Somewhere outside Athens, in 1979, in a small record shop, a five-year-old boy who loves equally Rory Gallagher and the Bee Gees, is intrigued by a curious double album which sells like crazy and has sparked a kind of frenzy. As one of his favourite games is to record cassettes tapes, he keeps recording the album’s top hit on every tape. He might not speak english at the time and not understand the lyrics, but he feels that this is something quite important.
That boy would be me and, yes, that album would be no other than the legendary “The Wall” by Pink Floyd. And, aside from on these tapes – today sleeping quietly in a safe place – “Another brick in the Wall pt.II” has ever since been recorded into my very soul.
As the years went by, I grew to reject pop & rock music altogether, mainly because of what I still call “the dreadful 80s”. But I never rejected Pink Floyd. During those years of my rejection of pop & rock, I kept them in a special place, along with the other musical memories of my childhood.
No surprise then that, in the late 90s, when I re-discovered rock music, Pink Floyd was the starting point. And, how beautifully, wonderfully this music blew my away. And how inspiring were the lyrics which I could understand at that time. Especially the Wall, with its yin-yang culmination point, “Comfortably Numb”. It was that verse:
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
that took me back then, to ’79, that fleeting glimpse going back to a little child putting “The Wall” on the turntable and listening to it again and again.
I can’t explain, you would not understand
This whole soul-stirring, I must admit, grew to feelings of anger when I read the accounts of people who had actually seen “The Wall” live, telling the tale of the definitive rock show, encompassing not just music but also animation and theatre. How I envied those people! Why hadn’t I been born a couple of decades earlier, to be able to travel to London and experience this show myself? When I put that to my best friend (a devout Pink Floyd fan also) he had replied “my friend, we were there, somehow”. True, then, but not very satisfying.
Needless to say, when Roger Waters announced he would perform The Wall again, all these emotions woke up once more. I am not speaking figuratively, I even dreamt about Roger performing the Wall, in the Olympic Stadium, long before the concert was announced (and, in fact, in my dream, he was joined by David and Nick). So when, one day, Roger himself appeared in the news announcing the concerts in Athens, all I could do was walk around mumbling: “The Wall in Athens! The Wall in Athens!”
I won’t go through all the details, my mobile alert on the ticket sales’ opening day, my anguish till I had the tickets in my hands, etc.
The day came. And I was there. And my best friend too. The Mother, the Teacher, the Wife, the Pig… everybody! We were actually there. Shouting during Mother, putting on our masks during Empty Spaces, crossing our hands during In the Flesh reprise, and, yes, singing Comfortably Numb together with Roger.
No, I won’t, I can’t describe the show itself. It was beyond words. I’ll just state that, for whoever ever doubted that art alone can make our world a better place, I am not aware of any answer more definitive than this.
This one goes to you, Roger. You, who created a dream in a young boy’s heart and made that dream come true. For this show was all I had ever dreamed about, and more. Paraphrasing your lyrics, I would say to you that, when I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye. Friday night, I turned to look and it was there.
Thank you Roger!
P.S. thanks to L.T. for editing the text.