Roger Waters’ Pigs (Nine Different Ones) [VIDEO]
Pigs (Nine Different Ones) – That’s how many flying pigs Roger Waters toted along with him this year for his North American tour of The Wall Live, playing 8 outdoor arenas on 9 different dates. This year, a smaller, remote-controlled pig flew around enclosed venues to be salvaged and used again, but the outdoor 9 suffered a different fate: they were symbolically torn to shreds by the audience.
This past Saturday, July 7th, 2012, on the six-year anniversary of legendary Pink Floyd member and muse Syd Barrett’s death, Waters gave an awe-inspiring performance of The Wall Live at Yankee Stadium. 1,000 cardboard “bricks” were assembled piece-by-piece by Waters and his band until the Wall, that doubled as a psychedelic video screen, stood over 500 feet long by 40 feet high. As usual, the wealthy, greed-obsessed flying pig reared his ugly head at the end of “In the Flesh.” The Wall’s pigs are distant cousins to their pink Animals counterparts; they are black warthogs littered with graffiti. Crossed hammers, dollar signs, the star of David, and an ad urging us to “Drink Kalashnikov Vodka” (a “drinkable weapon” sold in an AK-47 bottle) splattered the hogs black flesh this weekend, along with Big Brother sayings like TRUST US; Everything will be OK, JUST KEEP CONSUMING; and the “In the Flesh” lyric, “If I had my way, I’d have all of you shot.” Waters was suggesting a xenophobic society run by corporations (at one point “Capitalism” was scrawled in Coca-Cola font). Branding creates distance – the more different we are from each other, the more we fear each other, and as Waters reminded us consistently throughout the show on his 500 x 40 foot video wall, “FEAR BUILDS WALLS.”
On the original tour in 1980, the flying pigs were used by bootleggers as an identifier to distinguish concert dates; Waters would spout a little anecdote about the pig during his introduction to “Run Like Hell”; each time was one-of-a-kind. He did not refer to the pig directly this past Saturday night, but did manage to get us riled up the good old-fashioned way. Here is Saturday night’s unique spiel:
During “Run Like Hell,” Waters had screamed out “Follow me!” in his imperial uniform; he knew we were his sheep. Was he mocking us in irony, at Yankee Stadium, a huge corporation in itself? Phrases popped up on the screen, pictures of headphone-clad leaders, children, and animals. iLead appeared with the face of a pig, iProtect with a dog, and iFollow was scrawled over an army of sheep. iLose, iLearn, iTeach, iKill. iBelieve marked the faces of George W. Bush, Stalin, and Mao. iPaint juxtaposed with Hitler’s face garnered a hearty reaction. iPay finalized it all, ominously stamping a mass of gravestones.
Later that night, the pig took its fatal dive down into a sea of hungry sheep in Secton 116, right around Row 18, Seat 5. I know, because I was sitting there. Silence swept the stage as the Wall crumbled; the stadium-wide chants “TEAR DOWN THE WALL! TEAR DOWN THE WALL!” ceased. All you could hear was the audience cheering as Porky, Pork Chop, Mary, whatever you wanna call the bugger, took a nose-dive right into our seats and was shredded into some satisfying pulled pork.
[1:11 - The Pig Goes Down. 2:30 - The Sheep Celebrate]
We were the first to pierce the pig, tearing off its front right leg. After ripping pieces for everyone behind us, including a little boy now destined to be a Pink Floyd fan for the rest of his life (ya gotta breed ‘em young), this is the memento we brought home to Mother.
My dad attended the original Wall tour in 1980 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, one of only four locations worldwide to host the tour, and the only venue on America’s East coast. Growing up, he would tell me vivid stories of flying planes and flying pigs; a Wall compiled little by little until a massive structure completely concealed the band, leaving them to play the second set from behind; David Gilmour high up on the Wall, comfortably numbing a grounded Waters with his guitar; a story of overcoming fear, destroying the walls that distance us from seeing the truth, breaking down barriers, and seeing life as it really is. I never thought, over 30 years later, I would get to experience the spectacle myself.
If you missed the show at Yankee Stadium this weekend, Waters will be tearing down the Wall for its last time Thursday, July 12th at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. and Saturday, June 14th at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Quit your jobs, leave your kids to fend for their own rides, and go see it. Don’t forget to scoop me up on the way, and leave some food behind for the dog (and maybe some shelter from pigs on the wing).
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