Ex-Pink Floyd bandleader Roger Waters celebrated his 71st birthday in typically dramatic fashion last Saturday: he premiered a new movie at the Toronto International Film Festival. Roger Waters: The Wall is a documentary chronicling the songwriter's massive, three-year world tour, "The Wall Live," featuring the famous tunes from one of rock and roll's greatest concept double-albums.
Photo by Jim Bricker Roger Waters at Toyota Center, 2012
The new film is hardly the first time Waters has revisited The Wall, of course. The 1979 release spawned a cult-classic film version, a live album and even a home video of Waters and some famous pals performing it at the site of the Berlin Wall. But the most recent tour, which wrapped up just last year, was an unusual undertaking worthy of its own study. With two legs encompassing 219 shows, The Wall Live was the highest-grossing tour of all time by a solo artist, raking in nearly half a billion dollars.
And you'd better believe it cost money to make that money, too. An audiovisual extravaganza, the ultra-elaborate show required an estimated $60 million to stage and featured all of the inflatable puppets, projected animation, flying pigs and political demagoguery that one could ever want. Hell, it even featured a mega-super-rare guest appearance by Waters' estranged Pink Floyd ex-bandmates David Gilmour and Nick Mason at one London performance. If you don't want to hear the backstory on that little collab, you aren't a Pink Floyd fan.