Pompeii and Pink Floyd

Pompeii, the city preserved like a snapshot of Roman life frozen in time. 

Part Two of the Pompeii blog series, Read part one here.
The amphitheatre at Pompeii provided an intresting diversion to the beautiful ruins around.

As we exited the theatre a strange but reassuringly family sound enter our ears, dragging us from the warm sunlight in the dark underground passageways…

OMG- a homage to Pink Floyd, how, why ? 

In 1971, Pink Floyd released Live at Pompeii a concert film.

Pink Floyd had already experimented with filming outside the context of a standard rock concert.

Artist and film director Adrian Maben went on holiday to Naples in the early summer of 1971

During a visit to Pompeii, he lost his passport, and went back to the amphitheatre he had visited earlier in the day in order to find it. 

Walking around the deserted ruins, he thought the silence and natural ambient sounds present would make a good backdrop for the music.

He also felt that filming the band without an audience would be a good reaction to earlier films such as Woodstock and Gimme Shelter, where the films paid equal attention to performers and spectator

The band insisted on playing live, and brought their regular touring gear with them. Their roadie, Peter Watts, suggested that their 16-track recorder would produce a sound comparable to a studio recording. In addition, it transpired that the natural echo of the amphitheatre provided good acoustics for the recording.

Although it was grandly billed as “More Than A Movie! An Explosive Cinema Concert”, Pink Floyd: Live At Pompeii is a small, personal film, which sets Pink Floyd, then at the tail end of their space rock phase, at the very heart of the European art scene. 

It crowned the era in which the group were scoring ballets, adding soundtracks to foreign art movies and recording in Paris. With a German-Belgian-French-made film set in an arena at the heart of the origins of Europe, Live At Pompeii represents Floyd as part of a continental Europe musical genre.

In its own quiet and archaic way, Live At Pompeii expanded the band’s reputation throughout the 70s.

The Beastie Boys made a music video for their song “Gratitude” that appears to be a homage to the film. 

In addition to copying its directorial style of slow horizontal tracking shots, overhead shots of the drums, close up shots of the bass and multiple shots of guitar filling the screen, the video shows a number of speaker cabinets that the group managed to purchase, still labelled “Pink Floyd, London”. The video ends with a message that reads,

 “This video is dedicated to the memory of all the people who died at Pompeii”

What a brilliant find In this historic place.

Where we are saying ……
Paloma, our motorhome is stationary under the shade of some trees in Camping Spartacus, Pompeii a few hundred meters from the entrance, check out our quick video of the site…


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