Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Immersion? Yeah, I suppose so: Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

So, today was a big day for me. I got my first iPhone (woo), and my wife gave me the OK to get the Immersion box set of Pink Floyd's "The Wall."

I've managed to go without the earlier Immersion sets for "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here." Spending $130 on several box sets (each) just won't work under my financial situation. Plus, the bonuses included on those earlier box sets were tempting ... but not essential.

"The Wall," on the other hand, has a lot of goodies. And since my brother and I ate, drank and breathed "The Wall" for a couple of years (in our late teens), well ... I really wanted to get this box. My wife, the supportive and understanding soul that she is, encouraged me to get it. (She's awesome, and not just for letting me indulge my music addiction.)

What makes the Immersion  box set so enticing? Well, sure, you get the remastered original album (which was already available in its two-disc form). The original album is a classic, though (as with "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here") the remastering done with the content isn't going to provide revelations to the already faithful Floyd fans. It's nice, stuff sounds better than ever, but it never sounded bad to begin with.

When you get to the bonus content, that's where the hook gets firmly embedded in my cheek. Here's the outlook:

Discs one and two are the original album, remastered. A classic album, very meaningful to me for the memories I have with it.

Discs three and four are the live album "Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-1981," which has  also been remastered. I bought this live set the day it was first released a decade or so ago, and I absolutely loved it. My original copy has seen the normal wear and tear, and I don't mind getting a new copy of it ... especially remastered.

Discs five and six are CDs that provide Roger Waters' original demos and demos the band put together as they fleshed out the album. This was the real seller for me. I love, love, love demos and alternate takes. I love to be a fly on the wall as classic songs and albums get pieced together. I like to hear how things came together and the evolution of lyrics or arrangements. Tasty!

Disc seven is a DVD full of audio-visual material. You get a couple of videos ("The Happiest Days of Our Lives" about Pink Floyd's "The Wall" from Earls Court in 1980, and the original promotional video for "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" that has been restored in 2011), as well as the documentary "Behind The Wall" (almost 51 minutes by itself) AND an interview with visual artist Gerald Scarfe (a little over 17 minutes long). I've never seen any of that stuff before (I'd seen a poor VHS dub of the "Another Brick in the Wall" video ... so I won't count it). Treasure!

And if all of that isn't enough ... there's more! Yes, more!

There's a 40-page booklet designed by acclaimed Pink Floyd designer Storm Thorgerson, a 20-page photo book, an exclusive Scarfe art print, 4 collectors cards, a replica of "The Wall" tour ticket, a replica of the backstage pass, a printed scarf (heh ... a Scarfe scarf?), 3 "The Wall" marbles (marbles!), 9 coasters (why 9? no idea ... better than 8 I suppose), 6 replica drawings of the live set from "The Wall" by Mark Fisher, a new Scarfe handwritten lyric poster ... and an 8-page credits booklet.

That's a lot of stuff. And sure, some of it is just bric-a-brac. But I give the people who put the set together credit for giving so MUCH bric-a-brac. Many boxes have less content, less goodies and are just as expensive. I take my silver lining where I can find it, I suppose.

I can't wait to dive right in and experience all the demo content and the videos. Tonight should be a fun night! Well ... as fun as anything related to "The Wall" can really be (if you know the album, you know what I mean). Heck, maybe the music will even find a home on the new iPhone. :) And if I really get moved by the content, I'll throw some comments on this post to give my thoughts and impressions. Please feel free to do the same if you've picked up the set!

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