plays tribute to Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’
Billing his “In the Flesh” show coming to Mulligans on the Blue in Wailea as a “sonic and visual experience like nothing you’ve ever experienced on Maui,” Murray Thorne’s says his unique spectacular celebrates the music of Pink Floyd’s epic “The Wall.”
One of the top five best-selling albums of all time (with world-wide sales of more than 40 million), Floyd’s innovative rock opera explored the world of a troubled, alienated rock star named Pink, who had lost his father during World War II.
The double album included such memorable songs as “Comfortably Numb,” “Hey You,” and the anthem of youth rebellion, “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2,” with its famous “We don’t need no education” chorus.
Floyd’s bass guitarist and lyricist Roger Waters had conceived the album during the band’s 1977 In the Flesh Tour. A massively popular concert production, it has been recreated a number of times by Waters, including at the Berlin Wall in 1990, before 350,000 fans.
Waters has even recently talked about presenting his “Wall” concert as a protest at some location near President Trump’s proposed U.S./Mexico border wall. Waters reported that “The Wall” is “very relevant now with Mr. Trump and all of this talk of building walls and creating as much enmity as possible between races and religions.”
“I’m really excited to do it again,” says Thorne who last presented his solo “Wall” show in 2014. “I was really motivated this time around by some of the stuff that happened in Charlottesville. I try to keep the blatant politics out, but I had relatives that landed on the beaches on D-Day, fighting Nazis. The images from Charlottesville and the white supremacists wearing arm bands, they looked exactly like the fascist characters from Roger Waters’ ‘Wall’ when they built the wall. It’s appalling that it could rise up, so it motivated me to want to do it. It’s a way to bring a bit of awareness and put it in a fun rock ‘n’ roll show at the same time.”
A long-time Pink Floyd fan who often played some of the band’s classics in his solo performances, Thorne began thinking about performing his own version of “The Wall” a few years ago.
“I used to play solo a lot and do a lot of Pink Floyd and stuff from ‘The Wall’,” he says. “I have some theater background and I loved the theatrical story behind the album. It really struck a chord with me. There’s a psychological story of the human condition of the character in it and the scars he carries from his childhood, building an emotional wall to hide from society. I’m fascinated by that story and there are some personal parallels. Roger Waters’ father died during World War II and I had an uncle who died during the war and my father died when I was young.”
To enhance the performance, the show will include synchronized lights by Keith Langlois of Epic Lighting and an interactive large screen movie created by Thorne, which features some new contemporary references “that keep the story relevant in people’s minds.”
So does he actually build a wall in the show?
“I’m not trying to mimic the concert or compete with the arena show and build a giant wall and tear it down, but we have some brick props, and we add to it,” he says. “We do build pieces of wall around me playing. The stuff that Keith does to light it looks amazing. He’s an enormous Pink Floyd fan and he adds a really interesting element.”
Raised in Canada, Thorne spent the early part of his career touring with several bands before branching off as a solo artist, eventually landing on Maui in 1997. Besides his solo shows, he is probably best known for his exuberant performances with the Irish music band the Celtic Tigers, who play Mulligans on Sunday nights.
Does he have any particular “Wall” favorites that he sings?
“I love ‘Goodbye Blue Sky,’ it’s the prettiest piece of music,” he says. “I’m a sucker for the sad songs like ‘Nobody Home.’ I honestly love them all.”
Among those praising his previous “Wall” shows, Thorne was delighted to discover actor Woody Harrelson declaring it, “an amazing experience.”
“He paid me a huge compliment and said he loved it. He wanted to meet me after the last show. He’s an indie filmmaker as well as being a well-known actor and he complimented me on the film I made. I was really flattered.”
Oahu’s hot soul/funk trio Ron Artis II & The Truth return to Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon in Paia at 9:30 p.m. Friday. The band includes Stevon Artis on drums and Tony Burruso on bass. Admission is $30. For more information, call 579-8085 or visit www.charleysmaui.com.
“The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson,” an all-star concert taped live in Nashville, premiered on the CMT channel last Thursday. The concert film featured performances by a number of celebrated artists including Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, Rodney Crowell, Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack. A double CD from the event has just ben released. Highlights include “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” with Nelson and Kristofferson, and an all-star grand finale performance of “Why Me.”
Known for hits like “Fever,” “We’re All Alone,” “One Fine Day,” “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher & Higher,” and “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” Rita Coolidge will play the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater in Kahului at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19.
A two-time Grammy winner, Coolidge performed with Delaney & Bonnie and Joe Cocker, and was featured on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour (she was the legendary “Delta Lady”). She has toured and recorded with many greats including Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Leon Russell and Duane Allman. Classic songs she sang on include Clapton’s “After Midnight” and Stephen Stills “Love the One You’re With.”
Tickets are $40, $55 and $65 (plus applicable fees). For more information or to buy tickets, go to the box office, call 242-7469, or visit www.mauiarts.org.
Country superstar Eric Church is heading back to Maui to headline the third annual BMI Maui Songwriters Festival running Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.
Performing in the concert at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at the A&B Amphitheater at the MACC, he will be joined by Grammy-winner Maren Morris, Academy of Country Music Awards-winner Jon Pardi, Collective Soul front-man Ed Roland, Randy Houser and Maui’s Lily Meola.
Besides the MACC concert, events will also be held at the Wailea Beach Resort –Marriott, Mai; Fleetwood’s on Front St.; and Tommy Bahama in Wailea. Tickets for the MACC concert are available at the box office, by calling 242-7469 or by visiting www.mauiarts.org. Find event schedule and information on tickets for other venues at www.mauisongwritersfest ival.com.
Maui Deadheads are rejoicing again over the return of Phil Lesh & Friends to the MACC at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28 and 29. The legendary bassist for the Grateful Dead began playing with a rotating ensemble of musician friends in 1998, a few years after the death of the band’s lead guitarist/singer Jerry Garcia. Friends on the Hawaii tour include the bassist’s son Grahame Lesh, Ross James, Alex Koford, Jason Crosby and Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno. Tickets are $140 and $150 (plus applicable fees). For more information or to buy tickets, go to the box office, call 242-7469, or visit www.mauiarts.org.
Since his memorable debut more than 30 years ago, Steve Earle’s musical career has included country, rock, folk, bluegrass, blues and a duet album with Shawn Colvin. Earle will perform solo at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 in the MACC’s McCoy Studio Theater.
Beginning his career writing songs in Nashville, he rose to fame with his 1986 album, “Guitar Town,” which topped the Billboard country album charts and led to Grammy nominations for Best Male Country Vocalist and Best Country Song for the title track.
Since then, he’s received three Grammy Awards and seen his songs recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris.
Willie Nelson sings on the title track of Earle’s latest album “So You Wanna Be an Outlaw.” Reviewing the album, Pitchfork.com praised: “Earle’s been on a prolific streak, releasing new albums at a fiery pace while serving as a spiritual godfather for country’s current renaissance.”
Tickets are $30, $45 and $65 (plus applicable fees). For more information or to buy tickets, go to the box office, call 242-7469, or visit www.mauiarts.org.
And looking into 2018, Willie K will host his annual blues festival from 6 to10 p.m. on Jan. 6 at the MACC. It’s newly named the Willie K & Friends Bluesfest. Stay tuned for more information.