Pink Floyd – The Wall – Experience Edition – bonus disc (Capitol/EMI) review
We’ve decided to review the bonus disc separately, since it is that good
Call it “bonus discs,” “unreleased material,” “alternate versions,” “demos,” or “deluxe editions,” but the goal of any record company is to get you to re-purchase what you already own. Because of that, most of this “extra footage” is usually something that you listen to once, and then tuck away, leaving you to wonder why you spent the extra cash for this “ultimate version” of your favorite album. The bonus disc to the Experience Edition of Pink Floyd’s the Wall is the rare exception; it’s a disc so revelatory and rich with insight into the finished album, that it begs to be issued on its own.
It’s well-documented that the sessions for the Wall were arduous; it essentially tore the band apart. Keyboardist Richard Wright was the first casualty, exiting during the making of the record. Yet, the original band would go on to record only one more lackluster album (The Final Cut) before an acrimonious split. This bonus disc shows the incredible amount of time that was put into crafting these songs. While most of the music is in place on these early versions, the lyrics are in many cases, vastly different. For instance, “Another Brick in the Wall Pt 1” is aimed more squarely on the fans which leader Roger Waters had grown weary of. With lyrics like “we don’t need your adulation,” and “you should’ve seen them in their younger days,” you can see where Waters got his original ideas for the Wall concept.
Despite this being tracks in unfinished form, you may be surprised at how well they still sound; many of the songs still segue into each other. In just about every instance, there is something different and revealing about the bonus cuts. “The Thin Ice” has some amazing guitar work from David Gilmour that was omitted in the final take, while “Young Lust” has completely different verses yet the chorus remains intact. “Mother” is a lot stranger, downright creepy, with all the synth effects (although, it’s rather amusing to hear drummer Nick Mason struggle with the strange time signature through both demos of the song).
If you already own a copy of the Wall, you’ll have a lot of fun listening through the bonus disc, hearing how the band changed things over time. Many of these alternate versions may become your favorites – you may end up preferring them over the original ones.
A few notes on the Immersion box – it’s almost four times the price of the Experience edition. Yet, of the 7 discs, 4 have already been issued previously (and if you’re a Floyd fan, you have both the Wall album and the 2-CD live version). That leaves 3 discs of bonus material, the highlights of which are already on the Experience version, and a lot cheaper too. That leaves a book, and some excessive items like a scarf, dice, and ticket stub. The Wall was also known for its groundbreaking visual aspect – yet besides a documentary on the making of the Wall and a music video for “Another Brick part 2,” the visual side is sorely lacking. This would’ve been an excellent opportunity to release the heavily-bootlegged Earl’s Court shows on DVD. The bottom line is this Immersion box fails in really giving the fans extra footage. It’s just not worth the asking price for what little extra you do get. Stick with the Experience Box. –Tony Peters