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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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BB Piano
So Roger Waters was amazing. Same old same old of really enjoying it once I was there and watching.

I left around 4:30pm, and TomTom was spot on (as per usual) with both traffic and the route time. I even got the Merc to 44mpg as I was driving somewhat relaxedly, and the traffic was keeping me around the economic butter zone of 60mph.

So I arrived around 6pm, and found the car park really easily. The Dome was really well signposted, as were the car parks - no idea why I got lost previous times. I hung on in the car until 6:30pm. I headed in with the 450D, but was stopped at the first ticket and security check and told I couldn't enter principally because of the long lens (I had the Tamron 18-270mm in the bag). I was told I could leave the camera in a locker there, but I opted to take it back to the car for minimum fuss, and swapped it for my 5+ year old Lumix TZ3 (permanently loaned to Lu). I was a bit miffed by that, but more on that later, and didn't let it ruin my enjoyment. On reflection I should have asked what camera would stop me getting in. C'est la vie.

I grabbed a beer - amazingly there were no queues - but wasn't hungry, so opted to find my seat. There were a handful of people arriving just by themselves, so I didn't feel so bad. There were a number of classic Floyd fans (with haircuts and overall style unchanged since the 70s) as well as a number of business men still in suits, cradling their Blackberries - London can be a funny place to see gigs.

The only fly in the ointment were three guys chavs sat behind me who managed to keep up the most inane banter throughout the entire show. Somehow I seem to attract these sorts of people like a magnet, whether it's at gigs or the cinema. Fortunately the show was mostly loud, REALLY WONDERFULLY AND DELICIOUSLY LOUD, and even though they were still chatting by SHOUTING at each other the show mostly drowned them out. Said chav banter comprised everything from spotting any vaguely attractive woman that entered the arena (along with description in rather nauseating detail), character assassinating any Floyd fan that looked a bit ridiculous, through to their (tedious) technical evaluation of each element of the show. I was mentally facepalm-ing throughout the show, and despairing for humanity that such knob ends existed. More to the point, why pay close to £100 a ticket, and then talk throughout? It's bad enough at the cinema.

But yep, aside from that it was still 99% amazing. Mr. Waters was in fine form, and full of mischief. For one of the tracks he played alongside a recording of himself from the first live performance in London, almost bang on 30 years ago. He said something to the effect of "oh look, there's miserable little fucked up Roger". He then referred to himself at the end as having been famous for hating playing to live audiences - historically related at least in part it seems to audience members who behaved like pricks, which is ironic based on the three chavs - but that he now loves it, and is a reformed character. He also said that he hadn't played The Wall live in London for 30 years. Can that be true? I thought it toured the world some years ago. In any event, it was good to hear that Roger has mellowed over the years. I felt some sympathy for the miserable Roger of 30 years ago that came out with albums like The Wall and Amused to Death, but was also lifted by his own ability to poke fun at himself.

The show itself was amazing, and famously as per previous versions of The Wall they actually built a wall on the stage throughout the first half that blocked off the audience from the performers. There were several groups of massive projectors that projected various things onto the wall (while being built, and once finished in the second half), including footage from the film, and even some current and spot on political commentary (that got massive cheers from the crowd). Along with the wall and the projected footage there were also various enormous puppets, including the famous floating pig. I couldn't fault the production, it was eminently theatrical, and really well done.

Getting home was fairly straightforward. I was out fairly quickly, and there was no queue at the car park amazingly. There was a road closure on the way home, but TomTom's (amazing helpful) HD Traffic had already identified it at the start and rerouted. It was a quicker and less economic drive home, made all the more pleasurable with cruise control. I arrived home almost bang on midnight.

I took a few photos throughout, but it was hard to see whether they were any good at the time. I was quite far from the stage, but not as far as some. I know from previous experience with the Lumix that it's worth taking a few photos of the same thing, as a large percentage (30-50%) of shots are blurred in gig type environments. It's great that it has 10x zoom, but the performance is less than brilliant, especially in low light. When I got back and downloaded them I lamented not having had the 450D, as the shots were fairly dreadful, with lots of ISO noise and blurring. It makes me wonder about getting the current replacement for the TZ3, or whatever make/model can improve on this performance, assuming things in the compact camera world are any better. I'm guessing that bridge cameras look a little like DSLRs, so I have no idea whether you can get those into gigs, and I suspect superzoom will compromise quality too much anyway. So it would be good to know what the state of the 10x compact camera market is, and whether things are substantially better from a gig photography perspective.


^Here's the O2 arena before it filled up. The seats went right up into the gods.


^The mixing desk. More equipment running the projectors.


^The teacher puppet, along with a group of children. Roger seemed to be poking fun at Apple, or perhaps consumerism in general, with various "i" words. More on that later.


^Here's Roger playing with himself, so to speak, with a monochrome projection of him playing The Wall from 30 years ago, as mentioned above.


^Note the "No Fucking Way", which I believe was in response to "Should we trust our government?". Too fucking right.


^This photo doesn't remotely do it justice, but this was a squadron of CG bombers that almost appeared to fly out of the wall - there were numerous 3D type projections that did a surprisingly good job of fooling the eye.

The bomb bay doors opened and various political and capitalist symbols fell. For me at least it was quite a stirring representation of how we are bombarded by all this crap, and a strong desire to get away from it all was sparked in my inner hippy.


^Mr. Waters at 10x zoom. He's in great condition!


^The ex-wife puppet, if memory serves.


^The final brick in the wall, as Roger is about to vanish prior to the intermission.


^A somewhat...


^... fuller stadium, at intermission.


^"Bring the Boys Back Home". This was prefixed by photos and text about people who have died in both classic war and terrorism, including Jean Charles de Menezes.


^Roger performs above the wall.


^The famous flying pig.


^And more of Roger's various iStatements, presumably a commentary on consumerism.


^iPay (certainly for Apple products).


^Roger becomes the Nazi-esque character.


^The Pink Floyd puppet character, famous from the film, who eventually falls from the wall for The Trial.


^And that's pretty much it, with a collapsed wall, as the core musicians gather on the stage...


^... and end things with a short acoustic set. Roger says his goodbyes.

All 51 photos are here at Flickr, but beware the poor quality.

An inestimable thanks to Augusto who gave me the ticket for the performance.

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This has made me want to dig out our DVD of the wall.

And jolly good it is too! :-)

glad you had a great time

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