HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Roger Waters: The Wall
HTS Overall Score:86
You don’t have to be a rock aficionado to recognize Pink Floyd. Probably one of the most influential and defining older rock groups of the last 50 years, Pink Floyd rivals greats such as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top. Roger Waters just so happens to be one of the co-founders of the original band and was the face man of the group for many years after Syd Barrett left in 1968. Spending 20 years in the spotlight he left the band in 1985 after the infamous “The Wall” shot them stardom. Everyone who loves rock remembers “Pink Floyd’s The Wall”, a rock opera actually written by Waters himself, and now 30 + years later Roger is back to recreate a hypnotic blending of Rock, documentary and elaborate stage show of the famous album/film. This time it’s cut down and rebuilt back up with his own special blend of historical love as well as a slightly egotistical and self-indulgent look at the man’s personal life.
Roger Waters isn’t just a musician, or at least he doesn’t like to follow the standard albums that most musicians ascribe to. He’s proven over the decades, through his solo albums, that he enjoys crafting a story for the listener. Making songs that flow together and carry an overarching theme throughout the melodies and even more intertwined in the progression of songs. Being a son of a decorated war hero who died in active duty, Roger’s views on war and on his father help craft everything he has put out in some ways or another. The Wall is one of those albums that decries war heavily, and still honors the memory of those who fought and gave their life for their country. You can see and hear the frustration in the lyrics, the simple defiance and anger that accompanies someone who has seen much loss.
I mentioned before that “Roger Waters The Wall” is a mix of stage performance and egotistical self-indulgence. I stand by that ascertation as it is an odd patchwork of fantastic stage performances (and performance is an understatement) made up of multiple live performances over his tour intermingled with a documentary style look on his personal life and his outlook on wars and strife. He tries to not only blend in the data and honoring of his WWII father’s era, but also from modern conflicts, trying to weave those conflicts and horrors into the tale that The Wall tells. Something which I’m not sure is pulled off successfully as the content from The Wall just doesn’t support his extra-curricular content. It comes down to the fact that The Wall was NOT just about war, but about isolation, tragedy and pain from conflict, which makes his trying to make this is a visual spectacle about war a bit eyebrow raising in my opinion.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60697[/img]Now the stage productions that Roger Waters puts on is nothing short of breathtaking. His stage is a living organism, that shifts and changes between songs, building up the infamous wall, but also home to green goblins, WWII bomber planes crashing into the set with a cornucopia of fireworks, and we haven’t even gotten to the stage dancers and psychedelic laser shows. To put it simply, The songs are something of classic lore and beautiful to the ear, but they are just as easily matched by the production values of the concert and the lavish creations of the musician.
I’ve talked about the production, the meaning of the songs, and the documentary, but now what everyone wants to hear about, the actual music. Pink Floyd is played on every classic rock station since I was born at LEAST, and I’ve come to know and love every single song on “The Wall”. Waters voice hasn’t lost any power or tone and the 72 year old man can still belt out the classic melodies like he’s a 25 year old man again. You can hear a bit of a gravliness in his voice compared to the younger years, but his vocal control and impassioned vocals speak to the audience as you watch them sing, dance and cry as if in a trance. Every song is a trip down memory lane, reminding this reviewer of a childhood full of Vinyl albums and sneaking into my brother’s room to jack their cassette tapes when I was older (much to the chagrin of my mother and the furious rantings of my brother’s when I didn’t return them).
Rated R for some language, nudity and violent images
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60705[/img]Shot on RED digital cameras, “Roger Waters The Wall” looks magnificent on Blu-ray disc. Framed in 2.40:1 scope the concert looks incredibly expansive, showing off a huge amount of side space for the elaborate stage production that waters employs. The colors shift from deep blacks and neon reds of the stage lighting (both which look wonderful), to a softer and greener look as we see waters traverse the countryside and even the neon look of the city as his car travels the roads. Contrast levels look strong and facial detail are amazing. The stage lights sometimes mask a little bit with bright neon red lights blasting in your face, but there is no sense of banding of black crush to make the performance annoying. The audience shots are a bit less spectacular, as the black backgrounds and digital cameras introduce sporadic noise and some crushing of the figures in view. However, that is fully expected considering that there is no real backlighting behind the audience like there is behind waters.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60713[/img]“Roger Waters The Wall” comes to us with two distinct audio tracks. The first being a Dolby Atmos track (the first for a concert film) as well as a “purist” 2.0 LPCM uncompressed track. Both sound a bit different (naturally) and appeal to different demographics. The 2.0 track is what many would call a purist track, for those of you who really appreciate a good 2 channel stereo setup. Sampling the track I can tell that you’re not going to be disappointed. The front soundstage is amazing, with impeccable vocals and some beautiful panning across the two speakers. The Dolby Atmos track is the real appeal (for me at least) as it is a wonderfully immersive track that really takes advantage of the object based track. Sounds from the audience, the stage, and the vocals all come from incredibly different areas and make you feel as if you’re right in the middle of the audience. The experience is both bombastic and hauntingly beautiful. Roger Water’s gravelly voice can be heard straight up front, but the audience roars from behind, lifting up the surrounds to powerful levels and there is some incredible use of the LFE channel. Not only to support the music but also to aid in the spectacle that Waters puts on with fireworks, planes, and other visual and auditory aids.
• A Visit to Frank Thompson
• Time Lapses
• Facebook Films
• Comfortably Numb Live at the 02 with Special Appearance by David Gilmour
• Outside the Wall Live at the 02 with Special Appearances by David Gilmour and Nick Mason
The strange checkboard effect of mixing in personal documentary style footage with elaborate stage productions in an every other scene montage feels a bit off-putting and isolates the viewer from the man on stage. His desire for a philosophical meaning to the production is well meaning, but less effective than one would have hoped, which gives those moments a rather egotistical and self-serving tone as I mentioned before. The actual stage footage is marvelous, with Waters dominating every song and every lavish piece of spectacle, not to mention the amazing audio experience with the first Dolby Atmos concert video. Is this an epic concert that will forever be remembered? Probably not, but it is a lot of fun if you can skip through the personal docu-drama bits and get back to the songs at hand, whether you choose the 2.0 LPCM audio or the fully immersive Atmos track.
Starring: Roger Waters, Dave Kilminster, Snowy White
Directed by: Sean Evans, Roger Waters
Written by: Sean Evans, Roger Waters
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Englis LPCM 2.0
Runtime: 133 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 1st, 2015
Buy Roger Waters: The Wall Blu-ray on Amazon
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