Beginning at 7:50 pm, the pre-show music bellowed through the YUM! Center with offerings from Neil Young, Billie Holiday, John Lennon, Sam Cooke, and The Impressions while a black mannequin stood alone on the stage wearing a black leather coat and aviator shades. As the pre-show music drew to an end, two Nazi guards dragged a limp “Pink” to the stage, the center of the rock opera’s story of oppression, abandonment, and revival.
Roger Waters energetically took to the stage moments later in a simple black tee and black jeans. Assisted by his two guards, Waters takes on the role of a Nazi officer dressing in the displayed coat and sunglasses for the opening song, “In the Flesh”. Bright pyrotechnics showered the stage in white light throughout the first song with load booms and complimentary lighting schemes.
As the theatric filled musical progressed, Waters used every opportunity to showcase the imagery and symbolism associated with the album and movie of the same title. Sayings such as, “I Believe”, “Should I trust the government”, and “Them. Not. Us.” graced the wall from the start to finish. Many words and sayings insinuated liberal thoughts along with a couple F-Bombs for good measure.
Robbie Wyckoff took lead on the vocals normally sung by David Gilmour. Jon Joyce, Kip Lennon, Mark Lennon, and Pat Lennon kept the harmonies smooth and light as back-up vocalists. Waters' son, Harry played the Hammond organ while Dave Kilminster took lead guitar, banjo, and bass. Graham Broad on drums, percussions, and ukulele complimented G.E. Smith (guitar, bass, mandolin) and Jon Carin (keys, guitar, lap steel guitar)
“Another Brick in the Wall” Part II brought 15 talented kiddos to the stage wearing tees that said, “Fear Builds Walls”, to help with the vocals on the song. The audience was focused on the children as a larger than life puppet with sharp red eyes descended as the “teacher” to which the children said, “we don’t need no education”. The children were able to meet and rehearse with Waters at the 5 pm sound check and received a glowing review from Waters following their performance.
Following the exit of children, Roger changed from bass to acoustic guitar and with the help of technology, sang along with a re-mastered recording of a young Roger Waters; appropriate for “Mother”. The feelings, thoughts, torments, and happiness were clearly visible on Waters’ face as the song progressed. To add to the quintessence of “Mother”, a life size image of a woman, arms folded, appeared to the left of the stage. Decorated with polka-dots and what appear to bricks, the woman embodies the feelings of the over protective mother “Pink” endured as a child.
At one point, Roger is seen sitting in a living room set, lowered from the left side of the wall to sing “Don’t Leave Me” To finish the first album of The Wall, “Goodbye Cruel World” entranced the audience since the symbolic wall is built, covering the entirety of the stage and hiding the band and vocalists from view.
For 25 minutes, concert goers were able to leave their seats, grab a beverage and a snack during the intermission. During the set break, images and stories of those who fell in service to their country were proudly displayed on the wall, a nod from Roger to the families of service men and women.
Once the break finished, a single blue light shone through the single removed brink to begin “Hey You”, randomly fishing through the crowd. One highlight of the show which transfixed the crowd was the pure music of “Comfortably Numb”; the awe of seeing Water perform this jam left people quiet until the end when everyone stood.
Traditionally, the pig must fly at every Floydesque show and Waters ensured this tradition with a black pig flying high atop the audience with red glaring eyes. The pig flew during “The Show Must Go On” adorned with Roger’s opinions sprawled across the back, sides, and belly of the pig; “what’s with people”, No government”, and “Too much control” added context to the message of The Wall.
Following “The Show Must Go On”, and the retirement of the pig for the evening, an encore of “In the Flesh” flowed into “Run Like Hell”. Waters introduced the song by asking, "Are there any paranoids out there", while the word paranoid jolted onto the wall. The percussion of this song literally shook the roof while the musicians clearly played as hard as they could. All eyes were fixated on the stage while ears enjoyed the awesomeness of what they were witnessing.
The show’s climatic ending during “The Trial” sees a replica bomber fly through the air and into the wall, crumbling the symbolic efforts of “Pink” to keep the outside world at bay. Appropriately, the concert officially ended with “Outside the Wall” where the entire cast, if you will, joined Waters outside the fallen wall for a final compilation.
Articulate attention to the music, the effects, props, and the enjoyment of the audience came together in perfect tune with the assistance of so many, true professionals, for what was a once in lifetime opportunity.