One concert photo — especially one without the band members on stage — looks very much like another.

Unless you were there.

I was there.  Twice.  On both sides of the world.

I’ve been crazy stupid over Pink Floyd and The Wall since it came out in the mid ’80s.  (I was one of those kids in school, the anti-social ones who listened to weird non-surfer music and read books.  And then I really pissed everyone off by getting A’s for everything.  I was doomed to be unpopular.) 

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1990, Pink Floyd staged a massive world tour, re-staging The Wall album as they had done when the album was first released.  I saw that concert when it came to Perth, Western Australia.  Son #1 was two years old at the time.

Fast forward way too many years.  Son #2, Matthew, when he first moved out of home, gave me his favourite belt buckle — his Pink Floyd, The Wall buckle.  I’ve worn it for years now.  I’ve even mentioned it here on the blog.

This Christmas, Matthew’s present to me was a pair of Roger Waters concert tickets and this week was the week of the concert.

Mattew - Roger Waters concert

It really wasn’t a concert.  I’ve been to concerts before.  Lots of them — although, interestingly, when Matthew asked me when was the last concert I had been to…I had to stretch back a ways to think about it.  The last one was — you guessed it — The Wall concert in Perth, in 1990.  Anyway, I’ve been to concerts in plenty, and I’ve also been to dozens upon dozens of staged theatre productions, and Roger Waters’ show is a lot closer to a theatre production than a concert.

Not that I’m complaining.  The effects, lighting, staging and sheer entertainment are staggering. There’s no argument you get your money’s worth.  There’s no way I wouldn’t recommend anyone who is even a slight fan of the Floyd or vaguely familiar with The Wall  album or the movie go check out the concert (if you can get tickets, now).

But it’s not a concert.  It’s a performance.

Garth Brooks does concerts.  I’m not a country fan in the slightest and he tends to bore me silly when Mark puts his videos on, but I’ve watched him entertain 1.5 million people in New York’s Central Park, and that‘s a concert.

Crowded House does concerts.  They’re a mildly well-known Australian/New Zealand band with classical music training in their backgrounds, so they know their way around a keyboard.  And when they get on stage, they aren’t content with just replicating the recorded versions of their songs.  They go on walkabout…around the park, through the sandhills, up the mountains and back again, on musical extravaganzas that expand on the original song and make it bloom into something bigger, something huge and delightful,

Me.

Happy Birthday, Kate

before they come back to earth again and let you catch your breath.

That’s a concert.

If Roger Waters and his band depart from the script even once during their three hundred plus performances of Roger Waters The Wall Live over the eighteen months it’s touring the globe, it would send the eight computer programmers keeping the digital projectors and animated props cued and working into a flat out panic.

Which is a damned shame, because while I loved the concert I got, I would have liked to have seen a concert like that, too.

_____

Today is my daughter’s birthday.  She’s reached an age where it’s up to her to say how old she is, so I’ll just say “happy birthday, Kate!” and leave it at that.

We did have an interesting conversation at the wrestling last weekend.  She reminded me that, but for the objections of her biological father, Kate would have been called Katie Scarlett — for one of my favourite heroines ever, Scarlett in Gone With The Wind.  I compromised, and Kate became Katherine Rebecca.  Katherine was the only version of Katie Scarlett that was accepted, and Rebecca was another favourite heroine of mine — Rebecca from Tom Sawyer.  Kate got two of the toughest heroines I knew heaped on her at once.  I’m proud to say she lives up to both of them.

I love strong women.  They make me proud.

_______________