‘The disconnection existed within the band’: Roger Waters enjoys new solo take on Pink Floyd’s The Wall

Roger Waters has a different feeling about playing stadiums, several decades after presenting his original production of The Wall with Pink Floyd some 29 times in 1980.

Back then, he felt disconnected — cut off from the teaming masses. Or so Waters thought. Nowadays, he said during a London news conference announcing a round of European arena shows, Waters realizes that the disconnect was within his crumbling band.

The Wall was the last album to include the classic-era four-man line up of Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright. Pink Floyd’s follow up The Final Cut excluded Wright, while A Momentary Lapse of Reason and then The Division Bell saw the band move forward without Waters.

Meanwhile, since restarting The Wall concert as a solo venture, Waters has presented the show 192 times to some 3.3 million fans. This newly announced 2013 tour begins July 20 in Belgium, and continues so far through September 21, 2013 in Paris. Waters also presented the entire album in Germany in celebration of the Berlin Wall coming down.

[GIMME FIVE: Roger Waters topped our recent list of best Pink Floyd solo projects; that wasn't the controversial part. Leaving off Richard Wright! How could we?]

This particular production was actually designed for an earlier South American leg of the tour, which only offers venues on either extremes of the capacity scale, Waters said, because their culture doesn’t congregate around basketball games or ice hockey. That leaves only “samba clubs” and giant soccer stadiums, he said.

One was too small, so they had to rework the show for the other. The results were staggering, as Waters held nine sold-out shows at Buenos Aires’ River Plate Stadium.

“There’s something about it,” Waters said. “I hate to say ‘triumphal,’ but there is something about connecting with that many people outdoors that’s actually extremely gratifying. When I was a kid, I did not get that experience. I didn’t like it, back in ’75 and ’77 when we were touring with Pink Floyd, and we were playing soccer stadiums. It felt like we were very disconnected. But I think that disconnection was actually a projection of the disconnection that existed within the band — more than something about us and the audience.”

As for the differences in the stage production, Waters said that mostly deals with scale.

“The projection surface is much wider,” Waters says. “When we were indoors — this is all a bit technical, I’m afraid — we were projecting over 8,000 pixels wide. We’re not projecting almost 15,000 pixels wide, so it’s almost double the width. Really, that’s the main difference. The content is, by and large, the same. For instance, in the arena show at the end of ‘Brick II,’ when the underground train comes through, that’s now 500 feet wide, instead of 130 feet wide — so it’s just a lot wider.”

The sheer size of the set — Waters says a portion of it takes six days to construct — will also preclude him from appearing with this new tour at any of Europe’s popular music festivals.

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