The Wall Tour (1980–81)

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The Wall Tour
Tour by Pink Floyd
Associated album The Wall
Start date 7 February 1980 (1980-02-07)
End date 17 June 1981 (1981-06-17)
Legs 2
No. of shows 31
Pink Floyd concert chronology

The Wall Tour was a concert tour by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd throughout 1980–1981 in support of their concept album The Wall.[1]

The tour was relatively small compared to previous tours for a major release, with only 31 shows in total. The tour was notable for its extensive use of stage theatrics, most notably a giant wall constructed across the stage to convey the sense of alienation present in both the album, and Roger Waters' personal feelings at the time.[1]

Background[edit]

Head of the 'wife' puppet; displayed at the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition

"I was struck by the thought that there was a huge wall, that you couldn't see, between me and the audience," explained Roger Waters. "Then I drew it and started to talk to people about it. And they thought I was mad, because my original idea was to start building a wall at the beginning of the show and, when it's finished, they can't see you or hear you any more, and then the show is over."[2]

The tour's costs were estimated to have reached US$1.5 million even before the first performance. The New York Times stated in its 2 March 1980 edition: "The Wall show remains a milestone in rock history though and there's no point in denying it. Never again will one be able to accept the technical clumsiness, distorted sound and meagre visuals of most arena rock concerts as inevitable." It concluded, "The Wall show will be the touchstone against which all future rock spectacles must be measured."[3]

Nick Mason explained:[4]

The problem, really, with the show is that it wasn't a touring show, so it had to be set up, and left, and taken down again. There were a lot of light operators and stage operators and wall builders. Because of the amount of stuff that went up and down, floated across, did this, did that, there were a lot of operators, rather than just people putting stuff up. And, of course we had lots of semis, as I believe you call them, because of the special lighting pods that we used which needed, each one needs a trailer unit to hold it. And the special stage, because of the way the stage was actually used, there was a sort of structural bracing piece for the building of the wall. So it was all special equipment, I mean it was absurdly expensive. It's not something other people will do, generally, because it's just so expensive to put on, it's simply not feasible. But it was great to have done it once.

The concert was performed just 31 times in four cities: Los Angeles (7 shows), Uniondale (5), Dortmund (8) and London (11). The primary 'tour' consisted of 18 shows in L.A., Uniondale and London in 1980, but the band performed a further eight shows in Dortmund (13–20 February 1981) and five more shows at Earl's Court (13–17 June) for filming, with the intention of integrating the shows into the upcoming movie.

The London shows are documented on the album Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81.

David Gilmour and Mason attempted to convince Waters to expand the show for a more lucrative, large-scale stadium tour, but because of the nature of the material (one of the primary themes is the distance between an artist and his audience) Waters balked at this.

Discord in the band[edit]

On the tour, relations between Gilmour, Mason, Waters and Richard Wright were at an all-time low: their four Winnebagos were parked in a circle with the doors facing away from the centre and an isolated Waters used his own vehicle to arrive at each venue as well as staying in separate hotels from Gilmour, Mason and Wright. Despite having left the band uppn completion of the album, Wright agreed to complete the tour as a salaried musician, and coincidentally ended up being the only member of the group who made any money from the venture.[5]

Concert film[edit]

Mannequin dressed in one of Waters' costumes from the tour; displayed at the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition

The idea to include live concert footage of any significant length for The Wall film was dropped shortly before the final shows took place.[1] There are conflicting statements regarding the professionally filmed footage. It had been widely believed that 'the wrong type of film' had been used and the results were dark and murky. Mark Fisher, partly responsible for designing the show said the footage was: 'very dark and horrible and boring and should be burned'.[6] Alan Parker himself said: '[the filming of the shows were] five blown opportunities'.[7] These rumours were partially scotched when the Channel 4 documentary 'Behind the Wall' (2000) used perfectly clear footage from the 1981 concerts. 27 February and 9 August 1980 concerts were shot on videotape. David Gilmour has stated in an interview that only three tracks were captured on film:[8]

About 20 minutes were shot – for example, "Hey You", where the camera was behind the wall focusing on us, then it went up and over the wall onto the audience. That's a great bit of footage. But only three tracks were filmed.

Roger Waters said on an episode of In the Studio with Redbeard which devoted two parts to the making of The Wall that "the London shows in 1980/81 were filmed and he had all of the footage and was thinking of putting it together to be released. However felt extremely reluctant to release the concerts on the video cassette format". He also would have to refer to the shows as a document of what went on.[citation needed]

In the December 2009 issue of Mojo, Roger Waters revealed that he had 'discovered a whole load of new footage of The Wall shows' and was busy 'editing it'. He explained that he assumed the cameramen decided to shoot more than they were asked to as they had the cameras and 'nobody [seemed] bothered'. It is presumed that this footage is 35mm film.[9] In Rolling Stone magazine, Waters expresses that the footage would "undoubtedly" be released to the public.

During Waters' tour of The Wall in 2010 footage of Waters performing his vocal parts in "Mother", labelled as being filmed in Earls Court in 1980, was projected onto the incomplete wall.

DVD of The Wall Immersion Box Set includes the professionally shot 35mm footage of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" at Earls Court on June 13, 1981. The footage seen on the bootleg Divided We Fall by Harvested DVD is from August 8, 1980.[10]

Personnel[edit]

  • David Gilmour – electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, mandolin on "Outside the Wall", musical director
  • Nick Mason – drums, percussion, acoustic guitar on "Outside the Wall"
  • Roger Waters – bass guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar on "Mother", clarinet on "Outside the Wall"

with:

  • Richard Wright – piano, organ, synthesiser, accordion on "Outside The Wall"
  • Andy Bown – bass guitar, acoustic guitar on "Outside the Wall"
  • Andy Roberts – guitars (1981 shows)
  • Snowy White – guitars (1980 shows)
  • Willie Wilson – drums, percussion
  • Clive Brooks – drums, percussion (Nick Mason's drum tech replaced Willie Wilson on 13 & 14 June 1981)
  • Peter Wood – keyboards, acoustic guitar on "Outside the Wall"
  • Joe Chemay – backing vocals
  • Stan Farber – backing vocals
  • Jim Haas – backing vocals
  • John Joyce – backing vocals
  • Gary Yudman – MC (New York and London)
  • Cynthia Fox – MC (Los Angeles)
  • Jim Ladd- MC (Los Angeles)
  • Ace Young – MC (Los Angeles)
  • Willi Thomczyk – MC (Dortmund)

Set list[edit]

The 1980/1981 set lists comprised the entire album, The Wall. The songs that did not make it onto the album, "What Shall We Do Now?", as well as an extra verse in "The Show Must Go On", and the then-untitled "The Last Few Bricks", were also played.

Set one[edit]

  1. "In the Flesh?"
  2. "The Thin Ice"
  3. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part I)"
  4. "The Happiest Days of Our Lives"
  5. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)"
  6. "Mother"
  7. "Goodbye Blue Sky"
  8. "Empty Spaces"
  9. "What Shall We Do Now?"
  10. "Young Lust"
  11. "One of My Turns"
  12. "Don't Leave Me Now"
  13. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part III)"
  14. "The Last Few Bricks"
  15. "Goodbye Cruel World"

Set two[edit]

  1. "Hey You"
  2. "Is There Anybody Out There?"
  3. "Nobody Home"
  4. "Vera"
  5. "Bring the Boys Back Home"
  6. "Comfortably Numb"
  7. "The Show Must Go On"
  8. "In the Flesh"
  9. "Run Like Hell"
  10. "Waiting for the Worms"
  11. "Stop"
  12. "The Trial"
  13. "Outside the Wall"

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
7 February 1980 Los Angeles United States Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
8 February 1980
9 February 1980
10 February 1980
11 February 1980
12 February 1980
13 February 1980
24 February 1980 Uniondale, New York Nassau Coliseum
25 February 1980
26 February 1980
27 February 1980
28 February 1980
Europe
4 August 1980 London England Earls Court
5 August 1980
6 August 1980
7 August 1980
8 August 1980
9 August 1980
13 February 1981 Dortmund West Germany Westfalenhallen
14 February 1981
15 February 1981
16 February 1981
17 February 1981
18 February 1981
19 February 1981
20 February 1981
13 June 1981 London England Earls Court
14 June 1981
15 June 1981
16 June 1981
17 June 1981

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c J.C. Maçek III (5 September 2012). "The Cinematic Experience of Roger Waters' 'The Wall Live'". PopMatters. 
  2. ^ Turner, Steve: "Roger Waters: The Wall in Berlin"; Radio Times, 25 May 1990; reprinted in Classic Rock #148, August 2010, p78
  3. ^ Rockwell, John (2 March 1980). "Pink Floyd's Great 'Wall'". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Kendall, Charlie (1984). "Shades of Pink – The Definitive Pink Floyd Profile". The Source Radio Show. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 285–286
  6. ^ "Interview with Mark Fisher". pinkfloyd-co.com. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Wall tours". pinkfloydonline.com. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Record Collector, March 2000
  9. ^ Mojo, Issue 193.
  10. ^ "Pink Floyd – The Wall 2012 Immersion box set". brain-damage.co.uk. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 

External links[edit]