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Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)

Posted By: Melaron
Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)

Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)
DVD9 | Runtime: 111 min. | 7,64 Gb | Copy: Untouched
Video: PAL, MPEG Video at 6 222 Kbps, 720 x 576 (1.333) at 25.000 fps | Audio: AC-3 2 channels at 256 Kbps, AC-3 6 channels at 448 Kbps, 48.0 KHz
Genre: Rock, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock | Label: Universal Music & Video Distribution

Roger Waters' The Wall, Live In Berlin marks the second in a series of Pink Floyd related reviews I will be writing to commemorate the long awaited release of the band's Pulse DVD, which I reviewed last month. During the end of the 80's, after Roger Waters had left Pink Floyd, he began making plans to perform The Wall as a huge event, originally considering such grand places as the Sahara Desert, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, and Wall Street. Around this time, plans were also underway for the reunification of Germany, and the Berlin wall eventually fell in November of 1989. The choice of location was now clearly obvious.

The Wall, Live In Berlin was filmed at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany on July 21st, 1990. Potsdamer Platz was the "no man's land" that sat between the two Berlin walls which separated East from West. By the time of the concert 250,000 tickets had been sold in advance and over 50 countries had signed on to broadcast the concert live. For fear of riots and injury, the concert gates eventually had to be taken down letting in an extra 100,000 people for free. The concert would also serve as a benefit for The Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief.

The opening sequence showing the enormous stage, the massive white wall, already 3/4 built, and the vast sea of people was quite awe inspiring. For the opening number, "In The Flesh", the Scorpions are delivered to the stage (which is basically a two lane highway) via a white, stretch limo. What better band to open the show than Germany's own Scorpions, who were still one of the biggest metal bands on the planet in 1990. From there, it is a non-stop appearance of musicians and actors who were brought in to sing the songs, and act out the parts. This was more of a grand theater production, on the grandest of scales, than an actual rock concert.

Ute Lemper, a successful German singer and stage actress, took the lead on "The Thin Ice" and sang beautifully. Garth Hudson handled the sax solo on "Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 1", and was the first of many members of The Band to share the stage that night. During "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives" the giant, inflatable, alien-looking, "Teacher" makes its first appearance, menacingly dangling its long arms down the front of the wall.

Many of the special guests who performed were not exactly Waters' first picks, and sound like odd choices when you hear them - Cyndi Lauper?, Bryan Adams?, Van Morrison?. Lauper appeared early on, wearing a naughty school girl uniform to take on "Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2". Her idiosyncratic vocals sounded a little over the top at times, and may not have been the best fit for this song, but her character was perfect for the show. Thomas Dolby joined her midway, and his strange appearance made everything else look comparatively normal. During the song, crew members are continuously adding giant, white, polystyrene blocks to the 600 foot long and 60 foot high wall, slowly closing up the main opening that still exposes the band.

Much of the same filler that bogged down The Wall album, "Oh My God", "One Of My Turns", "Don't Leave Me Now", "Vera", "Bring The Boys Back Home", bogs down parts of this performance as well, but they provide a necessary backdrop for the storyline. During "Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 3", all but four blocks of the wall have put into place, leaving only a cross shaped opening from which Waters exits through to sing "Goodbye Cruel World". Just as he sings the final "goodbye", the last brick is placed in the wall, closing off the band until the finale. Poor Paul Carrack had to sing the entire "Hey You" staring at the wall, but he sang as if the song had been written especially for him. Excellent vocals. Some of the other worthy guest spots were Joni Mitchell on "Goodbye Blue Sky", Sinead O'Connor doing "Mother", and Bryan Adam's rockin' "Young Lust".

An orchestra, marching band, and choir are eventually marched out over the course of the next few songs, beginning with "Vera". It was fascinating to hear Waters explaining, in the special features, how he was able to secure The Military Orchestra Of The Soviet Army, at a time when there was still two separate governments, and a major Soviet military base, operating in Berlin. His less than flattering description of the orchestra's musical skills was pretty amusing too.

While waiting for "Comfortably Numb", I was very curious as to how this Pink Floyd epic would sound with Van Morrison singing David Gilmour's parts. Now I love Van's voice and his music, but this seemed kind of like asking Bob Dylan to sing "Stairway To Heaven". I was thinking more of a Geoff Tate (Queensryche) type for this part, but Morrison did a nice job making it his own - in a Joe Cocker does "Little Help From My Friends" kind of way. Rick Difonzo and Snowy White took turns on the guitar solos, with Difonzo faithfully cloning Gilmour's parts, while White improvised with the notes and tone a bit more.

During "Run Like Hell" the giant inflatable pig, which has been a staple of Pink Floyd concerts since the 80's, made its first appearance, knocking several blocks off the top of the wall in the process. At the end of "The Trial", judged by famous British actor Albert Finney, the entire wall begins to crumble from the top as the chorus and crowd chant "TEAR DOWN THE WALL!". It was quite an amazing spectacle to look out over the entire crowd, from behind, and see what was once this massive white wall now reduced to a smoldering pile of rubble on the stage.

Curiously, the last song performed, after the wall has crumbled, was not "Outside The Wall", from the album, but was "The Tide Is Turning" from Waters' Radio K.A.O.S. solo album. Where "Outside The Wall" neatly wraps up the story of The Wall, "The Tide Is Turning" relates more to the inspiration brought about by the Berlin Wall's demise. With all of the guests joining in on this happy sing-a-long, it did seem a little too "We are The World" kind of cheesy. German reunification took place a few months later on October 3, 1990, when the areas of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) were incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).

The picture and audio on this DVD were both admirable, considering this was transferred from an analog recording that was made for TV broadcast. The video looks clean, sharp, and displays only minimal grain. It was kept in its original full frame format. Audio is provided in both Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo. I listened to the surround track and it allowed each of the musicians to be heard clearly in the mix. Even with the multiple orchestras and choirs, the mix presented everything superbly.

The Bonus Material featured a half-hour documentary that begins with the history of Berlin and then features interviews with Waters and most of the show's key producers and set designers. Also included is some unseen footage, animations, and a photo gallery.

The Wall, Live In Berlin is a DVD that every Pink Floyd or Roger Waters fan should see at least once. The location and historic relevancy of the performance made what would have just been another big rock concert, something much more special. This was truly a one of a kind event, that turned out remarkably well, considering the insane logistics that must have been involved.

Artists:
- Roger Waters: Vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar on "Mother", rhythm guitar on "Hey You"
- Scorpions:
- Klaus Meine: Vocals.
- Rudolf Schenker: Rhythm guitar
- Matthias Jabs: Lead guitar
- Francis Buchholz: Bass guitar
- Herman Rarebell: Drums
- Ute Lemper: Vocals
- Cyndi Lauper: Percussion, vocals
- Thomas Dolby: Synthesizer, vocals
- Sinéad O'Connor: Vocals
- The Band
- Rick Danko: Vocals
- Levon Helm: Vocals
- Garth Hudson: Accordion, soprano saxophone
- The Hooters:
- Eric Bazilian: Guitar
- Rob Hyman: Keyboards
- John Lilley: Guitar
- Fran Smith Jr.: Bass guitar
- David Uosikkinen: Drums
- Joni Mitchell: Vocals
- James Galway: Flute
- Bryan Adams: Guitar, vocals
- Jerry Hall: Vocals
- Paul Carrack: Vocals
- Van Morrison: Vocals
- Tim Curry: Vocals
- Marianne Faithfull: Vocals
- Albert Finney: Vocals

The Bleeding Heart Band:
- Rick Difonzo: Guitars
- Snowy White: Guitars
- Andy Fairweather-Low: Bass guitar, guitar, backing vocals
- Peter Wood: keyboards, organ, synthesizers
- Nick Glennie-Smith: Keyboards, organ, synthesizers
- Graham Broad: Drums, electronic percussion
- Stan Farber: Backing vocals (credited as Jim Farber)
- Joe Chemay: Backing vocals
- Jim Haas: Backing vocals
- John Joyce: Backing vocals

Others:
- The Rundfunk Orchestra, directed by Michael Kamen
- The Rundfunk Choir
- The Marching Band of the Combined Soviet Forces in Germany (alternatingly credited on the 2003 reissue DVD as The Military Orchestra of the Soviet Army) and the Red Army Chorus
- Paddy Moloney (member of The Chieftains. Listed in album credits, but contribution is unknown)

Tracklist:
01. "In the Flesh" by Scorpions
02. "The Thin Ice" by Ute Lemper & Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
03. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)" by Roger Waters; sax solo by Garth Hudson
04. "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" by Roger Waters
05. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Cyndi Lauper; guitar solos by Rick DiFonzo & Snowy White, synth solo by Thomas Dolby
06. "Mother" by Sinéad O'Connor & The Band; accordion by Garth Hudson, vocals by Rick Danko & Levon Helm; acoustic instruments by The Hooters.
07. "Goodbye Blue Sky" by Joni Mitchell & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir ; flute by James Galway
08. "Empty Spaces/What Shall We Do Now?" by Bryan Adams, Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
09. "Young Lust" by Bryan Adams, guitar solos by Rick DiFonzo & Snowy White
10. "Oh My God - What a Fabulous Room" by Jerry Hall (intro to "One of My Turns")
11. "One of My Turns" by Roger Waters
12. "Don't Leave Me Now" by Roger Waters
13. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3)" by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
14. "The Last Few Bricks"
15. "Goodbye Cruel World" by Roger Waters
16. "Hey You" by Paul Carrack
17. "Is There Anybody Out There?" by The Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir; classical guitars by Rick DiFonzo & Snowy White
18. "Nobody Home" by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, guitar solos by Snowy White
19. "Vera" by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
20. "Bring the Boys Back Home" by The Rundfunk, Band of the Combined Soviet Forces in Germany & Red Army Chorus
21. "Comfortably Numb" by Van Morrison, Roger Waters & The Band & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, guitar solos by Rick DiFonzo & Snowy White
22. "In the Flesh" by Roger Waters, Scorpions, the Rundfunk Orchestra and Choir
23. "Run Like Hell" by Roger Waters and Scorpions
24. "Waiting for the Worms" by Roger Waters, Scorpions and the Rundfunk Orchestra and Choir
25. "Stop" by Roger Waters
26. "The Trial" by The Rundfunk Orchestra and Choir
- featuring:
* Tim Curry as the Prosecutor
* Thomas Dolby as the Teacher
* Ute Lemper as the Wife
* Marianne Faithfull as the Mother
* Albert Finney as the Judge
25. "Outside The Wall"
26. "The Tide Is Turning" [Roger Waters, Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Van Morrison and Paul Carrack]

Features:
- Direct Scene Access
- Interactive Menu

Extra:
- Documentary
- Set And Character Design
- Unseen Footage

Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)
Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)
Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)
Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)
Roger Waters - The Wall: Live In Berlin (2003)


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