Is There Anybody Out There?: The Wall Live, 1980-81
...the clinical readings of such guitar-laden pomp fests as [B]'Mother'[/B] are so similar to their vinyl ancestors as to be rendered virtually pointless. ..
Pink Floyd were always beyond mere rock'n'roll. To the over-educated progosaurs, The Music (immaculate, impenetrable, huge) is all, with such Luddite concerns as image and - pah! - personality scornfully consigned to the evolutionary dumper. There is no place for frailty or warmth in the Floyd's stereo-perfect, genetically modified sphere. Even sprawling concept opus 'The Wall'- which dealt with such everyman issues as isolation, paranoia and the general crapness of authority - was an emotionally frigid experience. Now, that album's live rendition - here culled from their stint at Earl's Court between 1980 and 1981 - proves even the presence of several thousand whooping, pot-happy hippies was no obstacle to the Floyd's icy professionalism.
'Is There Anybody...?' sees Roger 'stormy' Waters and his po-faced (soon to be ex-) pals painstakingly rebuild 'The Wall''s prog-heavy parapets. Indeed, the clinical readings of such guitar-laden pomp fests as 'Mother' are so similar to their vinyl ancestors as to be rendered virtually pointless. Yet songs like the subtly poignant 'Comfortably Numb' and the magnificent, riff-mungous 'Run Like Hell' suggest that behind all their studied proficiency there's a regular rock band struggling to free itself. Alas, such moments are few and far between. For this is the sound of the Floyd at the height of their powers - towering, precise and solemnly beyond compare. Yes, they're big and they're clever. But if Pink Floyd ever had a heart, it's yet to be seen.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday