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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

While black-on-black outfits and minimal interaction with the audience are among the notable characteristics of Classic Albums Live performances, they are anything but dull. 

Classic Albums Live channels Pink Floyd in performance of ‘The Wall’

While not your typical rock show, the Overture Center hosted a celebration of Pink Floyd and their wildly controversial album, The Wall this past weekend. The performers were not draped in elaborate costumes, the set bare of any projections of the Berlin Wall or expected wartime propaganda, but the performance certainly did not stray from the original composition.

As per their slogan, “Note for Note, Cut for Cut,” the Classic Albums Live crew exceeded expectations in tackling the daunting, and intricately cohesive work, mastering the difficult transitions and shocking vocal range of the album. 

While (clearly) not Roger or David, CAL’s frontmen hit the same raspy, cries for help, while seamlessly switching between intense and sweet, delusional and sobering. 

Proving a nice refuge following the overstimulating — but respectably so — 2014 concert experience documentary, “Roger Waters The Wall,” this minimalist rendition of the beloved album did not skimp on the sound effects, hitting each yelp and boom gracefully and fervently. 

The guitar solo tailing “Comfortably Numb?” Flawless. 

The angst and bizarreness of “The Trial?” Startlingly on-point.

Unsurprisingly, “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” hit f**king hard, with an unblemished transition into the eerily beautiful and visceral “Mother.” 

“Goodbye Blue Sky” and “Vera” tapped into their softer talents, showcasing the band’s versatility without being forced or stepping into the territory of imitation. 

This is precisely what was so impressive about CAL — they didn’t need to mimic Floyd, they emulated them. They didn’t need to overreach, or force themselves into being a gaudy (and oftentimes, massively overrated) cover band; they let the music dominate. They didn’t need — or want — to rev up the crowd between songs or be aggressively visual, they simply were. 

While I could go through each song, and praise them individually, that is beside the point. Sure, the music is harrowing, but we know this — and have since 1979 when the double-track marvel was released. 

It is so beautiful, prophetic almost, to watch such a distinguishable and iconic piece of music done so well, and so accurately despite the 30 years separating their performances. 

While not as sophisticated or culturally stimulating, I will definitely be attending CAL’s upcoming May performance of AC/DC’s Back in Black, if anything just to see how far they can push themselves musically.

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Sam Jones is an opinion editor for the Daily Cardinal. To read more of her work, click here. 

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