Pink Floyd's new massive "Immersion Edition" box set edition of their 1979 album 'The Wall' offers a wealth of new demo material that reveals tantalizing clues as to how the epic concept album was shaped.

The six CDs included in this lavishly packaged box are divided up into three pairs - an excellently remastered version of the album itself, the previously released live album 'Is There Anybody Out There' from the brief 1980-81 tour in support of the album, and then two CDs filled with demo versions from various sessions.

It's fascinating to listen as the songs evolve from Roger Waters' skeletal demos into half-formed band demos and finally versions close to the ones that ended up on the record. Problem is, the collection fails to include any new context or perspective on the creative process from the band or producer Bob Ezrin.

Some new liner notes or interviews would have been welcome at this stage. Still, it's fun to imagine you're hearing the moment when "We don't need no adulation" turns into " education" as the various versions of 'Another Brick in the Wall' unravel, or to figure out where previously unreleased songs such as 'Teacher, Teacher' would have fit into the final work.

On the down side, the collection also lacks the high-fidelity and surround DVD-based audio versions of the album, which were a very nice inclusion on previous "Immersion" box sets for earlier albums 'The Dark Side of the Moon' and 'Wish You Were Here.'

The most surprising omission, though, is the lack of visual material from the album's famous and groundbreaking multimedia spectacle of a tour in support of 'The Wall.' It makes some sense that the feature film based on the project is treated as a separate entity, but if ever there was a time to break out restored footage (in whatever quality exists) of this historic and largely unseen tour, this would have been it, right?

The pair of excellent photo and sketch books and the collection of stage concept postcards are very nice, but as far as moving pictures the set's DVD offers only an interview with album and tour artist Gerald Scarfe, the previously released documentary 'Behind the Wall' and a ninety-second clip of 'The Happiest Days of Our Lives' from a 1980 live performance. The tantalizing live clips featured in the documentary just add to the torture - did they really not film the whole show? We need a time machine, stat!

Still, the set does a great job presenting the music from 'The Wall' all the way from earliest creation to final studio presentation to live performance, and the photo and art books are all high quality as usual. Besides, now that all three box sets are out, we've quadrupled our scarf collection and are currently the proud owner of nine (instead of zero) official Pink Floyd marbles! Now, bring out the 'Animals' and 'Meddle' sets, will you?


Listen to Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' Immersion Edition Album Sampler

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