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Live Music: Roger Waters

The former Pink Floyd member's visual fireworks are off the Wall

Roger Waters
The Wall
Wembley Stadium, HA9
Five stars

Bringing his audacious ego-trip of a concept album into the 21st century, Roger Waters's current incarnation of The Wall live adopts the latest technology to recreate his "rock opera" brainchild in stadiums and arenas across the world.

It's an explosive experience in every sense of the word as the stage looks as if it's in danger of being blown up by its own firework display. Even a giant model of a World War II warplane collides into the rafters with a bang during an extended opener of In The Flesh?

Giant video screens project everything from Waters, from sinister Gerald Scarfe judges to anti-war sentiments, anti-zionist sentiments, anti-state sentiments, anti-everything sentiments.

Not to mention the instantly recognisable marching hammers for Another Brick In The Wall.

Scarfe's influence isn't confined to the screens alone as giant inflatables dominate the stage, including an wicked teacher and a black hog representing evil emblazoned with scrawls and symbols including the words "trust us," the Shell logo and, more controversially, the Star of David.

Waters has not been shy about his support for Palestine and is a frequent activist for many things, appearing recently in a video supporting Chelsea Manning and writing a letter of support to violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy after he had his comments about Israeli apartheid, made during a live broadcast, censored by the BBC.

His outspoken political views are also suitably incorporated into the live set as he denounces "state terrorism" in front of projected pictures of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Meanwhile tracks like Bring The Boys Back Home signifies how The Wall is as relevant today as it was in 1979.

Equally spectacular visually is the sight of Waters dressed as a fascist dictator while flag-bearers march across the top of the wall, mimicking a nazi rally, while the entire stage is floodlit in deep red.

It's not just visually stunning but also an incredible feat of sound engineering as noises, cheers and incidental music catches you off guard from the surround-sound effects in the 90,000-capacity stadium.

Whatever your personal views of Waters and his neurosis-fuelled venture The Wall, or of the sheer extravagance of producing a near ¬£40 million show in a £1 billion stadium, no rock band before or since has ever had the balls to attempt something on this scale and none will probably ever do so again.

Will Stone


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