Roger Waters Taking 'The Wall' Across Europe
Roger Waters is taking a new production of "The Wall" on the road in 2011, with 28 European dates confirmed.
U.S. arena dates, running September to December 2010, were confirmed last month and sold out within hours according to a statement. It's the first outing for "The Wall" in 20 years.
Waters appeared at a press conference at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London today (May 27) to discuss the new tour, as well as express his distrust of social media and politicians.
The former Pink Floyd member came up with the concept and songs for the semi-autobiographical 1979 double-album, which the RIAA says is certified 23-times platinum (based on counting each disc separately).
Despite its popularity, it has only been performed 31 times by Pink Floyd (during the 1980-81 tour) and then by Waters in 1990 to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall.
"The last tour that we did I really enjoyed," said Waters. "We did the whole of 'Dark Side of the Moon' [during 2006-2008] and I was sort of toying with the idea of maybe going for one more."
He decided on touring "The Wall" after his fiancée suggested it and "put the idea in the back of my mind," he said.
"I started to talk to the team and said do you think we could actually do it?" he explained. He was told that technological developments meant that it was a viable touring proposition.
The new show will feature a 240ft wide and 35ft tall wall and large-scale projections - Waters says modern projection systems allow them to beam images on to the whole wall, unlike previous shows - as well as dynamic new video graphics and visual images. It will also feature the famous crashing aeroplane, huge inflatable puppets and pyrotechnics, and Waters has been collaborating with illustrator Gerald Scarfe, who worked on the original.
Asked about the meaning of the album today, Waters explained the original concept of "fear and rebellion" and a "rebellion against fear."
"I see it as an allegory of the way nations act towards each other now," he added.
He went on to describe changes in technology and communications such as the Internet as a "double-edged sword," identifying himself as an optimist but expressing concern, too.
"The downside is the technology gets used as a tool of propaganda by the people who run our lives, the rich and powerful who tell us what to do and get us to consume," he said.
Waters was also unimpressed with the use of social media by many people. "I think they may be Twittering their lives away to some extent," he said. "I think technology can be so seductive." Apparently he only get a cell phone a few years ago and said he still refuses read SMS texts.
The revamped rogerwaters.com website is running an appeal to relatives of those lost in war to submit photographs, which Waters will project on the wall for the tour as an "act of remembrance."
Waters said he was "ashamed" of the U.K. government's participation in the Iraq War, and contrasted the "unnecessary wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan with World War II, in which his father was killed in 1944 when Waters was five months old.
He also railed against former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair, and said he found it "iniquitous" that Blair now earns serious money on the lecture circuit having taking the country to war.
Despite living in Manhattan for the past decade, Waters said he also has issues with the U.S. "I'm bombarded with demands that I consume," he said. "That is all that's expected of you if you are an American citizen."
"That's the way the population of the United States of America is kept under control," he added, claiming that the media is used as a propaganda tool and that U.S. citizens are "screwed rotten every day of their lives by the people who run the country and lobby groups."
Waters also took aim at African states such as Sierra Leone for the gap they have created between the top and bottom of society. He added that social democrat politicians in northern Europe have "shown us a better way than rampant regulation-free capitalism."
The Live Nation tour will launch at Lisbon Atlantico Pavilion on March 21, 2011, and call at: Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Arnhem in the Netherlands, Budapest, Prague, Lodz in Poland, Moscow, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, London, Manchester, Dublin, Antwerp, Paris, Mannheim, Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin and Dusseldorf.
The tour, scheduled for March to June, currently has three nights at the O2 Arena in London.