Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Since bring­ing The Wall back, Wa­ters has done 150 per­for­mances that have grossed US$218 mil­lion in 27 coun­tries.

It would be tempt­ing to think that by now The Wall is a well-oiled ma­chine with ev­ery el­e­ment solidly in place, down to the last mi­crosec­ond of mu­sic and pixel of im­agery, but it’s still evolv­ing, Wa­ters said.

“I take a hard drive straight home from ev­ery gig and then look at it the next day or the next night, and I write notes,” he said. “I don’t think there’s been a sin­gle day where I haven’t changed some­thing.”

Con­cep­tu­ally, too, the show has grown from its ori­gins as a polemic largely about the angst of one par­tic­u­lar rock star.

“The new in­car­na­tion of The Wall is com­pletely un­like the 1980 ver­sion,” he said. “It’s de­vel­oped into be­ing much more of an in­ter­na­tional polemic, and it’s also much more mov­ing,” he said, re­fer­ring to images, many sub­mit­ted by fans around the world, of fam­ily or friends killed in var­i­ous wars over the last cen­tury.

“In those days it was about the in­ter­nal strug­gle of me, when I was younger. It’s now much more about ev­ery­body else, much less about me, and what’s go­ing on in pol­i­tics, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and all the stuff I care so deeply about. In con­se­quence, lots of peo­ple in the au­di­ence weep. That makes me very happy, to be able to en­gage peo­ple to where they can em­pathize with oth­ers to the point where they weep.”

Ul­ti­mately, that’s the wall that Wa­ters yearns to bring down with his ideas and his mu­sic, a cam­paign of en­gage­ment that of­ten leaves him feel­ing an­other emo­tion he didn’t have much con­tact with three or four decades ago.

“As I some­times say to the au­di­ence now, I’m so moved play­ing in these big places, be­ing with a great band and see­ing the au­di­ence’s re­sponse,” he said. “They get so emo­tional, and I’m so moved — I have to ad­mit that 30 years ago I was fa­mously hid­ing be­hind my own walls. I didn’t like be­ing in big spa­ces with lots and lots of peo­ple. But in the in­ter­ven­ing 30 years, I’ve changed.

“I’m not that mis­er­able (ex­ple­tive) guy I was then,” he said. “I could not be hap­pier than I am now to be in that room, that space with those peo­ple, join­ing to­gether in com­mu­nion while we’re per­form­ing The Wall. It makes me in­or­di­nately happy. I’ve turned into a happy old codger.”

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