The day of the concert was bright and sunny. A perfect day for the concert. As I got off the U-bann in East Berlin you could see Roger Waters' Wall from miles distant, stretching across the landscape, a mammoth white expanse across the skyline with it's huge cranes reaching out into the blue sky like the tentacles of an octopus. The excitement was contagious the closer to Potsdam Platz we got, and soon the throngs of people were streaming down every street and converging upon the entry gates.
A crowd of thousands waited hours before the gates for entry into the Platz at 2 PM. It seemed like Woodstock revisited, but better, for people from around the world, speaking many different languages came together in peace and harmony for this one fantastic event. Before the gate, bags were searched for recorders, cameras, alcohol and glass bottles.
At the gate everyone was given a ÔPink' mask and a leaflet for fan-info and the crowd bunched in the thousands at the gates, emptied like the grains of sand in an hourglass onto the acres and acres of Potsdam Platz. All were dwarfed by the many light and sound towers and the huge white monolith wall which stretched to the right and to the left into the distance.
But also on stage, to entertain the crowd were various bands. Among them, The Chieftains from Ireland, and the reunion of The Band, who played all of their old great hits. They were really great! (I'd love to have a tape of their performance if anyone can get me one, and also an audience tape of The Wall concert itself!) I wonder why their music wasn't a part of The Wall concert album? It was rather disheartening that most of the crowd were too young to remember The Band and didn't know their music, or appreciate the significance of their reunion after so many years after having disbanded. Many of course did, and we all danced to their hits.
Finally 10 PM came and went, but it still was not completely dark yet. I was amazed how late the sunset. About 9 PM, Michael and I had made our move from the side front of the wall, and skirted through the thronging masses of people toward the center and up front nearer to the stage. I at the control tower as far as 100 meters from the stage and the front. We waited there until it was really dark.
From its beginning, the concert got better and better as each song was played. You wondered how anything could top the last song, but then the next song does! I have no words to explain how the combination of the music and the visuals stupefied the senses, nor the emotions this spectacular event evoked. No video could possibly have captured it, you simply had to have been there!
During "Another Brick In the Wall Part's 1 & 2", and "The Happiest Days of Our Lives," the Teacher, immense and ominous was inflated above and over the wall, as video clips of The Wall movie and stills were flashed across the circular screen high above and behind the stage. (The spectacle was thrilling, though it might have been much more enjoyable without Cyndi Lauper's vocals! )
You could only empathize with him at how he must have felt. He's such a perfectionist and putting a show together of this magnitude was amazing in itself. During "Another Brick In the Wall Part's 1 & 2", and "The Happiest Days of Our Lives," the Teacher, immense and ominous was inflated above and over the wall, as video clips of The Wall movie and stills were flashed across the circular screen high above and behind the stage. (The spectacle was thrilling, though it might have been much more enjoyable without Cyndi Lauper's vocals! )
Then again, during Sinead O'Connors vocals on "Mother," the power on the sound went out. Again the glitch was only a mild hindrance of the overall event and it was soon overcome and the song continued. In the wall, on the right and left sides, were huge video screens where close ups of the stage show were shown for those not close enough to see well And again, halfway back towards the rear of the crowd, mounted upon huge light towers were more mammoth video screens and speakers for those at the back of the unbelievably immense crowd of 500,000 people! Everything possible was done to allow everybody to enjoy the show as much as possible!
As the concert had built to a peak of frenzy, The Scorpions limo again drove across the stage and the surrogate band played "In the Flesh" on a small stage. But this time Roger, dressed in the full military uniform regalia of a Field Marshal General stood upon a large platform above complete with crossed hammer insignia and body guards. Hundreds of storm troopers then deployed from about 20 troop carrier trucks which drove upon and across the stage. The troops formed in ranks with huge crossed hammer banners and flags, as Roger screamed out this classic song. Then, as "Run Like Hell" began, a huge evil looking pig rose from behind the left top of the wall, crossed hammer emblems and all. It was so huge that it toppled down the top-most bricks as it broke through the top of the wall. With the hundreds of thousands in the audience holding up their Pink face masks or their arms in crossed fists above their heads, and Roger ranting with his crossed fist salute and the troops marching with banners across the stage, it felt almost like the Nazi Nuremberg rally revisited.
During all of this first half, the cranes and lifts were in constant motion, hoisting huge clumps bricks, and moving lights and cameras. It was all so complex, with so many things going on at once! And because of so much sensory stimuli going on at once, it was hard to keep track of it all. No video can even possibly come close to capturing this event. The atmosphere, filled with excitement was contagious. There was an electricity in the air you could actually feel! You had to have been there and have witnessed it all to even minimally understand and experience all the nuance, symmetry and multimedia frenzy. There was so much sensory input and brain candy happening at once that no-one attending the show could even assimilate it all, let alone anything on video.
From what some may have termed a troubled beginning, The Wall carried on through to the end without a hitch. It was musically and theatrically a spectacle of sight and sound unequaled anywhere in the world EVER!
No words can describe this event, no video can show the complexity, atmosphere or mesmerizing multimedia occurring simultaneously. No tape or recording can capture the stimulation of emotions this concert evoked. All that can be said is thank you Roger Waters for that once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.
The Show Ends with the Wall come down!