Sound — 8
Pink Floyd's "The Wall" remains one of the greatest rock concept albums of all time. The 1979 narrative record was a massive success when it first hit the shelves and has developed a cult following among multiple generations of listeners, which provided estranged Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters with the ideal opportunity to bring the album to audiences across four continents through a gigantic theatrical production and a backing lineup comprised of solid musicians. This is a task which Rogers previously embraced for the iconic 1990 all-star concert between West and East Germany, yet never on such a large scale as this trek would prove to be. Roger Waters' "The Wall" tour launched in 2010 and rapidly expanded due to high demand, ultimately extending the tour to a three year run that concluded in 2013 - such success wasn't entirely surprising but was certainly vindicating for such a veteran musician to be able to head out for three years on a sold out tour hitting arenas across the globe.
The audiences had spoken, which has led to the anticipated concert release from Roger Waters. The aptly titled "The Wall" captures performances from the course of "The Wall" tour, sharing the soundtrack which appeared on the 2014 concert film of the same name and has since been produced by Nigel Godrich, recognized for his previous work with names like Radiohead, Beck and Paul McCartney. Ironically, it's Godrich's production which is the main weakness sonically on Roger's "The Wall"; the mix ends up sounding incredibly muddy and drowns out even the crashing pyrotechnics which cue "In the Flesh?" as the opening number. When the main man steps up to the microphone with acoustic accompaniment for "Mother," the production actually comes together rather well, yet it's during the heavier moments ala "Young Lust" and "Run Like Hell" that we miss out on the full spectrum of the performance. Musically there's not a bounty of expanded instrumentation or elaboration to be found here, which the dedicated Pink Floyd fans would want and hope for in a front-to-back live rendition of such a staple record. However, don't consider this to be a poor feature of this live release; it's as authentic as Waters and company could get to the original recordings without patching things up with the surviving members of Floyd and taking this show back out on the road.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics of Roger Waters on Pink Floyd's "The Wall" are well known and readily celebrated, especially considering their unfortunate relevance in today's society. As anyone who sits down and watches the film version of this live release could attest, the massive crowds who paid witness to this tour are often singing along word for word on songs other than "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" and "Hey You." Waters himself sounds in fine form throughout the course of this live compilation; his weathered approach to the main microphone actually compliments songs such as the aforementioned "Hey You" and "Waiting for the Worms," where he reaches towards some considerably high notes with passion. Robbie Wyckoff steps in for the songs and song portions that David Gilmour originally handled on "The Wall," such as the chorus in "Comfortably Numb" and "Young Lust," and does admirably well - not as well as David Gilmour would have, but that's beside the point. There's nothing to knock off vocally or otherwise here.
Overall Impression — 8
Roger Waters brought the full scale production of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" to hundreds of audiences over the course of his 2010-2013 tour and did so authentically, so it's only fitting that those moments be captured and released for the fans to enjoy for years to come. Roger Waters' "The Wall" isn't the perfect reproduction of the original that some may have been anticipating, nor are the studio edits up to par, however it is a fine two disc set that progressive rock advocates will be able to appreciate.