Concert Review: Roger Waters The Wall Tour (BC Place, May 26, 2012)

My third experience seeing Roger in concert, and in some ways the best. While nothing will ever live up to the excitement and enthusiasm I had for Roger Waters’ Dark Side of the Moon Tour in 2007 —  what was my first, and still greatest concert experience — the immensity of the wall, in its grand theatrics of world class projecting (art from the Wall,  a film by Alan Parker), expressive performances, and the erection and destruction of a giant wall, never fails to disappoint.

Having previously seen the tour in Rogers Arena, I expected much of the same thing. In particular, I expected that the sound quality would be just as bad if not worse — BC Place is even larger! What’s typical of such large venues is that the sound echoes and reverberates around you, with the initial note having traveled some distance, and degraded in quality, before it reaches your far fledged ears. This was different. The expensive dome renovations are well appreciated; the material is able to absorb the sound so that it does not muffle, and the addition of THX amplifiers all around the place shares a quality of sound akin to a movie theater. For us, though we were off to the side, and so far away that Roger Waters’ blurry image could have just as well been a statue, the music sounded as if we were front row at the Queen E. (Okay that might be a bit of a stretch, but it was good!).

Snowy White again played lead guitar, along with David Kilminster. Jon Carin sat back there on the keys, and the other usual suspects for Rogers Wall Tour filled the rest of the stage. As I’ve mentioned before, Snowy White is one of my favourite guitarists of all time, probably second only to Peter Green — Snowy’s personal favourite guitarist as well. Yes, I even like the guy more than David Gilmour. However, this is not Snowy playing the blues with  his classic ’57 Les Paul Goldtop — a sight I dream to one day witness — this is Snowy playing Pink Floyd, and it’s David’s licks, techniques, and tone that we are hearing. Just like he did as a backup for the original Wall tour with Pink Floyd, Snowy set down his one-of-a-kind Goldtop to pick up one with a whammy bar, capable of producing the psychedelic nuances necessary to play Pink Floyd.

Highlights of the show include Snowy’s lead guitar work throughout the concert — Mother, Hey You, where he plays a beautiful and highly difficult note (see video here below), and, of course, Comfortably Numb. Other song highlights, particularly for Roger’s performance, include The Thin Ice, Vera, and Outside The Wall. As usual for the tour, many of the tracks were extended with musical interludes, allowing for some slight variation and accentuation of the themes; with age, Waters has clearly deepened his understanding of, and discovered the means to better communicate, the concept of the Wall.  Seeing the projections and the wall being broken down, of course, were aesthetically satisfying as well, and helped to deliver a full experience of the album.

All in all, a great concert, great company — thanks to Emma for surprising Conor with tickets — and an overall great night. I can’t wait for Round 4!

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About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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