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Review: David Gilmour ‘Live at Pompeii’

‘Live at Pompeii’ was shown at more than 2000 cinemas all around the world one night only on 13th September. The live DVD, Blu-ray and CD will be released on 29th.

David Gilmour returned to the Roman amphitheatre of Pompeii on 7th and 8th July 2016, 45 years after Pink Floyd filmed their legendary performance at the same location. The two concerts at the ancient venue were part of a year-long tour supporting the guitarist’s latest solo album, ‘Rattle That Lock’, released in 2015. The shows marked the first time an audience was admitted to the amphitheatre since 79AD, as no fans were present when Pink Floyd played there in 1971.

Both shows were captured by director Gavin Elder, who had previously worked with Gilmour on several occasions. The resulting film has been described as an “audio-visual spectacle”, making use of lasers, pyrotechnics and an enormous circular screen showing beautiful videos to complement the music.

The songs played at the concerts include Pink Floyd classics and samples of Gilmour’s solo material, with an emphasis on tracks from ‘Rattle that Lock’. Interestingly, the instrumental composition ‘One of These Days’ is the only one on the set list that was also performed by Pink Floyd in 1971.

The breath-taking light show is an amazing addition to the film, especially when the camera is looking down at the amphitheatre from a distance. But the emphasis is really on the music: Gilmour gives a performance that could possibly be one of the very best of his long career. He and his band seem to be having the time of their lives playing on that special stage, and the audience is no less enthuasiastic than the musicians themselves.

Gilmour has stayed true to the long-established tradition of Pink Floyd’s live shows, where the power of his psychedelic solos had been enhanced by the visuals since the group’s early gigs. However, unlike at a Roger Waters concert, the show elements always come secondary. There are also no political songs on the set list and no overall message, only two hours of phenomenal music at a stunning location that adds to the the majestic atmosphere.

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Members of Gilmour’s band in the film are guitarist Chester Kamen, bassist Guy Pratt, keyboardists Greg Phillinganes and Chuck Leavell, drummer Steve DiStanislao and saxophonist João Mello. Backing vocalists Lucita Jules, Louise Claire Marshall and Bryan Chambers give an awe-inspiring performance on ‘Great Gig in the Sky’, which is quite a challenge for any singer.

Earlier this month, Gilmour hinted at releasing a new record soon. He said he had several songs that were nearly complete, which didn’t make it to ‘Rattle that Lock’. He added: “It took 10 years last time, and I’m really hoping – without making any promises – that it won’t take 10 years this time, that I’ll get back in and start working again.”

© SARAH LEE - DAVID GILMOUR, POMPEII. JULY 2016
Credit: Sarah Lee

David Gilmour ‘Live at Pompeii’ Set List

  1. 5 A.M.
  2. Rattle that Lock
  3. What Do You Want from Me
  4. The Great Gig in the Sky
  5. A Boat Lies Waiting
  6. Wish You Were Here
  7. In Any Tongue
  8. High Hopes
  9. One of These Days
  10. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
  11. Sorrow
  12. Run Like Hell
  13. Time/Breathe
  14. Comfortably Numb

 

 

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