It Happened This Week in L.A. History: Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” Comes Tumbling Down in L.A.
February 7, 1980
Pink Floyd makes rock concert history with the live premiere of “The Wall” at Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Based on the group’s eleventh album of the same name, “The Wall” was an ambitious undertaking by the British rock group. A 160-foot by 31-foot wall was constructed on stage as the group performed; it later came tumbling down as the part of the concert’s finale. A metaphor for the sense of alienation that ran through the album and the band at the time, the wall impeded the audiences’ view of the group for most of the night. Elaborate staging was accented with flashing lights, balloons, film animation, and fireworks, which caused large embers to fall on the stage and lead singer-bassist Roger Waters to pause the show.
“The Wall” is Pink Floyd’s most successful album to date and considered one of the top 100 greatest albums of all time. Although Waters has performed “The Wall” in recent years, it’s L.A. premiere was the first of only 31 shows in the band’s original concert tour. It also marked an important moment in L.A. rock history: it was the first time Pink Floyd performed in Los Angeles since the band’s headline-making “Cruel But Fair” concert at the Sports Arena in 1975, at which hundreds of fans were arrested for using drugs. In response, other groups had avoided the jurisdiction of the LAPD between 1975 and 1980 by performing nearby in Long Beach or Inglewood. Although no photographers were allowed inside the arena to capture the 1980 premiere on film, the epic rock concert remains a milestone in rock music history.