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The Wall Concert in Berlin

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Title: The Wall Concert in Berlin  
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Subject: Berlin Wall, Joni Mitchell, Potsdamer Platz, Albert Finney, Scorpions (band), Sinéad O'Connor, Leonard Cheshire, Gerald Scarfe, Garth Hudson, Snowy White
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The Wall Concert in Berlin

For other works based on the Pink Floyd album, see The Wall (Pink Floyd).

The Wall – Live in Berlin
Roger Waters
Released 10 September 1990
23 June 2003 (reissue)
Recorded 21 July 1990
Genre Progressive rock
Label Mercury Records
Producer Roger Waters
Nick Griffiths
Roger Waters chronology

Radio K.A.O.S.
The Wall – Live in Berlin
Amused to Death
Roger Waters live chronology
The Wall – Live in Berlin
In the Flesh – Live
Singles from The Wall – Live in Berlin
  1. "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2"
    Released: 10 September 1990
  2. "The Tide Is Turning"
    Released: 19 November 1990
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

The Wall – Live in Berlin was a live concert performance by Roger Waters and numerous guest artists, of the Pink Floyd studio album The Wall, itself largely written by Waters during his time with the band. The show was held in Berlin on 21 July 1990, to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall eight months earlier. A live album of the concert was released in September 1990. A video of the concert was also commercially released.


The concert was staged on vacant terrain between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate, a location that was part of the former "no-man's land" of the Berlin Wall.

The show had a sell-out crowd of over 350,000 people, and right before the performance started the gates were opened which enabled at least another 100,000 people to watch.[2] While this broke records for a paid-entry concert, 7 days earlier Jean Michel Jarre had set a new world record for concert attendance, with his free Paris la Defense show attracting a live audience of two million.

The event was produced and cast by British impresario and producer Tony Hollingsworth. It was staged partly at Waters' expense. While he subsequently earned the money back from the sale of the CD and video releases of the album, the original plan was to donate all profits past his initial investment to the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief, a UK charity founded by Leonard Cheshire. However, audio and video sales came in significantly under projections, and the trading arm of the charity (Operation Dinghy) incurred heavy losses. A few years later, the charity was wound up, and the audio and video sales rights from the concert performance returned to Waters.

The production was designed by Mark Fisher and Jonathan Park.[3][4][5] The stage design featured a 550-foot-long (170 m) and 82-foot-high (25 m) wall. Most of the wall was built before the show and the rest was built progressively through the first part of the show. The wall was then knocked down at the end of the show.[6]

Waters had stated on the first airing of the making of The Wall on In the Studio with Redbeard in July 1989 that the only way he was to resurrect a live performance of The Wall was "if the Berlin Wall came down". Four months later the wall came down.

Initially, Waters tried to get guest musicians like Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton but they were either unavailable or turned it down. Both Rod Stewart, who was to sing "Young Lust", and Joe Cocker were originally confirmed to appear but when the original planned concert date was put back both found themselves unavailable.[7] Also, on the same 1989 interview with Redbeard, Waters also stated that "I might even let Dave play guitar." On 30 June 1990 backstage at the Knebworth Pink Floyd performance at Knebworth '90, during a pre-show interview, David Gilmour responded to Roger's statement on an interview with Jim Ladd by saying that "he and the rest of Pink Floyd (Nick Mason and Rick Wright) had been given the legal go-ahead to perform with Roger but had not been contacted." Two days later, on 2 July 1990 Waters appeared on the American rock radio call-in show Rockline and contradicted his Gilmour invite by saying, "I don't know where Dave got that idea".

In the end, Hollingswoth (with Waters assisting) brought in guest artists including Rick Danko, Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of The Band, The Hooters, Van Morrison, Sinéad O'Connor, Cyndi Lauper, Marianne Faithfull, Scorpions, Joni Mitchell, Paul Carrack, Thomas Dolby and Bryan Adams, along with actors Albert Finney, Jerry Hall, Tim Curry and Ute Lemper. Leonard Cheshire opened the concert by blowing a World War II whistle.

This performance had several differences from Pink Floyd's original production of The Wall show. Both "Mother" and "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" (like in the 1980/81 concerts) were extended with solos by various instruments and the latter had a cold ending. "In The Flesh" (also like the 1980/81 concerts) has an extended intro, and "Comfortably Numb" featured dueling solos by the two guitarists as well as an additional chorus at the end of the song. "The Show Must Go On" is omitted completely, while both "The Last Few Bricks" and "What Shall We Do Now?" are included ("The Last Few Bricks" was shortened). Also, the performance of the song "The Trial" had live actors playing the parts, with Thomas Dolby playing the part of the teacher hanging from the wall, Tim Curry as the prosecutor, and Albert Finney as the Judge. Rather than the usual closing track, "Outside the Wall", the show ended with "The Tide Is Turning", a song from Waters' then-recent solo album Radio K.A.O.S.

The Wall – Live in Berlin was released as a live recording of the concert, although a couple of tracks were excised from the CD version, and the Laserdisc video in NTSC can still be found through second sourcing. A DVD was released in 2003 in the USA by Island/Mercury Records and internationally by Universal Music (Region-free).

Hollingsworth's company Tribute, a London-based "good causes" campaign company, sold worldwide television rights, with 52 countries showing the two-hour event. Twenty countries showed up to five repeats of the show and 65 countries broadcast a highlights show. There was also distribution of a double music CD and post-production VHS videotape by Polygram.


  1. "In the Flesh?" by Scorpions
  2. "The Thin Ice" by Ute Lemper & Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
  3. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)" by Roger Waters; sax solo by Garth Hudson
  4. "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" by Roger Waters
  5. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Cyndi Lauper; guitar solos by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White, synth solo by Thomas Dolby
  6. "Mother" by Sinéad O'Connor & The Band; accordion by Garth Hudson, vocals by Rick Danko & Levon Helm; acoustic instruments by The Hooters.
  7. "Goodbye Blue Sky" by Joni Mitchell & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir ; flute by James Galway
  8. "Empty Spaces/What Shall We Do Now?" by Bryan Adams, Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
  9. "Young Lust" by Bryan Adams, guitar solos by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White
  10. "Oh My God – What a Fabulous Room" by Jerry Hall (intro to "One of My Turns")
  11. "One of My Turns" by Roger Waters
  12. "Don't Leave Me Now" by Roger Waters
  13. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3)" by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
  14. "The Last Few Bricks"
  15. "Goodbye Cruel World" by Roger Waters
  16. "Hey You" by Paul Carrack
  17. "Is There Anybody Out There?" by The Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir; classical guitars by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White
  18. "Nobody Home" by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, guitar solos by Snowy White
  19. "Vera" by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
  20. "Bring the Boys Back Home" by The Rundfunk, Band of the Combined Soviet Forces in Germany & Red Army Chorus
  21. "Comfortably Numb" by Van Morrison, Roger Waters & The Band & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, guitar solos by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White
  22. "In the Flesh" by Roger Waters, Scorpions, the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
  23. "Run Like Hell" by Roger Waters and Scorpions
  24. "Waiting for the Worms" by Roger Waters, Scorpions and the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
  25. "Stop" by Roger Waters
  26. "The Trial" by The Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, featuring:
  27. "The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid)" (with Outside The Wall affixed to the end) by the Company (lead vocals by Roger Waters, Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Van Morrison and Paul Carrack.) & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir.


The Company

The Bleeding Heart Band

  • Rick Di Fonzo – guitars
  • Snowy White – guitars
  • Andy Fairweather-Low – bass guitar, guitar, backing vocals
  • Peter Wood – keyboards, organ, synthesizers
  • Nick Glennie-Smith – keyboards, organ, synthesizers
  • Graham Broad – drums, electronic percussion
  • Stan Farber – backing vocals (credited as Jim Farber)
  • Joe Chemay – backing vocals
  • Jim Haas – backing vocals
  • John Joyce – backing vocals


Performance notes

  • Before the beginning of the show, brief performances by The Hooters, The Band and The Chieftains (with guest James Galway) were held, but none of these songs was ever officially released.
  • In the actual concert on live television, the second song, "The Thin Ice" and part of the third song, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)", were disrupted when a circuit breaker tripped. It was reset, but immediately tripped again so they had to rewire some equipment. Those two songs had to be re-recorded for the issue of the videotape. After 'The Thin Ice' was interrupted, the original, live American broadcast of the show said: "This is radio-aid live in Berlin. If you're wondering what's happening, is, a production involving some thousands of people, has stopped. And when that has to happen, Roger walked out in front of the crowd, sort of waved to them and said, 'Oh well, this happened a couple of times during rehearsal' – in fact, if you were lucky enough to have seen 'The Wall' in L.A., when it was performed, I think, the second night, there was a curtain that caught fire, some very similar situation has happening [sic] here. They have to back up tapes, they have to re-cue lighting, get everybody ready, and then they're gonna roll it. He's actually kind of jovial about the whole thing, he's walking across the stage and just kinda went 'Aw, shucks,' and the crowd is laughing, they know what happened, that somebody missed a cue and they're gonna rewind, uh, get everything going again, and take the film back...because this is what happens with The so tall...they end up using it as a kind of like a drive-in movie projector – uh, screen, rather – they project images on it and everything, so there's a lot of things that have to be re-wound, re-cued...and then they're gonna re-start it and then they're gonna come back to it....You're listening to 'The Wall, Live from Berlin' on the Global Satellite Network. And the reason we're here is for the 'Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief.' And if you'd like to help out, they're trying to get together and – unless you can write a check for $800 million – they're trying to get together some money that will be in a permanent account, and this money will then go whenever there's a disaster, whenever it's needed, somewhere in the world. And you can send your check into for 'the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief' P.O. Box 4383 Hollywood, California 90078 – and I think we're doing the show again! Let's go back live to the stage! 'The Wall, Live from Berlin'"
  • The live performance of "Mother" was also hounded by a power failure. Roger Waters tried to get Sinéad O'Connor to sing her parts anyway, or mime the song, while the error was being fixed. Offended by being asked to mime, she didn't return after the show to re-record the performance (which is how "The Thin Ice" was saved for the CD/Video release.) Instead, the release version of "Mother" comes from the dress rehearsal on the previous night before the concert. Consequently, the large projection of Gerald Scarfe's mother character that was projected on the screen during the concert cannot be seen on the video or DVD versions.
  • Film director Ian Emes was hired to shoot live footage originally intended to be included in the program. Emes devised a film around the character of Pink, performed by Rupert Everett, and of Pink's mother, played by Marianne Faithfull, and shot the sequences in East Berlin during the concert preparations. Only a small segment of the film was used in the performance.
  • The Wife's part of "The Trial" was reshot at London's Brixton Academy after the original sequence was deemed to be of insufficient quality due to camera shake. What is seen in the video issue is a close-up of Ute Lemper, shot against a dark background, lip-syncing to the original live sound.[7]
  • Shot on Potsdamer Platz, the no man's land between East and West Berlin, the producers didn't know if the area would be filled with mines. Before setting up, they did a sweep of the area and found a cache of munitions and a previously unknown SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler bunker.[8]
  • At the request of the concert producers, part of the Berlin Wall was kept in place as a security fence behind the stage.
  • During the final chanting of "Tear down the wall!" in the Trial sequence, the wall has a projection of a concrete and graffiti marked semblance of the Berlin Wall, just before it is torn down.
  • At the beginning of "Bring The Boys Back Home", a section of the Vietnam War Memorial was projected onto the wall.
  • The live Van Morrison version of "Comfortably Numb" is used in the Martin Scorsese film The Departed. It is later used in HBO's 'The Sopranos'. Morrison also performed this version on his 2008 concerts.
  • Rights in the event are held by Tribute Inspirations Limited.


Chart (1990) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[9] 10
Austrian Albums Chart[10] 25
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[11] 12
Dutch Albums Chart[12] 15
French Albums Chart[13] 6
German Albums Chart[14] 10
New Zealand Albums Chart[15] 4
Norwegian Albums Chart[16] 17
Swedish Albums Chart[17] 34
Swiss Albums Chart[18] 11
UK Albums Chart[19] 27
US Billboard 200[20] 56



External links

  • Mark Fisher's "The Wall in Berlin" gallery
  • Internet Movie Database

de:The Wall#Geschichte
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