Roger Waters knows big.
But even the mastermind behind the grandiose arena spectacle of “The Wall” was challenged by the idea of taking the current version of the show from arenas to stadiums and ballparks.
To help adapt to an environment like Fenway Park, where the wall built during the performance is twice as big as the one built during the TD Garden shows in the fall of 2010, Waters’s creative director Sean Evans oversaw the painstaking work of resizing video, graphic, and animation elements that appear on the wall.
“It’s not like you just press a button and scale it up,” says Evans. “A lot of the animations we nearly doubled our resolution so there’s all kind of things in photography/3-D land that if you widen out the field of view you have to change the lens that you’re using or else you wind up with this crazy fish-eye looking thing. So we wound up more or less rebuilding the whole show from a footage perspective.”
One person convinced of the stunning results is Tom Bates, director of production for Live Nation New England who calls “The Wall” one of the top 10 shows he’s ever seen. For a man who has worked in concert production for 32 years (first with Don Law and then Live Nation), and helped mount more than 4,000 shows (including all of the recent Fenway Park concerts), that is not faint praise.
Although it is a thrill from a logistical standpoint, says Bates, he is equally captivated as a spectator by the size, visuals, and music. But it is the story at the center that moves him.
“It’s a personal story that we can all relate to in some ways,” says Bates, who will help oversee a crew of more than 200 working around the clock to set up the stage for Sunday’s show. “He lost his father in the war, I lost one of my best friends in the Vietnam War and [the show] talks about how it changes him and what he had to go through. So from a personal standpoint it’s very interesting.”
That sense of individual, intimate connection in such a mammoth presentation is exactly what Waters is seeking.
“There was always a case to be made for rock ’n’ roll outdoors, a bit like sporting events. When you have large numbers of people together feeling the same thing, whether it’s supporting the same baseball team or listening to music, there is a sense of communion that is infectious and a sense that we’re all in this together,” which, Waters says, dovetails with the show’s central predicament of a global community “on the cusp again of deciding which way the human race is going to go.”
A longtime fan who has worked with Waters previously, including on his “Dark Side of the Moon” tour, Evans is thrilled to be working with a hero, even one who is constantly making changes. “It’s how he works,” Evans says with a laugh, “nothing is ever done.”