About the Wall - Richard Wright


Although I never really liked stadium shows (the loss of sound quality, and the vagaries of crowd control always bothered me), I didn't feel there was anything fundamentally amiss in my relationship with huge audiences so I wasn't keen on Roger's idea for The Wall show when he first presented it. I felt that building a wall on stage would deliberately exclude the audience and this infringed my conception of what a rock 'n' roll show was essentially about. As his plans developed and he introduced elements into the show which would directly appeal to the audience (such as Gerald Scarfe's animation and the wall collapsing at the end), my fears no longer applied. In fact, I could see that the show was going to be a very powerful visual experience, as well as a musical one.

It's a matter of historical record that my relationship with Roger collapsed during the time the band was making the album. There had always been a personality clash, but apparently the tensions now became insurmountable. Part of this was down to me. I hadn't contributed any material to Animals, nor did I have any to offer for The Wall. I simply wasn't very creative throughout that period. I have enormous respect for Roger who works extremely hard on his won, but I find that process difficult. A good deal of Dark Side of the Moon, for example, was written when we were together. Subsequently, more and more composition was undertaken seperately. After Animals Dave and I did solo albums and in that interim Roger wrote the whole of The Wall. All credit to him, but I think he came to view what he'd written as his solo project.

It was a very difficult and sad time for me. Naturally, I didn't want to leave the band, but once I was thrown out I managed to pursuade myself that it was bound to happen and that Roger and I couldn't work together anyway. Still, I wanted to finish the recordings - most of my parts had already been taped. I also wanted to do the shows as a kind of final goodbye. That was hard and I'm not sure how I did it. I must have completely blanked out my anger and hurt. It was an akward situation for all of us to be in, but in the English 'stiff upper lip' manner we just got on with the job.

It was an extraordinary show to have put on and, despite everything, I enjoyed performing it. The thing I remember most is the really odd feeling I got from playing without seeing the audience. I suppose it's the way members of an orchestra feel in the pit of a theatre or an opera house, only I wasn't used to it. Also, when the wall was up the roadies and stage crew would be moving around and working as you were playing in a way they couldn't if they'd been visible to the audience. As someone remarked, the illusion was that we could have played tapes, returned to the hotel, then simply have run back for the final encore.

Audiences were mesmerised. Noboody had done anything like this before, nor has there been anything like it since. In some future history of rock shows, I'm quite certain The Wall will feature as one of the most influential and unforgettable.


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