Originally written on November 15, 2008, back when I kept a MySpace page (that still exists but that I don’t use):
Because I’ve been musically living in the past lately, I dug out the dvd of The Wall-Live in Berlin and began watching it, expecting to either leave it on and not really watch, just listen, or end up shutting it off halfway through (my attention span sometimes rivals that of a 10 year-old when it comes to actually WATCHING something as opposed to just listening to it).
Instead, I watched the entire thing and now have moved on to the original recording while I get a few things done online. I’m no music critic and my musical tastes run all over the place, so this music does something to me that I have trouble putting into words. But I’ll try since I’m, essentially, talking to myself here (for now, anyway).
In 1979, my Uncle Bobby brought the 8-track version of this home (he and my Uncle Walter were my mother’s younger brothers and she and my father practically raised them both like our brothers) and made me listen to it. I actually remember the day. He called me downstairs from my room and made me sit in the parlor with him and we listened to the entire thing.
Keep in mind a couple of things. 1) I was 10 at the time (Bobby was 27) and 2) it was a freaking 8-track. Which meant no fast forwarding, no skipping over songs…we listened to every one of them. (To this day, I credit 8-tracks with why I know every song off of every album I listened to in the 70s and why I always listen to every track on any cd I buy. It really didn’t afford you the opportunity to pick and choose.)
I had no idea what any of the songs meant (back then, little did I know that neither did anyone else) but what I DID know was that the music hit me in a way I’d never forget. I can sing every song off that album…and when I was younger I’d act out each song – long before the film with Bob Geldof came out – not having a bloody clue what I was doing. I even got my older sister into it (she who always much preferred dance music to any of the rock that Bobby introduced me to – while he had me listening to WBCN, she was listening to Kiss 108!). We would alternate which songs we sang and we used to fight over who got to sing “Mother” (she was older, she usually won).
In junior high I was still listening to it and recruiting friends who had never heard it. I vividly remember sitting outside Medi-Mart with Lisa Ravagno and singing all the words to “The Trial” while she tried to find somewhere to hide because she thought I was crazy. (The only song my friends would listen to from that album was “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt 2”. It was depressing, even when I was 12!)
As I type this, “Comfortably Numb” is playing, flashing me back to the first time I actually looked at the 8-track tape and was stunned to find out he wasn’t “Comfortably Dumb”.
Early on in high school, Bobby came over the house and talked my mother into letting me go to a late-night showing of the film version of The Wall. I still don’t know how he did it…it was a school night! In any event, he knew that I’d appreciate the film, even at 14. I remember sitting in the middle of the theater and at many points in the film, just closing my eyes and listening…feeling like I was in a dream (the sound was amazing!). I knew who Bob Geldof was, but I was disappointed Roger Waters wasn’t in the film…so I didn’t need to “watch” it as much as I did “experience” it. To this day, it’s one of the best times I’ve had with Bobby.
And so I’ve rattled on for long enough. “In the Flesh” just started. If I had a black light it’d be on right now. Instead I think I’ll just close my eyes and enjoy.