Roger Waters to Tear Down The Wall Live in Chicago
After reading the Toronto Sun review of Roger Water’s Wednesday night performance of The Wall at the Air Canada Centre, I’ll definitely be attending one of the Chicago shows next week. Roger Waters will perform The Wall live from start to finish four nights at the United Center (Sept. 20-21st & Sept. 23-24th).
According to the article, the show “spares no expense in terms of theatrics and pyrotechnics” and the columnist from the Toronto Sun said “it must have been mind-blowing for those in altered states.”
The more I think about it, I can’t imagine skipping the opportunity to witness what I’ve wanted to see since I was 13 years old.
Flashback to the fall of 1979 when I was in 8th grade. We did pretty innocent things like go roller skating on Friday nights, we had a little pocket change from paper routes and babysitting, we hung out at the mall arcade and played Atari and wiffleball at home. I thought I had a handle on all the music that mattered at that time, hearing them at the roller rink; songs like YMCA, We Are Family, Highway to Hell, Lovin’, Touchin’, Sqeezin’, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough and the biggest of all biggies, My Sharona.
And then Pink Floyd released the double album, The Wall, in November of ’79.
Talk about a wake-up call. An epic rock opera that told a dark and mysterious story of pain, isolation and insanity; conjured nightmarish realities ; each song building toward the next in the story of Pink. I wasn’t the only one to become enamored by it’s lure; it quickly became the Cult of the Eighth Grade. “We Don’t Need No Education” changed every kid in our entire junior high, transporting us out of suburbia into a world where parents didn’t just ground you, they beat you; where real life really wasn’t just paper routes and whiffleball.
True story. The Wall literally caused chaos in my Junior High School.
One day, a bunch of kids in the eighth grade decided that the cafeteria lunch lady was mean and everyone was going to pay for hot lunch with pennies, a brilliantly passive-agressive, junior high move in its day. It apparently got to the point where the lunch lady had to get the principal cause counting pennies was infuriating her and students were soon being taken out of the hot lunch line and marched to The Office.
What happened next wasn’t planned at all…
As kids were being shuttled to The Office for paying with pennies, table by table, kids started chanting “We Don’t Need No Education, We Don’t Need No Thought Control” and slamming lunch trays to drill the beat home. Every table, every kid in the cafeteria, somehow caught on to this and by the time we got to “Hey! Teachers! Leave Them Kids Alone” everyone was yelling loudly and substituting our Principal’s last name for the word “teachers.” Nobody could be singled out at this point, it was an unplanned unity of all kids.
Complete lunchroom lockdown after that for weeks. Near suspensions. Lots of detentions. Junior high rebellion in it’s highest non-violent form. But it bonded us to a moment in time, a pop culture bit of music history that bubbles to the surface every time the songs are heard. Nothing musically has ever made such a statement in my personal life.
Going to see this 30th anniversary tour of The Wall at the United Center will probably go down as one of the best concerts I’ve ever gone to. This is the work of a genius, based on Roger Water’s own childhood and early adulthood real experiences and all bigger than life. He’s 67 years old now and finally gets to see The Wall performed with full mind-bending reality, exactly how he envisioned it to be performed, courtesy of modern technology.
Seeing The Wall live is an obligation owed to a former version of myself, the eighth grader who wants to see him tear down the wall once and for all. See you there. If you miss it, you might regret it for the next 30 years.