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In concert: Roger Waters at Verizon Center

roger watersSunday night's performance of "The Wall" took spectacle to another level. (All photos by Josh Sisk/FTWP)

By Aaron Leitko

When Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters wrote “The Wall” -- the band’s mega-selling double album -- back in the late ’70s, he pined for a barrier that would isolate him from his fans, whom he then considered to be boorish and goony. But times have changed.

Sunday night at the Verizon Center, Waters tried to put a more positive spin on the whole thing. Accompanied by a backing band of hired guns, the bassist/guitarist played the 1979 record in its entirety, as-written, spare a few extra solos. Even the stage show was a throwback, modeled after Pink Floyd’s 1980 “The Wall” tour -- complete with bizzaro animation by illustrator Gerald Scarfe, and, of course, a giant cardboard wall.

But this time around, the message was a anti-war rather than anti-social. A stage crew projected photos of war casualties, many which were solicited from the audience members via the internet. Teenagers arrived on stage to chant “We don’t need no education,” the refrain from “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II),” wearing t-shirts that read, “Fear builds walls.” The jaded sentiments that inspired the original record were, for the most part, painted over.

The inflatable puppets remain, though. Thank God. Forget the Blu-Ray, the DVD, the planetarium laser-light show -- the arena is the superior format for “The Wall.” On record, it’s an imperfect, sometimes boring work. The extra bombast helps, though -- an inflatible flying pig or two does wonders to pad the hit-less terrain between “Hey You” and “Comfortably Numb.” For Waters, as it was with Pink Floyd, more is always more.

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(More pictures after the jump.)

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By Aaron Leitko  | October 11, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Roger Waters  
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So, that's it? How was the concert? I was there and expected much more depth from a Washington Post review. Oh sorry, I forgot, that was the old Washington Post, the new one does not have any professionalism in any of its sections. How sad.

Posted by: JORGEK1 | October 11, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the WAPO reviewers are either incompetent or they try to be clever. They simply do not know how to report the news. I cancelled my subscription after 25 years and have never regretted it.

Posted by: jackson641 | October 11, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the WAPO reviewers are either incompetent or they try to be clever. They simply do not know how to report the news. I cancelled my subscription after 25 years and have never regretted it.

Posted by: jackson641 | October 11, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I've been a Wpost subscriber for 30 years, I keep it for the cartoons, even they recently censored one, but will be out if they keep censoring them or as I assume cancel the whole section. Doesn't Mgment get it, the worst paper they produce the less costumers will have?

Posted by: JORGEK1 | October 11, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

That was it. That's a review. Come on WPost you can do better or you should at least demand better. In a world needing information this review is/was sadly lacking.
To quote the article "more is always more" except in this case.
How does an editor allow such crap to be published???

Posted by: nmatthews2 | October 11, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Was this review written by some kid for a high school newspaper? Geez, the Post really sucks!

Posted by: mgbethesda | October 11, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I thought washpost would've committed a little more to this review. I didn't go and was considering going or not based on the review. Now I don't have a clue. Maybe the comments can drive it. If you were there, should I go?

Posted by: hfsclifford | October 11, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I went to the show and really loved it. I'm a middle-aged guy who saw the Floyd in 1977 when they did Animals and Wish You Were Here, back in the day when they didn't even acknowledge their audience. I've waited 30 years to see this show and it didn't disappoint. The performances were excellent, as good as they were at Waters' 2006 Dark Side tour, for those of you who saw it. With all the fees, my ticket cost me $300. Was it worth it? Yes.

My one complaint is not with the show, but with the audience and venue. The Verizon center smells strongly like stale beer. And American concert audiences are jerks. I mean, you would think that given the ticket investment, people might actually sit and watch what they paid so dearly for. But NO, not us. We simply must have another quaff of cheap, swill beer (Bud Lite? Who drinks that crap? Apparently everyone). I spent most of the night standing up to let people pass me. Hey jerks, your're not in your living room. The squirrel pi$$ will be there at the intermission!

Posted by: allknowingguy | October 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

If you like The Wall and can get halfway decent tickets, go! It is an unbelievable experience in person, completely unlike any other concert you will ever see. From a visual standpoint, you really can't top it. Also, the sound quality was top notch and the music was very well played (although not as well as when Gilmour was in the band). However, it is also very intense show. It is, after all, not a collection of greatest hits but a rock opera (and a very political one at that). I didn't walk out feeling elated like most great concerts, more stunned.

Posted by: slar | October 11, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Where's the rest of the article?

Posted by: camper2 | October 11, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

The kids doing the "We don't need no education" children's chorus were from the School of Rock. They ranged in age from 10 to 15. There are videos of their rehearsals at Verizon Center, and of the performance at

Posted by: tinob | October 11, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Aaron Leitko squealed with delight at the recent Lady Gaga show. He wouldn't know true art if it bit him in the ash. Only a tool like Leitko could readily dismiss such a classic album. One that is the sole basis of a concert tour that is selling out dates all across the U.S. and Europe. Pretty impressive for an "imperfect, sometimes boring work". For the all the adults out there: In short, the show was fantastic. Well worth the wait of almost 30 years to see.

Posted by: Rravenfan | October 11, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I love concerts for only one thing, a perfect 'LIVE' version of the songs I love to sing and hear. Truth is, I can do without the political (or anti-) agendas and messages. Sure, I share the views with the artist, I just don't want them plastered all over the walls in a less- than- subtle attempt to subliminally embed a view that not only do I already share...but that I'm trying to temporarily put behind me for a couple of hours.
In other words, a stage shouldn't be a podium and a podium shouldn't be a stage. But the concert was great, Waters was spot on even for seventy, and he didn't follow the exact recipes of his earlier menus. The apps and the entrees were still nothing shy of terrific! Thanks, Rodger and thanks Verizon Center. The venue was clean, easy to navigate, and fun.

Posted by: philm5 | October 11, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

the original Wall refers to the life crisis psychologist Erik Erikson called "intimacy versus isolation".
As a defense mechanism, Roger had built up this "wall" around him. The album the Wall takes us thru his life, and how events and circumstances lead him to the point where finally, he must tear down his own wall and reach out to those around him to achieve the goal of itimacy. The loss of his father, his overbearing mother, awful teachers, drug use, failing marriage etc, the high expectations for a major rock star, all lead to a major breakdown and then a major break thru with his therapist.
the result of that theraputic breakthru, is the Wall.
At the Verizon Center sunday night, Roger performed the album, but moved it from a very personal statement towards a more universal theme.
It wasn't just his father who died (as in the original album), it was all of the fathers in the world dying in war. It wasn't just him as a child struggling without a father, it was all the orphaned children of the world and even celebrated those lucky children whose parents came home to them.
I don't know the reasoning for the change. perhaps he felt people might get the message clearer, if it was made more obvious. Or maybe, as a person, having to go thru this very personal story again and again on stage, he needed a break and wanted it to be humanities story and not just his.

But still, in the end, I don't think most people get it.
The person who wrote this review clearly doesn't.

On the most basic obvious level, Roger Water's performance of the Wall sunday night was a rocking specticle of a show.

It was also a loud scream in the night about the horrors of war, and the lack of humanity in humanity.

Posted by: MarilynManson | October 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

But how was the show? How was the sound? What else happened? This is a weak review of the show.

Posted by: gatorjeff | October 13, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

This show was "most excellent". It is a testament to Roger Waters & Pink Floyd that the music created in the 70's & 80's will be forever classic. The stage, lighting, and sound show experience was awesome. It's a must see concert for anyone who enjoyed one of the pioneers of progressive rock.

The Post review does no justice for the amount of work and creativity that went into this tour.

Did anyone notice the familiar smell in the Verizon Center?

"Hey, my, Rock & Roll will never die!"

Posted by: whcam | October 13, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

That is a terrible review.. Not even a review. Were you even at the show? Maybe thats whats going on here.

The show was fantastic, I've been toying around with the idea of driving to the Philly show in Novemeber. I heard from several people that this was the best concert they've ever seen, not sure if I could argue with that.

Posted by: mekmad | October 13, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I was shocked to read the horrible review written by some moron who knows nothing about music and works for Washington Post. As a washington Post subscriber I was appalled.

Having seen so many great and epic concerts for over 40 years, Pink Floyd's "The Wall" will always be remembered as one of the very best for many reasons. This was the most incredible and entertaining productions I have ever seen. The music was amazing. The technology that went into the creation of the set was second to no other concert I have ever seen.

For those who still have an opportunity to see this show, this is one you definitely do not want to miss, because you may never have this opportunity again.

A final message to Washington Post. I have been disappointed by many reviews of great concerts and no reviews of others which include many legends of different types of music. Your writers give you a bad name as evidenced by many of your reviewers here. There is much room for improvement here if you really want to get an accurate account out to you subscribers. Lastly and again, your review was pathetic for this epic Pink Floyd concert at the Verizon Center in DC on 10/10/10!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: ljulesdavis | October 14, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

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