Impresii dintr-o altă lume
How many years have passed? I think I first listened to The Wall somewhere in the mid eighties, on an audiotape I had borrowed from someone who gave it to me with a conspirative air: It’s about the Berlin Wall, be careful, this music is forbidden in Romania. Even today, I do not know exactly if the music was forbidden or not. And, I found it later, the music was not about the Berlin Wall, but about an imaginary wall symbolising the artist’s alienation, following his success and a life full of all sorts of excesses, on tours. Later, I also saw Alan Parker’s movie, which was talking about the same thing: the psychosis of the modern man, the Freudian psychoanalytical therapy, etc., notions that the very young audience did not understand and which were not considered seriously in the Eastern Europe. A game of chance but also a game of artistic intuition made this album the final stop of a legendary rock band, Pink Floyd (there will be another album, the last one, The Final Cut, a kind of collage with the songs that did not fit in on The Wall), and also the most successful album of the same band. And then, after the fall of the real Berlin Wall, in 1990, Roger Waters’ concert, in the German capital, managed to get together an ocean of people – nobody knows exactly their number, but most probably around 300.000. Therefore, what happened was what millions of fans wanted to see, no matter what the composer wanted to transmit through the image of a wall falling. And the latter obeyed and adapted the show to the new context – political, protesting, anti-institutional, but, first of all, a speech against all types of violence. And today, in Bucharest, a new symbolic weight. Waters’ wall stood face to face to the People’s House.
Why am I writing about The Wall? Because it is an opera. A rock opera, but still an opera. The same as Tommy, by The Who, with the same topic: the alienation (represented by a child who is deaf, dumb and blind). Like in an opera, the original significations of the music and of the lyrics were changed by an updated mise en scène. A kind of Regietheater.
The forecast for the concert, like in a zodiac, was not good: it was supposed to rain. Up on the meadow in front of Ceaușescu’s palace, I was thinking that everything could become a kind of Woodstock à la roumaine. The rain did not come, but rebels of all ages did come, from children up their parents’ shoulders to couples of retired dressed in 3/4s, the same age as Waters (who turns 70 this year!). No doubt that those who were present there, around 50.000, we felt today „different” than the others.
I do not want to tell how the concert unfolded, song after song. It is enough to say that Roger Waters sang better than I had expected. He seemed worn-out already in the ’90s, and anyway, he has never had a big voice. But he sounded incredibly fresh. And I must mention that the show was, by far, the most spectacular one seen in Bucharest. A 150 metre wall, with projections of photos and HD movies, is an image I could not imagine before. I also liked the fact that the stage direction was not limited to the images in the movie. The concept was kept, but the animations were recreated, in order to stress the political message (an example: Good bye, blue sky, when, out of the war planes fall ideological and religious symbols, or corporate logos instead of bombs). And I liked the messages translated into Romanian and projected on the wall, more than the eternal cliché of the artist striving to say a few words in Romanian (at least Waters recognized it is a difficult language).
Nevertheless, whatever I had imagined before the concert proved only partly relevant. Because, due, most probably, to the technical quality of the show, the same as Waters sang at a certain moment Mother in duet with his own recording from 1980, I felt the same, at nearly the same moments, the one I was 30 years ago. And when one feels caught between nostalgia and admiration, I do not know about the others, but myself, I was moved.
The fact itself that this concert is dedicated to the victims of war’s arbitrary and of intolerance, a message urging for empathy, together with „that” music, about which you always thought it was „yours”, the fact that, 30 years ago, one could never even dream of seeing The Wall in Romania, all these gave me goose pimples and increased my heart rate.
In my opinion, this was the best rock concert ever seen in Romania.
And then, the shadow of a rock guitarist projected on the symbol of communism in Bucharest tells more than I have just told.