Defining Moment (Sigma 68)
The O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, UK – May 12th, 2011
Disc 1 (58:19): Intro, Outside The Wall Intro, In The Flesh?, The Thin Ice, Another Brick In The Wall Part 1, The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall Part 2, Roger Speaks, 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, The Last Few Bricks, Goodbye Cruel World
Disc 2 (58:32): Hey You, Is There Anybody Out There?, Nobody Home, Vera, Bring The Boys Back Home, Comfortably Numb (with David Gilmour), The Show Must Go On, In The Flesh, Run Like Hell, Waiting For The Worms, Stop, The Trial, Introduction of David Gilmour & Nick Mason, Outside The Wall (with David Gilmour, Nick Mason)
Roger Waters began The Wall Live tour in September 2010 in Toronto, Canada. Among his longest and most expensive, it was booked for six shows at the O2 Arena in London in May 2011. Defining Momentdocuments the May 12th concert, the second of the run, which is most famous for David Gilmour and Nick Mason joining Waters onstage. This is the first time Waters played with Gilmour since July 2010 and with Mason since Live Aid in 2005.
Sigma use an excellent stereo audience recording of the show. It is extremely clear and well balanced, even during the loud applause when the guests of honor come on stage. The taper was sitting in the VIP seats, in front of Nick Mason and family and by Phil Manzanera (ex-Roxy Music and producer of Gilmour’s last solo LP On An Island).
This is the definitive silver document of the latest (and, according to NME, the last Pink Floyd reunion) to be released.
When Waters announced that he would be doing a Wall tour, he posted his reasons on his website. He quoted himself from twenty-two years ago, saying “What it comes down to for me is this: Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?”
All of Waters’ music, even dating back to the early days of Pink Floyd, deal with the inherent difficulties in communication between individuals, groups, and societies. The Wall, using the story of the burnted out rock star as a foil, was a plenary expression of the ideal.
At the time he staged the Berlin production of The Wall in 1990 at the site of the Berlin wall, he really didn’t derive any meaning. But this tour, he explains, has a more concrete meaning:
“It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with its concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and ‘isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life…This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years.”
In the programme The Wall is played in its entirety in the same form as the live shows in 1980 and 1981. That includes “What Shall We Do Now?” and “The Last Few Bricks,” both not on the album. Also, “One of My Turns,” “Don’t Leave Me Now” and “Run Like Hell” are all transposed one key down to accommodate Waters’ vocal range.
The tape starts with the Spartacus introduction leading into “In The Flesh.” The first break in the narrative occurs after “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2.” Waters tells the audience that “yesterday it was 29 years and 328 days” since the last time he played the Wallin London. A film of that show is displayed and Waters sings along with the film so that the vocals are double tracked with “poor fucked up little Roger from all those years ago” on the film during “Mother.”
The highlight of the show is “Comfortably Numb” naturally. Waters sings the first verse and Gilmour joins in, standing on the wall, singing the second verse. Gilmour’s guitar playing is perfect, adding much more authenticity to the arrangement.
G.E. Smith plays guitar on the other tracks and does a good, but not great job duplicating Gilmour’s original guitar melodies.
Gilmour and Nick Mason joins the rest of the band of the ending “Outside The Wall.” Waters stops the song to confess to the audience how grumpy he was thirty years ago but now couldn’t be happier with Dave and Nick on stage that night.
The artwork is very tastefully designed with the Wall motif and several photographs from the event. Given the sound quality, the level of performance and the historic significance of this being the latest and maybe final Pink Floyd reunion, Defining Moment is an essential release by Sigma.