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Pink Floyd – Westphalian Wall (Sigma 17)

Westphalian Wall (Sigma 17)

Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany – February 20th, 1981

Disc 1:  MC intro., In The Flesh, The Thin Ice, Another Brick In The Wall Part 1, Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall Part 2, Mother, Goodbye Blue Sky, Empty Spaces, What Shall We Do Now?, Young Lust, One Of My Turns, Don’t Leave Me Now, Another Brick In The Wall Part 3, Goodbye Cruel World

Disc 2:  Hey You, Is There Anybody Out There?, Nobody Home, Vera, Bring The Boys Back Home, Comfortably Numb, The Show Must Go On, mc intro., In The Flesh, Run Like Hell, Waiting For The Worms, Stop, The Trial, Outside The Wall

Pink Floyd played eight Wall shows in Dortmund in 1981 between February 13 and February 20th.  The tape for the final German show was first released on vinyl in the eighties on the Canadian issued Wallive (RSR/International 07665 RSR242) which was reissued as A Little Black Book With My Poems In (RSR 242) and The Live Biography : Volume Five – In The Flesh (RSR-242).  The only commercial release since is the pro-CDR title Standing At The German Wall (Blue Café-72A/B).  Sigma’s Westphalian Wall is the only silver pressed title with tape and it makes one wonder exactly why it took so long.  Many Wall tapes are excellent and this one is among the very best produced.  Clear, sharp and with tremendous depth, the taper was in an opportune position to produce a near perfect recording rich in details that most tapes are not able to capture.  There is a small cut in “Mother” at 1:57 that lasts for three second which Sigma plug with a higher generation of the same tape.

This was the final scheduled Wall concert (before they decided on the final Earl’s Court shows in June for filming purposes) and this can be counted on as one of the most intense, loose and fun shows of the entire run.  The carnival season began at this time in West Germany and mc Willi Thomczyk wore a carnival costume and the band later on during “Outside The Wall” also donned suits.  The tape begins with Tomczyk’s announcements in German before the crashing notes of “In The Flesh.”  By the second song it becomes obvious that Richard Wright, who at this time was kicked out of the band and were playing with them as a session musician, asserts himself and augments the music with unique keyboard lines not apparent in other concerts.  In the latter half of “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” he all but dominates the solo and enters into a duet on the Hammond organ with Pete Wood, a member of the “surrogate band” on the electric piano.

After “What Shall We Do Now?” Waters says, “He’s raring to go.  Here he is, our very own lovable Dave…Boogie!  Boogie!”  Gilmour flubs the third line of “Young Lust” but otherwise this song cooks until the end when Gilmour loses count and tries to end the song too early.  “Another Brick In The Wall Part 3” is interesting for Waters’ vocals being double tracked on the last phrase of each line in the verse (“I don’t need no arms around me / and I don’t need no drugs to calm me…”)  “The Last Few Bricks” medley is not tracked separately but is included with “Another Brick In The Wall Part 3.” 

“Hey You” begins the second set.  Gilmour plays a different solo in the middle and Waters is very loose throughout, even singing in a thick Brooklyn accent (“and the woims ate into his bwroin.”)  The “isolation interlude” begins with “Is There Anybody Out There?” and runs through “Bring The Boys Back Home.”  It is interesting show that song ends with a reiteration of the opening question “is there anybody out there” only to be answered by “Hello, is there anybody in there,” another question in the first line of “Comfortably Numb.”  The juxtaposition of the two questions represents the connection between the subjective paranoid consciousness with the demands of the adult world and the first response is insecurity and fear with “The Show Must Go On.”  The second response is the fascist part of the narrative.

The pyrotechnics don’t seem to impress the Dortmund audience at the beginning of “In The Flesh?”  Before “Run Like Hell” Waters says, “Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you. You’re too kind. Do you like our pig? He doesn’t seem to like some of you very much, but he’s a funny pig. You know he’s funny that way. He likes some people and he doesn’t like others. Home piggy. This is a little disco tune that we can all clap our hands to (woo) and whistle. Hey, it’s a fun time, any day now, it’s called ‘Run Like Hell’ Ohhhh, let’s enjoy ourselves! Get down! Mmmm.”  It’s hard to listen to this song and not picture the demented hand jive dance from the movie.  The images are a further commentary in the piece which suggests there is a fine line between entertainment and enslavement. 

The finale of the piece is of course “The Trial.”  Waters makes funny comments throughout (“shit on him” he repeats during the sentencing.)  The backing tape speeds up briefly about four minutes into the song.  “Outside The Wall” sounds more sophisticated in this show than in early performances as it closes the show.  The tape ends with about a minute of applause as the band stand on stage and Waters thanks the audience.  Westphalian Wall is packaged in a double slimline jewel case and is limited to two hundred copies.  The cover has the hammer badge on the brick wall and is simple but effective.  This is recommended not only because it has great sound quality and is one of the best Wall shows, but this is the first silver release of any of the Dortmund shows since Zeus issued the February 14th show many years ago.   

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. None of the Sigma releases that’ve been claimed to be a limited edition, which is usually the case, and usually 200, have ever been numbered. And just about likewise for their predecessor Siréne, although most of theirs were limited to 300 copies, except for their first few or several titles, which were the only ones numbered. Ever since the last of those was released, which was prob. sometime in either ’04 or ’05, they’ve stopped printing any numbers on them.

  2. Was this release really limited to 200 hundred copies? I was just wondering since the package is not numbered.

  3. The mc for the Dortmund dates was Willi Thomczyk and he was giving the standard introduction, saying the band will be ready in a couple of minutes and to not light firecrackers, etc.

    Roger Waters plays a prank on him, saying “we’ve had enough of you for one week” and Thomczyk replies “well fuck you then.” And it continues in this vein for a couple of seconds.
    Hope this helps.

  4. I am curious to know what the MC is saying (& doing) on track #8 – Before it rolls into the 2nd In The Flesh ? I cant figure out if

  5. A very nice release and I am very happy with it. I do not have any Eurpoean Wall shows in my collection and found this show to be very enjoyable. For the most part the crowd interaction is minimal, take for instance during Mother the lines “Should I trust the government” in the US the crowd gives their response but in this show they remain quiet. This title will make the casual fan and the obsesive collectors happy.

  6. You’re right. I forgot about that one. When I reviewed Out Of Your Depth several years ago I wrote: “As enjoyable as the show is (and the taper’s friends do have a good time), this is a good show that nowhere near approaches the classic shows on February 14th and the closer on February 20th. There are several missed cues and painful to hear bum notes and is an overall lackadaisical performance.” Is it any wonder why I forgot all about this one??

  7. Thanks for the great review. I’m very much looking forward to receiving mine. However, when it’s said that it’s “the first silver release of any of the Dortmund shows since Zeus issued the February 14th show many years ago”, what about the Siréne release “Out of Our Depth” of the show of the night before?

  8. I feel compelled to offer an additional perspective on “Westphalian Wall” having had a discussion about how I wasn’t much of a fan of “The Wall” era and beyond as Sigma 17 has not only convinced me otherwise – it’s absolutely BLOWN ME AWAY! This sound quality is indeed near perfect – great balance between instruments, effects, and audience result in a truly captivating listening experience. More than that, the performance is full of drama, intensity, and vitality. Highlights for sure are Wright’s stretching out, Gilmour’s fine solos and musical direction, but it is Waters in the leading role who truly shines, with impassioned delivery throughout. The sound is so encompassing and three dimensional, one cannot help but be drawn in. In my opinion this is the GREATEST version of “The Wall” period…moreso than the studio album, the official live collection, 8/6/80, 2/28/80, and 6/17/80. It doesn’t get better than this. Consider me converted and once again, Sigma have proven themselves the ultimate Floyd label. Bravo!

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