"I started to think that maybe there is something in the story of 'The Wall,' which is about this one guy...that could be seen as an allegory for the way nations behave towards one another, or religions behave towards one another," Waters, who last toured to play "The Dark Side of the Moon" in 2007-08, tells Billboard.com. "In other words, could the piece be developed to describe a broader, more universal condition than we did in 1980 and I did in 1990 in Berlin?
"So I started to think about it more and more, and I suddenly had a few more ideas and I thought, 'Maybe if we did this with this song and that with that song, we could achieve that.' And so I started jotting a few things down on paper, and eventually I said, 'Y'know what? I'm gonna do this...' "
Waters and his band begin "The Wall" tour on Sept. 15 in Toronto. The show, which has only been performed 31 times before, will play 36 dates in North America -- including two-night stands in Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles -- then move on to Europe for another 57 dates beginning in March. Waters says he'd like to take the show to other territories, including South America.
Waters' "The Wall" will be a theatrical opus like Pink Floyd's performances in 1980 and Waters' all-star presentation to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in July 1990. The centerpiece will be an actual wall -- 240 feet wide and 35 feet tall -- that's constructed during the first half of the show and knocked over towards the end. The shows will also feature Gerald Scarfe-designed puppets that "will articulate more than they did in the last show," according to Waters, as well as extensive projections and other special effects.
"The engineering and technology has gotten better, especially the projection techniques," Waters notes. "We can make a very bright image across the width of the arena, which we couldn't do before."
On the musical end, Waters says this version of "The Wall" will be closer to the Pink Floyd performances than to the 1990 exposition at Berlin's Potsdamer Pltaz, which had to be arranged to accommodate his special guests. "Because it's so visual, it means playing to clicks a lot," Waters explains. "I personally don't mind that. I'm happy to sacrifice the freedom of guitar players flailing about, doing anythign they want, on the altar of creating a show that moves people and that's political and so on. It's a piece of theater, so it has to be controlled...The lighting and the visual content has to be in sync with the music that we're making. That doesn't worry me at all."
Despite the more "universal" focus of the piece, Waters does not anticipate changing "The Wall's" songs very much; he's considered with the idea of swapping out a reference to Britannia in "Waiting For the Worms" for a more inclusive "us" but is leaning against it. Otherwise he's confident the work will hold up as well now as it did when it was releaed in November of 1979.
"I thought it was a great piece of work," Waters says of "The Wall," which spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and has been certified 23-times platinum. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording -- Non-Classical. "I was a bit surprised it was so successful, but I was really proud of it. I was proud of everythign we did on it. It was ridiculously successful."
Waters adds that he hasn't thought about filming or recording during the tour but says that "it's very unlikely we won't film it at some point." Pink Floyd's production was documented aurally on "Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81," which was released in 2000.