Broadway Cinema, Letchworth
It’s a performance of ”The Wall” interspersed with Roger making a road trip from Blighty across France where he visits the first World War grave of his Grandfather, eventually arriving at the Anzio/Monte Cassino war memorial where his father died in action.
The massive stage show and concert with crack band features the likes of our Rog alongside Snowy White, Dave Kilminster and GE Smith on guitars. The Waters’ pipes are in good form, and there’s a “Dave” replacement for second vocals and a spot of reinforcement on the odd high note. Fair enough. He’s never struck me as an especially charismatic bloke but he fronts the ensemble really well and it must have been a hell of a moment for him personally. Guitar nerds will appreciate Snowy using a Dave Gilmore Stratocaster model – surely a (possibly personal) not so mute tribute to the man it now appears to take 3 top players to replace? The band recreate the album as superbly as you’d expect. The lighting, images and overall show is mind boggling and it must have been quite an occasion to be there. The menacing fascistic uniforms and many of the Gerald Scarfe graphics and puppets from the original film and stage show are all present and correct, and are as menacing as ever. Of course if you don’t like the album you wouldn’t enjoy it, but then why would you go to see a concert of an album you don’t like? It’s not going to win any new fans for the album, but if you like it or the Floyd this is well worth seeing in a decent cinema where the sheer scale of it can be reproduced.
The concert and film is dedicated to the memory of those who died as a result of state oppression from full war, repressive dictatorial regimes or over zealous armed response cock ups such as the death of Jean Charles de Menez. We are left in no doubt that Rog is seriously pissed off about this. His companion on the road trip observes that Rog’s father also never knew his father, meaning two generations of Waters’ grew up without a father, a fact I found very moving. Roger reads an old letter to his mother from a colleague of his Dad on the beach at Anzio, and weeps. The inevitable presence of a camera crew hints at overindulgence but it is a striking moment nonetheless and had this viewer lamenting the amount of dust in the cinema.
You can probably guess…reassuringly (in the interests of the world becoming a more predictable and stable place) there was a dickhead on the row in front who talked all the way through it. The Broadway is a lovely cinema, an original art deco building beautifully restored and run as a non profit making operation by the local authority (and beloved by @drakeygirl of this parish, though sadly not there tonight). On arrival a nice young man pressed a glass of sturdy red wine into my palm on the way on. Could it be better?
It made me think..
It’s a pretty powerful film/concert/message. Roger’s own personal demons clearly drive him much harder than do mine, tending towards stoic acceptance of what a lousy world it can be, but I did find my idealistic younger self popping up and wondering, what if, just if, everyone wanted to stop this sort of thing? We could do it, couldn’t we?