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About 20 years ago, when I was a teenager, I was looking for something to keep me busy for the afternoon while on holidays at my Mum’s house. I picked up a video called The Wall. This was the beginning of a strong and stable love affair with Pink Floyd. I became what you can call a fan and this is the one band that has always stayed with me. I have all their albums and still enjoy listening to them.
So, when, last October, I read Zhu’s post about her going to see Roger Waters performing The Wall in Ottawa, I was extremely jealous (have a look at her pictures). After a bit of browsing online, I discovered that Roger Waters would be coming to Dublin in May. I rarely go to big concerts – they are often to expensive for my tight budget and I like small venues – but this is The Wall we are talking about. Moreover, I already have a Pink Floyd-related regret. In 1994, I bought a ticket to go to see Pink Floyd’s tour The Division Bell. However, I was still young, the concert was far away and I was supposed to go there alone, plus I didn’t like the latest album, so I sold my ticket. I have since seen the Pulse dvd; little did I know then that a good portion of the concert would be Dark Side of the Moon. Thus, this time it didn’t take me long to spend the money and buy a ticket; I knew I would regret it if I didn’t and one can do a little excess every so often, no?
I thus headed for Dublin on Monday. It was a bit of a trek to get there as it was also the day Obama chose to visit our capital. However, it was well worth every effort. I parked outside the city and took the Luas to get in. I was lucky to catch one of the last trams actually going into the city centre , as afterwards they were stopped because of road closures. After a brief stop at my hostel, I had to wait for another tram to bring me to the venue. The streets were really busy and it was amusing to try guessing who was there for Obama or for Waters, although not that difficult. The tram was delayed, so when it finally arrived, there were a big crowd getting in. We were all going to the same place. It was packed, but there was a great atmosphere. A group started singing “Vera” and I could feel the excitement growing in me.
I still had a bit of free time before the start of the concert, so I was able to explore the room and find the spot I would probably occupy later. I came across some friends I hadn’t seen for a while; I was getting even more hyper! Then… the lights went down… and the show began with a bang!
This is a video of the opening and “In the Flesh”; I didn’t make this one as I was to far from the stage at the time and decided to leave my friends to go back to my elected spot, close enough to the stage on the left hand-side (the down side was that I couldn’t see the screen in the middle of the stage). It seems to have been a good choice as my friends later complained of the sound’s poor quality: the sound did not travel well under the seated area…
What can I say? How can I say it? It was brilliant! I cried, I laughed, I sang, I screamed, I danced… It was just fantastic and I’m still under the spell. This is what you call a show! I also must say that it was quite appreciable to get a mature audience. Most of us were old fans and there was a sort of electricity going through the room; we were all sharing this amazing moment.
For the second half of the concert, I managed to get even closer to the stage and look who appeared from the wall only a few meters in front of me singing “Nobody Home”:
The 2010-11 show is very faithful to the one Pink Floyd put up 30 years ago. During the first half of the concert the wall is progressively build up until complete. The second half happens in front of a complete wall until it is finally torn down. Tear down the wall, tear down the wall, …
The props were there: the flying pig and the giant teacher muppet.
The lights and animations were incredible. There were projections on the wall from the Alan Parker film, but also extracts of past concerts.
I found the situation somewhat ironical and paradoxical: a crowd of fans cheering a star who performs a satire of totalitarianism. However, the impact of experiencing Pink’s concert live was powerful and maybe even more significant.
I made a few short videos, especially during the 2nd half because, although I was close to the front, there was a giant in front of me and, sometimes, I could see better with the camera! Have a look and enjoy!
The wall is complete and the crowd is singing:
Lights searching the crowd:
“Outside the Wall”:
Photo set of the show:
Ok, these are not the best, I’m still practising on the photo shooting, and, as you might guess, I can’t wait for the dvd release!
What do The Band, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Oscar Peterson, Basia Bulat, Arcade Fire and Leonard Cohen all have in common? That’s right, they’re Canadian!
I was reading Rosemary Sullivan’s The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out yesterday and she mentioned Ronnie Hawkins and Joni Mitchell. I was a bit surprised, I had no idea they were Canadian (Ronnie Hawkins is actually born American and got naturalised later). I knew Neil Young, one of my favourite musician, was Canadian, and so was Oscar Peterson, a great jazz musician, although I only learnt that after liking their music, but Joni Mitchell? It’s just weird, I seem to be drawn to Canada; my mother thinks I must have a Canadian sensibilty (my favourite literary theorist, Linda Hutcheon, is also from Canada). Curious to see what other musicians originate from Canada, I had a look on Wikipedia. Guess what? The Band are also Canadian (well, four of the five members)! For those of you who don’t know them, they played with Bob Dylan for a while, and their last concert, The Last Waltz, was made into a film by Martin Scorcese. I am also a big fan of them (I even used to fancy Robbie Robertson as a teenager; don’t laugh!).
So here is some great Canadian music for you!
Joni Mitchell singing “Big Yellow Taxi”, quite a famous song:
Joni Mitchell singing “Coyote” with The Band at The Last Waltz concert:
It’s a bit difficult to choose just one song by Neil Young as there are so many I love. You can’t go wrong with “Rockin’ in a Free World”:
And this is “Old Man”, the song that made me discover Neil Young:
I love this version of “The Weight” by The Band and The Staple Singers performed at their last concert, The Last Waltz. Rick Danko is amazing in it and The Staple Singers are amazing!
And, of course, there are the beautiful lyrics of Leonard Cohen, here singing “So Long Marianne”:
I am not really into jazz, but I went out with a jazz musician for three years and got introduced to jazz. When I was with him, he shared his passion with me and I got to figure out what I liked and didn’t like in jazz. Oscar Peterson is quite traditional in his playing of the standards, he is not into this free jazz madness, but he is great. I nearly went to see him in concert; unfortunately, I missed my chance. This is “Caravan” (look at his hands!):
And this is Basia Bulat, an artist I went to see at the Jazz Festival in Montreal last year. She is amazing; she plays so many instruments! This is “In the Night”:
Isn’t she great? Have a look a this one too:
I could keep going for quite a while; some gems, aren’t they? You want one more for the road? Here is “Helpless” performed by Neil Young, The Band and Joni Mitchell:
I hope you enjoyed this musical interlude as much as I did.
I haven’t been really good with my resolution. It’s not that the envy to write is not here or that I don’t have any ideas, but I haven’t had (taken) the time. So, while waiting, I let you discover this jazz trio.
The Phill Collins Trio is based in Waterford and Cork, so keep an eye out for their gigs if you are around. Their first cd, Bucolic, came out just before Christmas and most, if not all, the tracks are original compositions by Phill Collins. You can get a taste of the cd on their myspace page and follow them on facebook.
I haven’t done much this summer, but one of the highlights was Mick Flannery‘s gig in The Blackbird in Ballycotton. The gig was brilliant, even though Mick Flannery had the flu. It was in Ballycotton’s famous pub, The Blackbird. They have a small room for concert and that’s where the gig happened. There must have been about forty people attending so it was really intimate. My friends and I loved it. He’s an excellent singer, able to make your heart pound.
I let you enjoy one of the videos I made there.
Although it was a small gig, there was a support act by Christine Deady, whom I had never heard of but will definitely be looking out for, she had a lovely voice and a certain talent.