Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Behind The Wall with Roger Waters – part 2

Roger Waters launches “The Wall Live” tomorrow night in Toronto, before hitting three dozen cities across North America; a European swing starts next March.

The tour celebrates the 30th Anniversary of one of rock’s biggest concept albums. Due to the size of the original production, Pink Floyd played the album in a 1980-81 special series of dates in Los Angeles, Uniondale New York, London and Dortmund, West Germany.

The last time Waters performed the album in its entirety was as a solo artist in Germany in 1990, to mark the recent fall of the Berlin Wall.

Handling backing vocals for the tour is most of the band Venice. Kipp Lennon from the band has launched an online tour diary and, in part 2 of "Behind The Wall with Roger Waters,” Lennon shares some stories from the rehearsals for the big tour.

“Okay, so onto the tour at hand...,” writes Lennon. “In LA, we had a last week of rehearsals and packing (how the hell do you pack for four months of summer/fall/winter weather?!), and tearful/joyful goodbyes to family and friends (including a fantastic party thrown by Michael and family to bid us a fond "Farewall," where we played music until the wee hours, not knowing exactly when Venice would play again). We arrived here in this smallish town in the northeast of the US of A on Saturday afternoon, August 28th, and met the rest of the band in the hotel lobby. It's such a funny feeling to be meeting people you know you are about to spend 4 months with. A bunch of adult professionals on the verge of a world tour, but there is still that element feeling like kids on the first day of a new school.”

“Like they say, when it comes to tours, especially huge ones like this, it's not so much about the 2 hours you spend on stage, it's about the other 22,” continues Lennon. “Rehearsing...eating...hanging out... traveling together. And thankfully, Roger surrounds himself with genuinely good people. From musicians to management to crew... everyone has been warm and welcoming from the start.”

(seated L-R) Kipp Lennon, Mark Lennon, Pat Lennon, Jon Joyce

Kipp explains the pre-tour routine. “This week has been pretty much the same schedule every day. The five singers wake up early, head to the beach for a morning hang... stretching, swimming, soaking up some sun, then off to rehearsals about a half hour drive away. From 11-ish until 6-ish, the whole band rehearses with Roger in a revamped airplane hangar, stopping only for lunch.”

“Roger is such a pleasure to work with,” notes Lennon. “He is open to re-examining things, appreciative of the team he has assembled, demanding the best from us all in a good way. Definitely firm in his vision and belief in the importance of being true to the original. He's constantly wearing so many hats as he considers the history, the music, the stage design...everything down to the costumes, technology and souvenir programs. He's VERY excited about the technological advances and innovations that a thirty year wait has brought to this project, and his enthusiasm is infectious.”

It’s too early to give too much away. “I can't reveal any of the new stuff here, obviously, but, man you should hear him talk about it,” Lennon adds. “You can't help but step back sometimes and marvel at the enormity of this project and at the man driving it all. His vision and fire, adapting "The Wall"...updating it... preserving it... re-discovering it... he is just as passionate now as he was when he wrote it. And we get to be part of it. He continues to tweak it and polish it and shape it into his vision. It's funny, after all these hours of rehearsing and hanging, we mostly get accustomed to being with him now, and we're all just making music together, but every once in a while he'll start a song like "Mother" or "Don't Leave Me Now," and we look at each other like, "That's the actual guy right there."

Lennon writes about a particularly memorable evening. “One night, Roger invited us all to a big dinner at his house here, where we had a great time getting to know everybody more and eating fantastic food. It was so picturesque...like a magazine shoot or something. After dinner, Roger requested that we sing for our suppers. We've all been particularly enjoying our versions of "The Show Must Go On" and "Goodbye Blue Sky," and he requested those. G. E. Smith (SNL band, Hall & Oates, Bob Dylan) is in the band. A true music lover, he plays the hell out of the bass, guitar, mandolin...whatever Roger asks him to play on any given song. He calls himself the "Utility Man" of this tour. He also brings a ton of energy and enthusiasm to the whole process. Anyway, he played guitar that night as we sang for everybody, and it was one of those things we'll remember forever. This whole experience is like that already.”

Rehearsals are an evolving process, notes Lennon. “It has also been a pleasure watching our vocal parts evolve and expand as Roger re-examines everything while we go through it. He welcomes input and appreciates a good idea.”

To complement the impressive stage show, the band must look right, too. “We also finally tried on our outfits for the tour,” writes Lennon. “That was cool because we've all been wondering how they would look. I can't really tell you anything until after we open in Toronto, but it's very cool stuff, and the troops are happy.”

It’s getting down to crunch time. “The last few days, we ran through the entire show each day, stopping along the way improve things. It is really coming together in a big way. Everybody in the band knows that when we finally get it all down, with no reference notes or last minute changes, it will be such a pleasure to be a part of this machine of talented people and amazing music. We laugh that it is truly more like being in a play than a concert. There have also been little indications along the way that this isn't your usual tour. Rolling Stone Magazine taking photos of rehearsal or Richard Gere stopping by to watch with his kids. Crazy life.”

Click here for Behind The Wall with Roger Waters – part 1

Another Roger Waters - Another Brick In the Wall, Pt. 2 (Live) - In the Flesh (Live)

Roger Waters with Cyndi Lauper – Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2
The Wall Live in Berlin – July 21, 1990