With David Gilmour ensuring his part in Pink Floyd’s legacy is secure with the release of last year’s The Endless River, here Waters does something similar and pulls off the remarkable feat of creating a film that successfully captures the spectacle, excess and glory of their 1979 magnum opus, The Wall.
The whole show’s presented here in sumptuous sound and vision, and what captivates most is how the original story has been developed and chimes with today’s global issues. For instance, when Vera and Bring The Boys Back Home were first played live, Britain had not been at war for 25 years. Since then, forces have been deployed around the world and there is new, added poignancy. The images of children being reunited with their fathers would melt the hardest heart and the pictures of the fallen during Another Brick In the Wall, Part One are heart-wrenching.
A film that captures the excess and glory of that magnum opus.
A road trip threads the concert film together. Waters driving his Bentley to France and Italy to find his father and grandfather’s graves, and what comes across is the blazing sincerity with which the journey was undertaken. Waters’ sparring with his old schoolmate Andrew ‘Willa’ Rawlinson provides both light relief and deep meaning; director friend Peter Medak drops in and talks about fleeing in his youth from both Nazism and Communism. Waters re-enacts his father’s killing at Anzio to a French barman who cannot speak English, perhaps a metaphor for the lack of understanding that has greeted some of Waters’ work.
But this is also a celebration of fandom, in the way his audience are filmed, transfixed by the spectacle. The difference between Waters of the Floyd playing Comfortably Numb (back to audience, white coat on) and the Waters of today (strutting, smiling, fully engaged) speaks volumes. Seeing fans, some wearing Pink Floyd T-shirts, some crying with emotion, mouthing every word, is deeply moving. The band is just fantastic and the show is as breathtaking as ever.
Anyone who has seen the recent shows will know just how Waters triumphed over the stadiums he once so hated. It is fitting that a lot of the concert footage was filmed in Quebec City, just a hundred or so miles down the road from Montreal where Waters spat at a fan in 1977 and began this whole thing All in all, an incredible rendering of The Wall.