Yo Ho! Nightrider here!
Pink Floyd released their eleventh studio album The Wall on 30 November 1979 after recording it for almost a year with lots of problems during production. It would serve as the last time the four members David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright worked together as a band. Released as a double album, The Wall would become one of the greatest albums ever made alongside Pink Floyd’s first masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon. Now approaching the 40-year mark, The Wall still reigns intact.
The Wall began “construction” on 23 January 1977 when Pink Floyd released their album Animals on that day; they promoted Animals with the In the Flesh Tour following the album’s release. Rogers was worried during a tour in Chicago that Soldier Field was sold out with 67,000 tickets sold. He found out that in reality 95,000 were sold. The band couldn’t perform well emotionally because of their frustration with the fans: they were rocking out instead of listening. The last tour concert in Montreal (6 July 1977) was the last straw. Gilmour refused to play a third encore because the overcrowded fans wouldn’t let the band leave; he was depressed as he realized that the band reached the fame they were “looking” for and there was nothing left to pursue. Fans in the front row were so rowdy that Rogers spat in the face of one of those fans. The bad experiences, especially Roger’s spitting incident, became a basis for Rogers to build a wall that would separate him from the audience. This would eventually become The Wall.
The Wall is the story of Pink, a mega rock star with profound depression. We listen to his life throughout the album, such as his time in school (“The Happiest Days of Our Lives,” “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”), his overbearing mother (“Mother”) and how he has to be drugged up to perform at his concert (“Comfortably Numb”) He builds a wall in his mind to shield himself from society’s issues and human contact. In the second half, he questions his construction and eventually performs his concert (“The Show Must Go On,” “In the Flesh,” “Run Like Hell,” “Waiting for the Worms”) and suffers a complete meltdown, prompting Pink to judge himself because he showed human emotion against his wall (“The Trial”). He then destroys his wall and begins to turn his life around (“Outside the Wall”). If you listen closely, the last words of the album (“Isn’t this where…”) wrap around the first words of the album from the title “In the Flesh?” (“… we came in?”). This means that a cycle of depression, isolation, and abandonment will repeat itself. Pink himself is based on Waters and Syd Barrett.
Like The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall is a masterpiece that is still relevant. The tour itself (The Wall Tour) was also a masterpiece because of its visual concepts: the stage crew built an actual wall to separate Pink Floyd from the audience. This wall had to be built up and then taken down again on tour was an expensive task. The giant puppets of Pink’s school teacher, his wife and several pieces of the wall itself are now museum pieces. As of now, Roger Waters still performs The Wall and builds his wall when touring. However, he has updated the subject matter to reflect against President Trump’s “Wall” and the wasted lives spent on the war in Iraq. He was also ejected from Mexico in 2016 during a Wall concert for criticizing the then Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for the missing people of Mexico’s drug war as well as Peña Nieto’s apparent submission to Trump’s demands.
There is no need to post links to The Wall because the album as a whole is the experience. Listen to The Wall in its entirety with no pauses and you’ll be sucked in from beginning to end. However, there is a secret message inside the song “Empty Spaces” that mentions sending the message somewhere.