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Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)

Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)From Universal pictures comes “Roger Waters The Wall”.  Filmed at London’s O2 Arena, this spectacular and elaborate concert also includes a film that follows Waters as he embarks on a deeply personal journey and reflects on the impact that war has had on him and his family. Waters travels to the graves of his father and grandfather who both died in combat.  The journey offers a revealing, candid portrait of a man who is passionately and unapologetically anti-war.

Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)
Concert
The film opens in a somewhat “Tarantino-esque” way in which we begin at the end. You see Waters as he waves to the crowd and walks off stage to a car waiting for him while a police escort follows Waters’ truck as it drives away from the venue.  During the drive, the film cuts back-and-forth between a tour of waters palatial country estate, and urban city streets.  It’s a very calm and serene opening for a rock concert.  You follow Waters as he heads home, hops into one of his classic cars, and begins his journey.  A calm settles when suddenly the concert bursts forth to life!  You bear witness to a massive stage of military soldiers dressed in red and black holding flags of the same color.  The massive crowd roars in excitement and anticipation as Waters casually and joyfully walks on stage illuminated by a single spot light.  The stage itself is easily the size of a small city block.  Once the music starts kicking in the pyrotechnics are so massive that they’d make Rammstein blush!  The running theme for the whole concert without a doubt is war and how it effects both the lives of the soldiers and their loved ones back home.  In a way, this concert somewhat resembles a music video in that it cuts to scenes of Waters engaged in intimate and emotional moments while the band continues to play as sort of an underscore.
Pink Floyd is definitely known for their elaborate stage shows.  The creativity that goes into building these massive sets, that also include unorthodox video projection, could only be rivaled by the likes of the great Michael Jackson himself.  Instead of just having three massive screens positioned around the stage, Waters has chosen to use a number of 3ft wide squares, or “bricks”, that each have blank white surfaces to be used as portable screens for image projection.  They sit just in front and frame the band to form the “Wall”.  This allows the images to cascade across the stage while still allowing you to see the musicians.  During the song “Another Brick in the Wall” they actually bring out a group of children onstage, dressed in matching shirts, to sing the chorus and perform some pretty intricate dance choreography.  Normally when people incorporate children into a concert they try to give them as little to do as possible.  But these kids actually had some serious moves they were rockin!  I was impressed!
Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)
Even though I’m not the biggest Pink Floyd fan, I can definitely say without hesitation that this is one of the best sounding concert home videos I’ve ever seen.  You can tell that the placement of every single voice and instrument was meticulously arranged so that they are easily heard in the mix.  As soon as I turned on the main menu I felt like each player was coming from a different part of the speakers.  They hit your ear in such a way that even if you’re not surrounded by speakers like I am, you’ll still get a very realistic live concert experience.  Not only is there clarity, but there’s a lot of of punch to the mix as well.  You don’t really have to raise the volume much to get a rich and intense tone from the music.  Somehow every single instrument get’s tonal priority in such a way that it feels like you’re sitting right in the middle of the band!

Personally, I felt like the moments that cut back to Waters’ road journey kinda took away from the energy of the concert.  Though the scenes do reflect the songs quite elegantly, it makes it a little tough to settle into the groove of the show.  But then again, if you’re able to relate to Waters’ filmed journey on any level, then it will surely enhance the message of the songs.  This definitely isn’t the kind of film or concert that you put on as background music.  You’ll want to be able to give it your full attention as there are quite a bit of visual effects to enjoy.  The film itself is excellently well shot.  You could easily separate the concert from the film and show it as a stand alone special on the history channel.

Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)

I still find it kind of hilarious when I see a crowd of concertgoers holding up their cell phones rather then flame lighters.  The light emanating from their screens creates a much less intimate atmosphere as opposed to seeing thousands of tiny flames lit across a sea of people.  There’s no doubt that they’re all using their phones to record the show.  So rather than being present and enjoying probably one of the best rock concerts EVER, they’re looking at their phones to make sure that everything is in focus.  I’ve heard of some bands who have tried to stopping the music until people put their phones away.  But in doing so it usually dampens the vibe for the whole night.

Nowadays you’ll find that most Rock artists rarely if ever put this much effort into creating such a spectacular stage set up.  Even the biggest acts will usually opt to settle for a few explosions coupled with a few dozens lights.  But Roger Waters/Pink Floyd is definitely giving you enough bang for you buck!  Even if you’re not a huge fan of the genre there’s no doubt that you’ll be glued to the screen while witnessing such a massive musical spectacle that only music legends are capable of.

Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)
Video
Encoding:
MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: Crystal clear.  You can see every single little detail even when the camera sweeps across the crowd.  The amount of detail in the stage effects definitely requires a clear picture.

Depth: Excellent.  You can even make out each persons phone as they light up!

Black Levels: Rich and clear black tones.

Color Reproduction: Rich and vibrant.  There are a lot of dark tones in the stage production.  But when the color comes out it really pops.

Flesh Tones: Crisp and realistic.

Noise/Artifacts: None.

Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)

Audio
Audio Format(s):
English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English: LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Turkish
Dynamics: Excellent.  Like I said earlier this is some of the best audio for a live concert home video that I’ve ever heard.

Low Frequency Extension: Deep and rich.  They take advantage of the power of the LFE.Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: The articulation of the lyrics is quite crisp.  Waters isn’t the greatest singer in the world, but lyrics are easily understandable.

Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)

Extras
A Visit to Frank Thompson – After playing a show in Sofia, Bulgaria Waters journeys to the village of Litakovo to pay tribute to Major Frank Thompson.  A British officer who joined the Bulgarians in their fight against Hitler and the Nazis.  Waters narrates the story of Thompson as the camera provides a sweeping showcase of the cemetery and the surrounding area.
Time Lapse – A couple time lapse videos of the set up and building of two of the European shows.
Driving – some cutting room floor scenes of waters, director Sean Evans, and two of waters’ children as joke with each other and reminisce.
Facebook Films – full HD versions of the episodic films that accompanied the building and growth of th 2010-2013 Roger Waters The Wall Tour.  They fear a unique insight into the  creative mind of Roger Waters.
“Comfortably Numb” – Live at the O2 with special appearance by David Gilmour.
“Outside The Wall” – Live at the O2 with Special appearances by David Gilmour and Nick Mason.
Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)
Summary
This is hands down a MUST for any Pink Floyd fan!  Vibrant and crystal clear audio combined with breathtaking stage effects and a touchingly personal story of the effects of war, easily makes for one of the best concert home videos to date.
Roger Waters The Wall (Live Concert Blu-ray Review)
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Writer, Musician, Composer, Singer and Dancer. To sum up: I like to get jiggy with it!

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