As exercises in expectation management go, Roger Waters doesn't get off to the greatest start.
It's not just that he arrives into town on the heels of Obamamania, nor is it the hype surrounding his Wall tour. But, just under a fortnight ago, he was joined on stage in London by Pink Floyd bandmates David Gilmour and Nick Mason -- and 'the reunion' is being chewed by the fans as the main man makes his explosive arrival.
It's quite a mountain to climb, but he gets his foothold right away.
"So you thought you might like to go to the show," he sings, as he opens up the album with the riff-driven 'In The Flesh'. Nobody misses that one, and a rapturous cheer signals the surrender of the audience after just a few bars.
And why not?
The setup is visually stunning in a way that The O2 possibly has not seen before, consisting of The Wall, built up brick-by-brick as the show progresses until it covers the entire stage. Images, from the evocative to the surreal, are projected on to the gigantic structure as the album's theme is explored in ruthless depth.
Throw in a flying, inflatable 'capitalist pig', and a terrifying 'Schoolmaster' puppet, and it would be easy to forget about Mr Waters altogether. But moving through several characterisations, his performance is closer to that of an actor than a singer -- and for all that goes on around him, he is simply gripping.
Before 'The Trial', a man beside me spies my notebook and asks if I'm a critic. I confirm, and he tells me: "For some people, this is a gig. For some, it's nostalgia. Some of them see it as religion, but for others. . . this is therapy."
Almost on cue, The Wall comes crumbling down -- and hysteria sets in.