Busy Saturdays

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Food porn, friends, music, Roger Waters, The Wall

Happy Monday everyone!

Standard Palace Burger

I hope this finds you well and that you all had decent weekends. I know Supportive Partner Woman (eater of crunchburgers!) and I did. Saturday dawned and SPW and I got some stuff done around the house, then headed to Cherry Hill, NJ, to meet our friend Fred at Bobby’s Burger Palace. This is a burger joint owned by Food Network chef Bobby Flay and it is possibly the best burger I’ve ever had in my life. I opted for the Palace Classic Burger (cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and American cheese), SPW got the Crunchburger (double American cheese and potato chips) and Fred wound up with an LA Burger (cheddar cheese, watercress and avocado relish). In addition, SPW and I split an order of onion rings and Fred went with the sweet potato fries. Everything was top-notch, but the real star of the show was probably the chipotle ketchup on the table. This was a delicious combination of smoky and sweet, coupled with a bit of heat from the chipotle. It was delicious and really set off both the burger and the onion rings. SPW (connoisseur of burgers!) said that this beat the burger she had at Burgers and More by Emeril. I understand that people have different tastes, but it was funny to read some reviews on Yelp! and fine people who say that it was almost as good as Five Guys. Sigh.

Before heading to Cherry Hill, SPW (writer of extraordinary talent) had gotten around to putting her spin on the Sandusky scandal. I think she did a great job with it… you can find it here. This is one case where I agree with her 100%.

The Wall

After eating our delicious burger goodness, we headed into the Philadelphia Financial District, which is what wags refer to the sports complex as. This is due to the naming rights partners of the sports venues, Lincoln Financial, Wells Fargo and Citizens Bank. We were headed there to see The Wall. I have a few things to share about the show.

For his age, Roger Waters can still rock the house. Hell, anyone of any age who can stage that show is amazing.

Upon arrival at Citizens Bank Park last night, you could see the top of what appeared to be an immense stage peeking out of the ballpark. It wasn’t until we got inside that you could grasp the scale of the stage. It spanned from foul pole to foul pole, with the wall spreading beyond the boundaries of the field and into the stands.

Ah, yes… the wall. As big of an attraction as Waters himself, this was a massive set piece. Measurements I had seen said it was some 500 feet long and 40 feet tall when completed. Not only did it serve as an integral part of the pageantry, it made for an amazing projection screen. More on that later.

The concert started with some dialog from the classic movie Spartacus. Suddenly, the band began to play In The Flesh?, setting the stage for a night of dead-on album sound. Images are projected on the wall, setting the tone and a model of a Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber crashes into the wall and explodes. It gets better and more intense from that point.

Let me just take a moment to praise the band. Made up of several Pink Floyd session guys like Snowy White, amongst others, the band is very tight. They should be, having played this tour for three summers. Other musicians of note included Robbie Wyckoff, a session vocalist who provided the David Gilmour vocals and former SNL bandleader G.E. Smith, who played guitar and ukulele. The band even included Waters’ son, Harry, who played keyboards and organ.

The sound, provided by Clair Brothers, was impeccable. The stadium was wired for surround sound, which really makes my home theater seem wimpy, and they had a nearly perfect balance. The staging and rigging were like nothing I had ever seen before. I was pleased to see many open seating areas where they did not sell tickets as the view would’ve been obstructed by a lighting tower or projection unit. Our seats in the Hall of Fame Club were excellent. They were wider than standard ballpark seats, so standing up did not produce any sucking sounds as my bulk was levered clear. The seats cost a smidge more than the lower level seats but were well worth it.

Merchandise offerings were plentiful, with the standard T-shirts, hats, trinkets, etc. The best value was an 18×24 tour poster, suitable for framing, for only $5.00. The T-shirt was $40 and features the crossed hammers on the front with the tour locations on the back. On the way out of the stadium, I also procured a second shirt via the secondary market. It’s a quality shirt, a Hanes with no tag. Guy wanted $20, I started walking and he quickly lowered his price by $10.00. I scored the second shirt and left happy. I bought both shirts in a size that’s too small, but I’m confident I will fit in them before too long.

Its easiest to describe the concert as an almost sensory overload. Between the music, which was loud and yet crystal clear, to the video messages, to the giant puppets and the underlying anti-war theme, there were messages left and right. I also gained an appreciation of how a mob mentality can work. At the climax of The Trial, as the judge was exhorting everyone to tear down the wall, the energy was palpable. As the stadium shook (yes, shook) and 45,000+ people screamed, “Tear down the wall!”, well, I really wanted to go do that. It was a visceral moment. Other highlights included the playing of Comfortably Numb, where both SPW and I had tears in our eyes.

All in all, it was a show I was glad I had the opportunity to see. It ranks right up in my top three shows, if not number one, with Pink Floyd’s 1994 show at the Vet and U2’s Joshua Tree show at JFK in 1987. I’d tell you to go see it, but this was the last US show. There’s one more North American show, at Quebec City’s Plains of Abraham on July 21. Supposedly Waters is considering running the tour for another summer throughout Europe, but that’s probably to get the money’s worth out of the staging, which was reported to cost upwards of $60 million.

I’ve heard tell that this might be the last major rock spectacle to ever be staged live. If that is the case, I’m glad I was there. To hear one of the most amazing albums ever recorded performed live as it was intended is certainly bucket list material. What do I cross off the list next?

  1. Fred says:

    Great writeup Brian. What’s next? Rush – Exit State Left 2 Tour. 🙂

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