Thirty-one years ago today, in celebration of the fall of one of history’s most infamous and symbolically ominous walls in human history, Roger Waters brought his own iconic Wall to Germany. The historic concert staged on July 21st, 1990, saw the Pink Floyd bassist/composer perform the band’s classic 1979 double-album The Wall in its entirety, flanked by a fleet of special guests including Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Bryan Adams, Sinéad O’Connor, Cyndi Lauper, Thomas Dolby, Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Van Morrison.
The special performance, which featured theatrical embellishments from actors like Tim Curry, was conceived by Waters and producer Tony Hollingsworth as a celebration of the destruction of the Berlin Wall and its significant implications on the state of global society. The show was produced on vacant terrain between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate, a location that was part of the former “no man’s land” of the wall—the physical barrier between West Berlin and communist-controlled East Berlin. The stage design featured a 550-foot-long, 82-foot-high wall. Most of the wall was built before the show, and the rest was built progressively through the first part of the show, before being knocked down as part of the concert’s climactic finale.
Throughout the Cold War, Pink Floyd’s The Wall—conceived as a rock opera centering on themes of alienation—had become the perfect soundtrack for the tensions and divide symbolized by the Berlin Wall. While Pink Floyd famously took The Wall on tour in 1980 and 1981, as relationships between the band members began to sour, Waters claimed in a 1989 interview with In Studio with Redbeard that the only way he was going to resurrect a live performance of The Wall was “if the Berlin Wall came down.” Four months later, the wall’s deconstruction began.
The Wall – Live In Berlin was released as a live album and concert film one month after its performance, on August 21, 1990. You can watch the full performance below:
Roger Waters – The Wall – Live In Berlin – 7/21/90
Setlist: Roger Waters | The Wall – Live In Berlin | Berlin, Germany | 7/21/1990
“In the Flesh?” by Scorpions
“The Thin Ice” by Ute Lemper & Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)” by Roger Waters; sax solo by Garth Hudson
“The Happiest Days of Our Lives” by Roger Waters
“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” by Cyndi Lauper; guitar solos by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White, organ solo by Peter Wood, synthesizer solo by Thomas Dolby
“Mother” by Sinéad O’Connor & The Band; accordion by Garth Hudson, vocals by Rick Danko & Levon Helm; acoustic instruments by The Hooters.
“Goodbye Blue Sky” by Joni Mitchell & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir; flute by James Galway
“Empty Spaces/What Shall We Do Now?” by Bryan Adams, Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
“Young Lust” by Bryan Adams, guitar solos by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White
“Oh My God – What a Fabulous Room” by Jerry Hall (intro to “One of My Turns”)
“One of My Turns” by Roger Waters
“Don’t Leave Me Now” by Roger Waters
“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3)” by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
“The Last Few Bricks”
“Goodbye Cruel World” by Roger Waters
“Hey You” by Paul Carrack
“Is There Anybody Out There?” by The Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir; classical guitars by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White
“Nobody Home” by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, guitar solos by Snowy White
“Vera” by Roger Waters & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
“Bring the Boys Back Home” by the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, Band of the Combined Soviet Forces in Germany & Red Army Chorus
“Comfortably Numb” by Van Morrison, Roger Waters & The Band & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, guitar solos by Rick Di Fonzo & Snowy White
“In the Flesh” by Roger Waters, Scorpions, the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
“Run Like Hell” by Roger Waters and Scorpions
“Waiting for the Worms” by Roger Waters, Scorpions and the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir
“Stop” by Roger Waters
“The Trial” by The Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir, featuring:
Tim Curry as the Prosecutor
Thomas Dolby as the School Master
Ute Lemper as the Wife
Marianne Faithfull as the Mother
Albert Finney as the Judge
“The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid)” by the Company (lead vocals by Roger Waters, Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Van Morrison and Paul Carrack.) & the Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir.
“Outside the Wall” by Roger Waters
[Originally published 7/21/19]