Roger Waters, The Wall.
Let's get the caveats out of the way. Sure, it chafes to see -- right in the title, fer cryin' out loud -- one man claim sole ownership to a set of songs that was the product of a group. But the man did, in fact, supply the thematic impetus for those songs, and producer Bob Ezrin freely admits he made it his job to sell Waters' vision to the rest of the band and marshal the project in a direction that ultimately pleased Waters the most. And this film is, finally, a synthesis of Waters' various artistic expressions launched by the initial project.
Let the baby have his bottle, in other words, and you may find the experience deeply affecting.
I did, and do, although the "documentary" elements that intersperse the concert footage frequently grate. Waters isn't an easy guy to be around, no matter how he's framed. But as prickly and as full of himself as he is, Waters still manages his project invitationally, with surprising equanimity. The flash and bombast of Waters' rock show is among the most sensational I've seen. Furthermore, it is interspersed with and informed by portraits of people killed in war, sent in by surviving family members. Thus The Wall, which has existed through the decades as "classic rock's" preeminent solipsistic yawp, transforms into a global howl against the brute stupidity of wars launched by people of "abject" personality.
I mention the "middling" fan, because I think I qualify. I have a total of four CDs and nine more studio albums via digital means. The CDs get regular play throughout the year, and the other albums are usually pulled up at least once in a given tour around the sun. I have clear favourites, in other words -- Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, plus one more.* Which distinguishes me as the least distinguished RUSH fan ever.
I do love their concert DVDs, however -- and this one in particular, for the way it highlights songs I give little-to-no airplay. By concert's end I was quite moved -- it's a joyous, celebratory affair.
|Neal Peart: "How did I get myself into this?"|
|It's a "Poozer," if you have to ask.|
He closes the night with his son's favourite song -- "Universal Flame" -- says "thanks" to mom and dad, who are in attendance, then puts down the guitar so he can give hugs to everyone who made the show possible, including his wife and kid, who were standing behind him and singing along.
Prog Metal as an act of familial gratitude? Count me in.
*Full disclosure: much as I enjoyed the R40 performance, I appreciated it most for sending me back to the Clockwork Angels concert -- the most beautiful of RUSH's stage performances, IMO.