By Nathan M. Walters, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - “So ya/ thought ya/ might like to/ go to the show?” This opening line of “In the Flesh?,” the first track of Pink Floyds’ opus, The Wall, has remained an eerie question for listeners since the album’s release in 1979. The rest of the lyrics, which describe a totalitarian regime, and the images from the 1982 film version of The Wall create a haunting vision of what “the show” actually means.
Today it may simply refer to Roger Waters’ stage performance of The Wall Live, which has been chugging around the globe off and on since the nineties and will be performed to a full capacity crowd at Engenhao Stadium on Thursday, March 29th.
The Wall marked the decline of the long-standing lineup of Pink Floyd (less the original front man Syd Barrett) and proved to be the fork in the road for the creative forces of the band, Roger Waters and David Gilmour. After a messy breakup, the band split into two camps, Gilmour leading a Pink Floyd without Waters and Waters striking out a successful solo career.
Pink Floyd’s music continued to hold the attention of long-time fans and to attract more followers drawn to the psychedelic universality of the band’s work. The Wall, largely the focus of Waters’ inner-thoughts, stands out as one of the bands most approachable albums.
“We don’t need no education / we don’t need no thoughts controlled,” from “Another Brick in the Wall,” continues to be the battle cry of adolescent frustration.
The entire album The Wall and the images from the film version remain as potent today as when they were originally released, which explains why The Wall Live is set on a marathon tour through South and North America this year.
While the dreams of a full Pink Floyd reunion are dashed, following the death of founding member Richard Wright in 2008, The Wall Live gives Floyd fans a chance to witness the brilliance of the band’s music accompanied by a mesmerizing stage performance.
“I am going to the show because I love Pink Floyd and want to see the theatrics,” says Vera Nunes, who will be traveling from nearby Volta Redonda to catch the performance.
The Wall Live, first performed by a solo Waters’ in Berlin in 1990, has captivated audiences around the globe, crossed language barriers and cultural divides and continues to push important personal and social questions with every performance.This is not the first time Waters has brought The Wall Live to Rio; the artist performed in Rio at the Praça da Apoteose (the concert venue portion of Rio’s famous Sambódromo) in 2002 and again in 2007.
This time around, Engenhão Stadium, home of Rio’s football squad Botafoga and site of many international artists’ concerts, will host Waters explosive performance. Each staging of The Wall Live is complete with imagery from the album art and the film version of The Wall, including a giant agitating schoolmaster and, of course, a recreation of the wall (approximately ten meters high), brick by brick, which crumbles to the ground at the climax of the show.
The Wall Live is a sensory assault, a social message, and a great concert all in one. If you are looking for the value in performance, it doesn’t get much better.