You’ll recall, back in May, when I found out that Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd) was bringing his production of The Wall – my favorite rock album ever – to Ottawa, I got so excited I ordered two pairs of tickets. Well, technically it was a website error, but evidently that didn’t matter to the good folks at RogerWaters.com. They were happy to take my money, even though the pre-sale conditions only allowed one to purchase a single pair.
Oh sure, they initially promised to rectify the problem and refund my VISA account… but then they promptly forgot about me and stopped answering my email pleas.
I missed the opportunity to cancel the extra charge by calling VISA to have the payment stopped, and the only way to contact RW.com was by e-mail (honestly, it should be illegal to run a business and not have a means for your clientele to get in touch with you via telephone). I had no recourse but to keep pestering them – something I did all summer long, sending them reminder upon reminder, to no avail.
In the end, I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to get the money back. I wasn’t even sure (because of the pre-sale condition) whether I would actually receive the second set of tix I had paid for!
Thankfully, my fellow concert-goer, Paul, is well-connected; a regular visitor to a local classic-rock-radio blog. Without too much trouble, he found someone willing to buy the extra tix – even with the uncertainty about whether those tix would actually be available come the day of the concert.
And come the day of the concert (Sunday last), we could finally go try to pick up our tix at the box office. So off we trotted, out to Kanata, at 9:30 in the morning, to have it out with the people in the box office – scrapping for a fight and armed with truckloads of documents; printouts of our confirmation codes and the thread of emails with RW.com.
We needn’t have bothered. Despite some initial confusion about where the tickets were physically located, the people at the box office were very helpful and we were in and out of Scotiabank place within 10 minutes – with both sets of tickets! We immediately called the people who had agreed to buy our extras, and five minutes later, exchanged them for the full amount.
After nearly six months of holding my breath, I could finally breathe easy, head home, and get ready to just enjoy the show. And that’s exactly what I did. Paul picked me up again that evening – I in my best Pink Floyd wear – and we headed out to Kanata again for the show. It was definitely a concert to remember.
The music was played very close to the style of the album – which is fine. Personally, I would have liked a little more improvisation and freedom to change it up a bit, but the musicianship couldn’t be faulted. And there were a few extended guitar solos to offer a little change. Waters’s voice was in good form too. I thought he would be a lot raspier now that he’s older, but he sounded very much as he did in 1979.
The visual aspects of the show were also astounding. They’ve taken the story (it’s a concept album about a rock musician who goes crazy) and made it much more current, laying on messages about the evils of corporate control, religious intolerance, racism, and political ineptitude. The first half of the concert involved erecting a 4- or 5-storey wall between the audience and the band, with state-of-the-art graphics and animation projected onto it. Add to that props (giant inflatable marionettes, a flying pig blimp) and pyrotechnics, and we saw a real spectacle. The second half culminated in the wall being tumbled and a final message of keeping yourself grounded with your loved ones.
This is truly a case of all’s well that ends well. I had a fantastic time. This was a thrill of a lifetime for me because I never dreamed I would ever get to see a production of The Wall mounted in my lifetime, let alone one performed by the original singer and the man who wrote it!
Thanks again to Paul, for joining me, for helping with the tix, for driving, and for getting many of these photos from the show.