The Australian Pink Floyd Show: The Wall (Wembley Arena, Wednesday 29th April 2009)

The opening accordion introduction resulting from the wrapping around of “Outside the Wall” at the arse end of the album, opens proceedings, but wait a minute they’ve somehow drifted off into a rendition of “Waltzing Matilda”; they get back on track just in time to be drowned out by the opening power chord of “In The Flesh”.

The Oz Floyd are meticulous in their goal of reproducing an accurate live facsimile of Roger’s magnum opus. The energy of the opening track is in full evidence, especially behind the vast array of drums setup in front of Paul Bonney. I was going to say that he had more drums than you could shake a stick at, but that would be a particularly poor metaphor as he was in fact shaking sticks at them in a most accomplished manner.

The fact that they played “The Wall” in its entirety, competently matching the original score leaves me little to blog about as I’m sure you’re familiar with the work. If you’re not stop reading my blog and go and get yourself a copy of “Smash Hits”, or whatever it’s called these days.

The Floyd only originally performed “The Wall” in a select few venues including (from memory) New York, Los Angeles, Dortmund and London. The original show was an immense theatrical performance with gigantic inflatable puppets and a huge wall constructed during the show that by the conclusion of “Goodbye Cruel World” completely segregated the band from their audience. Roger took the theatrical elements of the show to its ultimate level when I saw him perform it in Berlin in 1990 replete with helicopters, limousines and marching bands.

The Australian Pink Floyd do not have the resources to imitate this, but despite the brilliance of Roger’s theatre, the music is more than enough to stand on its on two feet. That’s not to say that the Australian Pink Floyd are completely bereft of props, they have a brace of fine inflatable pigs, not to mention a large pink kangaroo and some impressive lasers.

I was relieved that the music followed the slightly different live version rather than the studio album. This means that it included the extended version of “What Shall We Do Now”, the additional guitar and keyboard solo’s at the end of “Another Brick In the Wall Part 2” and that little overture of the first half at the end of “Another Brick In The Wall Part 3”. To correctly mimic the live shows they also only introduced “Young Lust” in the first half with no further audience banter.

The intermission after “Goodbye Blue Sky” was followed by an equally competent and delightful second half of the album. The guitar solo for “Comfortably Numb” was handled with aplomb and much to the delight of the audience as a new level of respect was gained for guitarist Damian Darlington by those who had not seen him before.

The second half of the show features the more complex sounds with heavier orchestration and special effects which gave the band a larger reliance on tapes as a lot of this could not be fully recreated live.

As no physical wall was constructed on stage the final destruction of the wall was depicted with an impressive animation on the large rear screen. Other films were also used throughout the show with recreations of Gerald Scarfes original animations for “Good Bye Blue Sky”, “What Shall We Do Now” and “The Trial”.

However unlike the original shows we didn’t have to bugger off after the wall came down. Our hosts soon reappeared and continued to entertain us with the following additional set:

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part 1-5)
The Great Gig In The Sky
One Of These Days
Wish You Were Here
Brain Damage / Eclipse
As the final strains of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” faded an image of Syd, its inspiration, adorned the large screen. The opening piano for “The Great Gig in the Sky” started up and the pictures of Syd were replaced with a respectful montage of images of Richard Wright, reminding the audience of the sad loss of Floyd’s keyboardist last year.

The tuning radio introduction to “Wish You Were Here” was also ozzied up with snippets of Australian soap opera theme’s and even a quick snatch of “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo” before neatly segueing into another perfectly copied Floyd standard.

3 full hours of Floyd genius never veering away from those 1970’s classics.


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