Friday, March 2, 2012

Pink Floyd's The Wall Immersion Box Set

Right now it costs around the same price as the immersion editions of Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here when they were first released last year. But unlike those two sets, it's hard to justify the price of this when it doesn't include a 5.1 mix and blu-ray audio of the album. If there's one album that'll sound GREAT in high-def surround sound, it's The Wall (rumor has it that it'll be released in the future). Still, this immersion treatment is a good buy for me, because I don't own a good sounding copy of the original album, nor have I heard the previously released double live album, Is There Anybody Out There?.

I've been listening non-stop to the '80/'81 live show, which everytime brings me back to the two unforgettable nights in January, being able to see Roger Waters and his band performing The Wall in Australia. The sound is outstanding for the most part, though sometimes the mix is a bit inconsistent. The inclusion of What Shall We Do Now? and The Last Few Bricks definitely made the thing more complete.

The fifth and sixth discs are chalked full of demos, original and band. They're divided into different programs, and sequenced in a way similar to The Wall, so there's no gap between the songs, and meant to be listened to from start to finish. The first is a compilation of excerpts of the original Roger Waters demos. These (and another set) were the demos Waters presented to the band, asking them to choose the next Pink Floyd album (the rejected demos would shape into Waters' mid-'80s solo effort, The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking). Clocking in just under 14mins; they are excerpts in every sense of the word, as some of them are extremely short, too short that it's frustrating we don't get to hear the whole thing. We would've loved to hear this particular Run Like Hell in its entirety, which is starkly different from David Gilmour's.

The rest of the demos by the band are interesting to listen to, though not really big revelations, maybe save for the ones that were excluded from the finished product, the bluesy Sexual Revolution and Teacher, Teacher. Comfortably Numb was known as The Doctor early on, which had Gilmour taking on the verses with the same chord progression -- he could sing well, but he didn't possess the creepiness and paranoia like Waters' voice could. The one thing about these demos which surprised me is the top-notch sound quality, almost on par with the remastered album, which I appreciate much more after listening through all of them.

The DVD includes a 50min documentary about the brief making of the album, the live show and the film. But the most intriguing item is a restored live clip of The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, taken from a show at London's Earls Court. It's only a minute and a half long, but it may be a good indication that a long-awaited concert film of the original Wall performances may finally see the light of day, most certainly on blu-ray format. For a very detailed excellent review of this box set, visit the fansite, Brain Damage [link].