I watched Pink Floyd’s trippy rock opera The Wall on VHS at least a dozen times as a kid. So when I heard that Roger Waters was dragging The Wall Live stage show out of the 1980s and bringing it to Atlanta last month, I had to buy two tickets. Nostalgia compelled me to lay my dollars down, and judging from the graying, glassy-eyed rednecks shuffling around the merch table, I wasn’t the only one. I even bought a $7 Budweiser from one of the glad-handed vendors, who were as exclusively black as the crowd was white.
The lights go down and fascist soldiers drag a limp effigy of a vulnerable rock star into the spotlight. Reefer smoke and old-man flatulence drift through the air, and Roger Waters proves that one man’s magnetic narcissism can fill an entire arena.
The technical effects are fantastic. Video projectors spray ironic anti-government and anti-consumerist slogans onto a massive wall that is gradually built, brick by brick, across the stage. A gigantic inflatable pig floats over the crowd, emblazoned with the words TRUST US, a Shell Oil logo, a hammer and sickle, dollar signs, and right behind the pig’s unclean chops, a gleaming Star of David. The ADL just loves that sort of gag.
So where is Waters going with all of this?