Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live: 1980-81
Pink Floyd's 1980-81 stadium presentations of The Wall barely qualified as live rock: They were a theatrical pageant, with a wall built and demolished on stage, projected films, huge inflatable Gerald Scarfe creatures, and the band playing along with tapes of sound effects and orchestrations from the album. The sparkling clarity of this set, assembled from several London performances, only makes it obvious how slavishly the sound of the stage show followed the studio album, right down to the effects on Roger Waters' voice and David Gilmour's guitar. Here's what's new: "Empty Spaces" is longer, the band added a piece of mood music called "The Last Few Bricks," the keyboards are more audible, and there's some crowd noise. The Wall is still an effective piece of dramatic bombast, but this is the most pointless album of its kind since Depeche Mode's Songs of Faith and Devotion Live. The real enhancements were the parts you can't hear.