A Peek Behind The Wall

This past fall, Roger Waters kicked off a new tour performing Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the landmark concept album he wrote as part of the band. The 1979 release was famously supported with a limited tour in 1980, where throughout the show, the crew slowly built a giant wall across the stage between the band and audience, only to dramatically knock it down at the end of the night. Back then, the show was such a complicated, logistical nightmare that it only played two venues in North America—one of them being Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum.

As a result, it was kind of a thrill to go behind-the-scenes of The Wall when it returned to the venue some 30 years later. While musically some of it is a drudge, visually the show was never less than spectacular due to the gorgeous staging. Writing the article was a bit of a trick though; the house sound engineer—the person mixing sound for the audience—was also the tour manager and didn’t have time or interest in being interviewed. Similarly, no one on the crew wanted to be photographed for the story, and during the coolest moment of the day (which kicks off the article), I didn’t dare take a shot or I probably would’ve been thrown out on my ear.

Despite all that, I had a lot of fun writing the story, which you can read HERE,and the tour is well worth seeing if you get the chance. In the meantime, here’s some extra photos that didn’t run in Pro Sound News.

Dozens of cardboard "bricks" wait before showtime in unused seats, hidden backstage by the giant scaffolding used by the crew to build The Wall. The bricks are seen sitting upside-down here, as the tabs used to align and fasten them together are pointing upwards.

One of the most surreal moments of the show includes a remote-controled flying pig. Really.

This shot gives a sense of the production's massive scale; it's BIG.

Hidden on the side of the stage is the mixing area of the monitor engineer, who mixes sound just for the musicians so they can hear themselves. Towards the end of the show, the band performs in front of The Wall while he's still behind it, so he watches the band via the video monitor on the right while he mixes.

At each venue, show schedules are slightly different to accommodate local curfews and the like, so schedules are distributed to the crew daily.

At each venue, show schedules are slightly different, so updates are distributed to the crew daily.

Despite all the modern technology on-hand, all the vocal microphones are old-school Shure SM58s.