest days of our lives (1:39), Another brick in the wall-part 2 (6:19), Mother (7:54), Goodbye blue sky (3:14), Empty spaces (2:14), *What shall we do now? (1:10), Young lust (5:16), One of my turns (3:14), Don't leave me now (4:07), Another brick in the wall-part 3 (1:15), *The last few bricks (3:25), Goodbye cruel world (1:41).

*Non available in the studio recording.

Disc 2

Hey You (4:55), Is there anybody out there? (3:09), Nobody home (3:15), Vera (1:27), Bring the boys back home (1:20), Comfortably numb (7:26), The schow must go on (2:34), MC: Atmos (0:37), In the Flesh (4:22), Run like hell (7:05), Waiting for the worms (4:13), Stop (0:32), The trial (6:01), Outside the wall (4:28).
I just miss the moving theme, which accompanied in the film to the scene in which young Pink tried his father’s dress cap in front of the mirror, recalling that just a medal and a respectful document remained.

On the base of the four members of the band, several support musicians were used in the recordings, such as Andy Brown (Bass), Snowy White (guitar in 1980), Andy Roberts (guitar in 1981), Willie Wilson (Drums), Peter Woods (keyboards) as well as John Joyce, Stan Farber, Jim Haas and Joe Chemay as backing vocals.

But, let our starrings comment us the gestation of this masterpiece.

Roger Waters: "A good deal of the creative impulse for The Wall derived from my disillusionment with rock shows in vast open-air football stadiums. In the days prior to Dark Side of The Moon the excitement of a Pink Floyd performance lay in a certain intimacy of connection between the audience and the band. It was magical. By the late Seventies that magic ant that opportunity had vanished, crushed, as I saw it,... there was a moment on stage at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal during the Animals tour when I was forced to confront all the negative aspects of these circumstances and of my connivance in them."

"Some crazed teenaged fan, screaming his devotion, began clawing his way up the storm netting that separated band from the human cattle pen in front of the stage, and the boil of my frustration finally burst. I spat in his face. Immediately afterwards I was shocked by my behaviour. I realised that what had once been utterly perverted by scale, corporate avarice and ego. All that remained was an arrangement that was essentially sado-masochistic. I had a very vivid image of an audience being bombed – of bombs being lobbed from the stage – and a sense that those people getting blown to bits would go absolutely wild with glee at being at the centre of all the action."

David Gilmour: "The Wall was always conceived as a studio album, a film and a stage show. The dynamic between a live band and its audience was only one of the concept´s many themes. But what was so clever about Roger´s idea was that the show itself was a comment on that theme. The band saw the dramatic potential as soon as he presented it-though we didn´t anticipate how tricky it can be to keep time while a tower of bricks, each weighing about 20 pounds, is collapsing on to a protective rig two feet above our heads."

"The first I heard of it was at a band-meeting sometime after the Animals tour, called to discuss new projects. Roger brought along two pieces in demo form, os which one became The Wall. (The other, which I think became Roger´s "Pros ans Cons of Hitchhiking", seemed stronger musically but was a less interesting idea). Building a wall between ourselves and the audience was a striking metaphor for the intimacy we has lost as a stadium band. And though I believe we were still delivering to the majority of fans –despite the noise and conditions- the loss of control over our environment definitely troubled me. It obviously got to Roger a lot more."

Nick Mason: "I´ve never felt as outraged as Roger was by our audiences because, as a rule, drummers don´t get outraged. In some ways I was alarmed by Roger´s original theatrical idea, which involved playing practically the whole show from behind a wall. Fortunately, he altered that initial conception in development. It pushed rock shows another step in the direction of pure theatre. Nor was this only a matter of building a wall. All through the show there were radical theatrical gestures. The opening song, for example, ´In the Flesh´, appeared to audiences to be performed by Pink Floyd when in fact what they were seeing was the surrogate band wearing moulded life masks of the real band´s faces. This only became apparent after the surrogate band was dramatically ´frozen´, lowered out of sight, as the lights went back up, the real Pink Floyd revealed behind it".

Richard Wright: "Although I never really liked stadium shows (the loss of sound quality, and the vagaries of crowd control always bothered me), I didn´t feel there was anything fundamentally amiss in my relationship with huge audiences so I wasn’t keen on Roger’s idea for The Wall show when he first presented it. I felt that building a wall on stage would deliberately exlude the audience and this infringed my conception of what a rock’n’roll show was essentially about. As his plans developed and he introduced elements into the show which would directly appeal to the audience (such as Gerald Scarfe´s animation and the wall collapsing at the end), my fears no longer applied. In fact, I could see that the show was going to be a very powerful visual experience, as well as a musical one."

Gerald Scarfe: "To some extent I think I started off with Pink Floyd on the wrong foot, artistically speaking, I was initially very affected by what they’d done musically and I began drawing very abstract images rather than specific things or characters. Somewhere along the line I realised that what they required of me was the satirical drawing I do all the time. When I came to animate ´The Trial´(the first piece I did for the show) I decide to draw cartoons and animate those, but I stumbled across another problem. By that time I’d drawn all the initial designs and was largely directing my own crew of animators. The difficulty was that the people found it very hard to draw in my stile: most of them had been greatly influenced by the Tom&Jerry/Disney school of animation. The practical result was that not matter how ferocious my characters were the generally wound up with cuddly little eyes, or with rabbits bounding around at their feet."

"It’s also very satisfying to have been involved in what has subsequently become a classic. When I was travelling with Disney (I was Art Director on Hercules) I gave dozens of interviews in the Far East and nobody knew who the hell I was until I mentioned Pink Floyd. Then they’d screech with delight, ´Ah, Pink Floyd, The Warrl!. It still is a world-wide phenomenon."

Eduardo Aragón y Diego Cañabate - September 2000
rating - EMI

 

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