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Home arrow David Gilmour 2016
July 7th - ANFITEATRO DI POMPEI / POMPEII AMPHITHEATRE, POMPEII, ITALY Print E-mail
Pink Floyd - Live At Pompeii
TICKET SCAN TO GO HERE


Capacity: 2,000

Concert starts: 9pm

Address of venue: Via Plinio, Pompei NA, Italy. MAP

Website: pompeiisites.org

 

COMMENTS

An incredible, and totally unexpected venue for a pair of shows on David's 2016 European tour is this - the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. It is located in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, and was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, that also buried Pompeii itself and the neighbouring town of Herculaneum. Well known to Pink Floyd fans as the filming location for Adrian Maben's 1972 film, with the band shot performing live with no audience, the 2016 shows will have an audience this time around - 2,000 lucky souls each night in the historic venue.

Tickets for the concerts - which start at 9pm each evening - go on sale on Tuesday, (March 22nd) at 13:00hrs CET from www.DavidGilmour.com. In efforts clearly designed to stop the ticket touts, there are some important ticketing restrictions in place.

Tickets are limited to a maximum of two per person for one show only (not both) and are priced at €300 each plus 15% booking fee. The purchaser will get a receipt with his or her name on it, and must present this to the box office on site, with photographic ID and the card used to purchase the ticket(s). If two tickets have been bought, the additional person must also be present. Each ticket holder will then be presented with a ticket and a wristband, and both must be shown to security to enter the site (the wristband must be worn at the time).

SET LIST - highlight the following with your mouse to read...
FIRST HALF: 5am, Rattle That Lock, Faces Of Stone, What Do You Want From Me, The Blue, The Great Gig In The Sky, A Boat Lies Waiting, Wish You Were Here, Money, In Any Tongue, High Hopes.
SECOND HALF:
One Of These Days, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Fat Old Sun, Coming Back To Life, On An Island, The Girl In The Yellow Dress, Today, Sorrow, Run Like Hell ENCORE: Time / Breathe (reprise), Comfortably Numb.

WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD!

Do not read on if you don't want surprises to be spoilt, regarding what the band played!

In the lists of "legendary" Pink Floyd (and related) concerts a few clearly spring to mind. Live 8, Games For May, Montreal 1977 are three such examples, all for strikingly different reasons. When David's pair of concerts at the ancient Anfiteatro in Pompeii were announced, it seemed clear that they could become seen equally as special.

With the two consecutive nights taking place in a venue which had NEVER seen a rock band perform for an audience (with Pink Floyd's 1971 performance shot in an empty arena) the potential and possibilities of these shows seemed as endless as the rumours of the set that David would be playing!

Last night, the first of the concerts confirmed everything that was suspected about the very special nature of the event, and its "must see" status. It was clear that this wasn't just another night on the list of Rattle That Lock concerts, with the production just plonked into the arena. No, clearly much work had been undertaken over weeks and months to finesse the whole set up, to give those lucky enough to be at the show a truly unique experience.

With the day boasting high temperatures, making even some of the locals remark about the heat and humidity, the location being an open air arena seemed a good idea. The ancient stonework was, however, still very warm to the touch at the end of the concert. Earlier in the day, the remarkably efficient ticket validation and wristband distribution took place mainly under cover, a welcome respite from the sun (if not the heat).

An orderly and patient queue quickly understood what was required...a queue to be seen at the desk within a glass sided, but cooled, semi-circular structure, one half of which contained some of the body casts of those lost in the volcanic devastation, just to make the point of where you were. A good humoured and efficient staff dealt with the ticket and wristband (blue for the first day, yellow the second, with press and guests getting different colours - red and orange - with a couple of silver bands spotted over the course of the two days) and once attendees had these, they could then either enjoy the rest of their day in this Italian town, or join the queue for entrance to the concert, hoping to get their perfect position within the relatively small venue.

At the entrance, security was as strong as expected, with bag searches to ensure the concert proceeded without any major issues. 

The sense of anticipation was palpable as the crowd entered the site of the Pompeii excavations, with Vesuvius lurking in the background, heading to the amphitheatre itself. Inside, every effort (quite rightly) had been made to protect the site with non-destructive construction - flooring for the main audience area, protective barriers and special stairways for the seated area surrounding the arena floor.

Everyone, from normal concert-goer through to VIPs, press and guests, entered the arena through the same tunnel, which opened out into the arena floor. Guests with the appropriate wristband and ticket could take a side turn through part of Adrian Maben's fascinating Live At Pompeii exhibition to get to the seated (and cushioned) area just above the arena floor, for an elevated view alongside the sound and lighting desks, and cameras recording the show for (hopefully) future release.

Waiting for the show to begin, one's eyes cast around the place, taking in all the detail. Ringing the wall at the top were spot/lighting operators, and other lights were also seen. The stage gave a reminder of 2001: A Space Odyssey, with Mr Screen on a simple support which could barely be seen behind it, with no lateral expanse and no cover or canopy over the stage. This was clearly a stripped down version of the show as befitting the venue and its place in Pink Floyd history. Common sense told you that it was never going to be like the 1971 version, with the instruments on the floor, and Mr Screen was also a given really, so the sympathetic staging was just perfect. 

Whilst I was not personally expecting a dramatically different set to normal (some seemed convinced that there would be a recreation of the 1971 repertoire), it was interesting to hear the subtle changes to the set, including the little movements of songs, and the inclusion of The Great Gig in the Sky (instead of Us And Them), performed in part as a tribute to Richard Wright.

Sonically, the show was stunning. I had NEVER heard the sound so clear, crisp, dynamic, balanced, detailed and perfect. Initial thoughts that it would have been nice to see surround stacks were unfounded as the shape of the venue meant that at many times, you felt truly enveloped by the sound. Musically, the band were on superb form, with each musician fully deserving praise for their respective performances.

Throughout there were so many special moments, moments where you really took in the important and history of your location. A particularly nice touch was as the light faded away, moving into night-time, a series of small metal plates ringing the top of the venue suddenly had fires lit on them - a nod to the original uses of the amphitheatre. During Wish You Were Here I looked up at the stars, and saw the Big Dipper constellation, one of many small but magical moments in an evening full of them.

David Gilmour - Pompeii, July 7th

Some serious efforts had been made into the visual aspect of the show - using the entire venue as a lighting rig was wonderful and made it feel truly special. Everything was done sensitively, with the obvious exception of things such as Run Like Hell, with lasers and lighting going mad as ever! Encircling the arena with lighting units gave the possibilities of a variety of effects, from subtle lighting of the grassy banks, to washing the audience with colour, to simulating Roman columns, and to creating a roof over us all. With misting machines going, an atmospheric, smoky drift heightened the lighting, despite the slight (and welcomed) breeze trying to move this away.

The show (and tonight's encore performance) was being filmed but thankfully the positioning of cameras was very subtle and non-intrusive, and they will have surely captured the incredible event well. As a side note, almost two hours after the final notes had rung out, the lighting units that ringed the arena could be seen going through their paces again - could that have been to do a few "pick up" shots from different angles?

Will there be any changes or additions to tonight's show? We shall have to wait and see... in the meantime, we'd love to hear from others who were there. What did YOU think of the show?

CONCERT REVIEW and PICTURES by BD CONTRIBUTOR, Kevan Porter
A spiritual homecoming: David Gilmour, Pompeii 7/7/16

The anticipation surrounding David's Pompeii gigs has been nothing but frenzied and ecstatic. Will he play Echoes? Will Roger and Nick make an appearance? Will they play the whole Pompeii 71 set? Everyone, it seems, has an opinion and hyperbole has run into overdrive.

Tonight, the first night of two gigs here, we found out. There is nothing better than fact to rewrite fiction and over imagination turned urban myth.

The setting for these two, undeniably unique, gigs is the world famous Anfiteatro Di Pompei. The venue was exhumed from the ashes of the great Vesuvian eruption of 79AD, latterly made famous of course (for Floyd heads that is), by Adrian Maben's excellent film, Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii.

This might also be the smallest audience for any of David's concerts for many years as the Anfiteatro Di Pompeii is, of course, a seriously protected ancient Roman monument and, as such, requires very careful attention to protect it. Estimates vary between 1200 and 2000 attendees who are, in the main, contained to standing on the ground floor of the arena and not sitting in any of the partially restored tiered stone seating which is reserved for press and VIPs.

It has been a hot and sultry day with temperatures rising to well over a stifling 30 degrees that has slowly dropped to the late twenties by the time the audience are allowed to enter the venue which, to all intents and purposes, has become a sort of holy pilgrimage for the devoted.

There is no denying the venue itself is simply spectacular and oozes masses of atmosphere, it's impossible not to be won over before a single note is even played. David and his skilled team have recognised this fact and, impossibly, quadrupled its dizzying effect. You cannot help but be swept away by the overwhelming feelings of excitement and expectation reverberating around this centuries old stone relic.

The sun is almost set and we start to get a feel for what is to come as smoke machines positioned around the top perimeter of the venue slowly belch out a mesmerising mist that gently fills the arena, mixing with the beams of coloured lights strategically positioned to maximum effect. Marc Brickman and his team have designed and conjured a unique and venue specific light show that far surpasses anything previously seen on the current tour. Working within the constraints and complexities of an ancient monument must have been a difficult task but Marc has delivered a 'son et lumiere' that is totally and magnificently befitting of this wonderful venue. As there is no overhead canopy, all the equipment and the hugely impressive speakers stand on the stage evoking the familiar set up shown in the 1971 film, with the exception of a free standing Mr Screen behind the band with its usual array of Vari-lites.

As the small audience fill up the floor space they are greeted with a Floyd/Gilmour soundscape, a sound collage of snippets of Floydian music mixed with found sounds and at one point that most famous of 'pings' which only serves to heighten the anticipation of what's to come. At dead on 9pm the band take to the stage and the familiar tones of 5 A.M. send shivers down my neck as the concert begins. It's not fully dark yet and the contrast between the stage lights, the perimeter spot lights and the ambient light is spectacular, creating an eerie, almost ethereal sensation.

David Gilmour - Anfiteatro di Pompei, 7th July 2016 David Gilmour - Anfiteatro di Pompei, 7th July 2016
David Gilmour - Anfiteatro di Pompei, 7th July 2016 David Gilmour - Anfiteatro di Pompei, 7th July 2016

Rattle That Lock follows which immediately illustrates how tight and well rehearsed the new band is with a rhythmic and punchy sound. Which leads me on to say how crystal clear and perfect the sound was tonight. I can only imagine this is what it would sound like if you were able to sit in on a studio session, the best sound quality of the whole tour in my humble opinion. Vocals were as clear as if you were listening to your hifi at home but with very deep and controlled bass, lots of punch and very clear separation of the stereo sound. Absolutely incredible, if only all gigs could sound this good.

I won't list all the songs played tonight, except to say how touching it was to hear David dedicate The Great Gig In The Sky to Rick, one of the ghosts of Pompeii as he said, with the song culminating in the massive perimeter spotlights pointing heavenwards in one combined and seemingly endless beam. A Boat Lies Waiting and Wish You Were Here then followed ensuring Rick's spirit stayed with us.

The pace was picked up with a rip roaring version of Money which highlighted not only the perfect sound system but also the tightness of the band and soulfulness of David's guitar playing, his soloing was magical. It has to be said at this point what a difference Chester Kamen on second guitar brings to the sound and feel of this current run of shows, ably demonstrating much skill and flair with his nuanced style and interplay.

The first set concludes with the familiar High Hopes far too quickly - has a whole hour already passed so soon? During the short intermission we pinch ourselves as we reflect back on what we have just witnessed and feel incredibly lucky that we still have more yet to come!

We notice that beacons of fire have now been lit around the top perimeter of the arena, just as they would have been in ancient Roman times, and as the arena fills with smoke and the sound of whooshing the band get stuck into a thunderous version of One Of These Days accompanied by a crazed and frenetic display of oscillating and pulsing lights - another highlight of an evening full of highlights.

This is followed by a beautiful rendition of Shine On You Crazy Diamond which almost seems as though it were written especially to be played in this very spot. Fat Old Sun is another corker, the centre circular screen filled with orange looking eerily like Roger's famous flaming gong. Later, On An Island once again demonstrates the fabulous interplay between David and Chester's guitar playing with soaring soloing from both players.

We approach the end of set two with Run Like Hell which has never sounded better. The playing by all performers is spot on and brings the main part of the show to a climactic end with strobe lights and pyrotechnic thunder flashes erupting from the top perimeter evoking the power of Vesuvius!

If that were still not enough we are then treated to Time/Breathe Reprise and then, everyone's favourite, Comfortably Numb which is stunning in every possible way with the audience happily and joyfully singing along. The lasers are even more impressive tonight as they reach out into the night sky as though searching for stars which is needless as the stars, tonight, are terrestrial and on this stage, right in front of us.

Some shows are enshrined in myth and this show, tonight, is certainly going to be one of those shows that only a few attended but many will say they were at or wished they'd been at. I feel privileged to have witnessed this truly unique and stunning event, a momentous occasion and one that I shall never, ever forget.

CONCERT PICTURES by BD CONTRIBUTOR, Andrea Giunio Bruni

Here's a selection of Andrea's shots from the first night in Pompeii...

David Gilmour - Pompeii, July 7th, 2016 David Gilmour - Pompeii, July 7th, 2016
David Gilmour - Pompeii, July 7th, 2016 David Gilmour - Pompeii, July 7th, 2016
David Gilmour - Pompeii, July 7th, 2016 David Gilmour - Pompeii, July 7th, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW by BD CONTRIBUTOR, Raghu Krish

Arriving at Pompeii in the noontime on a recce trip to ensure parking space for the concert, gave me a good flavor of what to expect for the evening. I had been to Pompeii years before with my parents and brother, wistfully recalling back then how I wish I were there in 1972 in the arena listening to the fab four. Now I was back, as a much older person, to listen to the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd. How lucky I was and the evening should give me enough memories to say to someone at some point out in the future that as a catalog of life’s experiences, in its musical terms, this was a concert that I would most cherish.

After I came back to the spot with my wife in the evening, I parked my Audi (rental upgrade) in the parking spot of the woman who owned a souvenir shop and took to my name, which means spaghetti sauce in Italian. She offered her personal parking spot at an extravagant 10 Euros for the entire night! How wonderfully lovely townsfolk are and what a steal of a price to get, right at the gates of where the concert was! Lucky indeed. Her name is Antonella if anyone goes there, make sure you buy souvenirs from her.

The anticipation of the event was building up at the gates of Pompeii, as if like in old times, where one would crowd round the ancient amphitheater’s gates to watch their favorite gladiators in combat. Well, we all had descended in one place to watch our favorite gladiator who was ever careful with that axe in his conquests. The place was a throb of activity, local vendors selling David Gilmour’s tour scarves and other knickknacks. I pitied the scarf vendor most as he was desperately trying to hawk his wares for five Euros but to no avail.

With all the bustle of the evening at the gates, the fading light of the evening was special, which apparently caused Director Adrian Maben to choose the spot for the ’72 show. The light of this place was special, especially because it fell on ancient ruins. It was hot as hot could be but still the light had a strange texture to it. At 7pm as the gates opened for entry, we spent an entire hour before we got through passing the ticket collectors. As soon as we were past them, the pathway that led to the amphitheater opened up the arena in front.

The amphitheater is old, red brick affair, surrounded by tall Italian pines. An absolute beauty of a building but it made it hard to imagine that man and beast tore at one another in that amphitheater in the past. The David Gilmour poster for the Pompeii show presented itself in elegant framed poster before the entrance. You walk through an ancient tunnel with cobbled steps to the end where an archway opens into the arena.

Immediately the circular Pink Floyd screen greeted you, less than 75 feet away! What strikes you instantly is that you are in the presence of what will be a very intimate concert. It was only a 2000 seat holder. The lunatics had already chosen the front spots with no course for making your way to the front. So, I settled for a spot about 20 feet from the stage.

It was magnificent to be almost at the foot of the venerable bands’ equipment. I cast my eye around the stage and spotted many familiar items one knows David to have on stage. There were the familiar old WEM cabinets in red lettering with diamond shaped frames on the front grille, the hiwatt amps beside them, there was a massive bass cabinet, no doubt belonging to Guy Pratt, there was a drum kit, piano and some other instruments covered with a protective sheet. I was fascinated being so close to the WEM cabinets, which I remembered from the original ’72 film footage of Live in Pompeii. Time travel lay await and I fancied all sorts of imagery in my mind, would he play Echoes? Will he be bringing a dog and play the Howling Dog Blues, would they play shirtless?

As the evening wore on, the clock struck 9pm but still the show had not started. However it gave me ample opportunity to scope out the surroundings. The perimeter of the arena on top was dotted with spot-lights and vertical flood lights, there was one man at each station with headphones and also were numerous movie cameras. As the evening wore on, one of the cameras on the ledge exposed a rising crescent moon. The magic was slowly starting rise as the night advertised the last long rays of the sun.

The arena floor was boarded up, perhaps to prevent ancient ground from being trampled beneath 2000 pair of feet. The arena seating was made from stone and tufts of grass jutted out where seat slabs would meet, making it all seem very romantic. Some of the stone slabs exposed their marbled polished past. In hot weather, marble offers the best air-conditioning for the posterior. As they say in English drama houses “Bums on seats laddie, bums on seats”. Looking behind me, I noticed a very elegantly dressed crowd gathering at those seats. The seats offered the best view of the stage. No wonder they call it ring side seating! There were beautiful women seated on it with men in elegant Italian silk shirts. I wondered if they were a VIP crowd or were family members of David’s touring band. I concluded that they were probably local government officials, staff of the camera crew, and so on. At one point I noted that David’s wife Polly and her family and friends were also seated there. What was nice about my position was I was not only close to the stage but also close to the backstage! This was a really intimate setting indeed.

Around 9:15, the stagehands started priming the dry ice machines and puffing out the clouds of gas. At 9:30, an Italian announcer addressed the crowd in Italian and said David would be shortly making an appearance to kick-off the concert. The dry ice now started to puff out huge clouds of smoke, and the lights dimmed and spotlights came, from the side stage, I spotted David alighting the steps to come across and walk to his station. The concert began.

The gentle notes of ‘5 AM’ rang through its melody and segued into the tour title song, Rattle That Lock. The guitars were soaring carrying with it the unmistakable tone of David Gilmour. Song after song was belted out. The first Floyd song made its appearance in the guise of “What Do You Want From Me”.

When it came to singing ‘A Boat Lies Waiting’, David first announced that he was happy to be in the beautiful place, amongst ancient ghosts and recent ones and speaking of which he mentioned Rick and said that the next song was about him. A lovely song, that! Unmistakably anthemic and a moving tribute to the creator of quite possibly the most beautiful opening strain in the history of rock music, 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. I think that this song has a good bookend to 'On The Turning Away' which is about no one but still anthemic.

But what was particularly beautiful was listening to W'ish You Were Here' in that intimate setting. The acoustic guitar sounded so near to my ears. David’s scat vocals toward the end polished off this gem as another one for the crown. An absolute beauty of a song and I really feel that his playing it live brings the true beauty of the song to its actual organic beauty, only in a live setting.

When the big screen came alive to the cash register effect, the crowd roared in delight and off came oodles of cash and a gorgeously improvised guitar solo that was preceded by an extra beautifully played sax solo from the Brazilian artist touring with the band. The first few numbers were from the new album and then came on the Floyd numbers. It was nice to listen to some songs from the Division Bell. 'High Hopes' was up next with the trademark church bell announcing its arrival. Somehow when I heard this song in Madison Square Garden, I thought that the slide solo at the end was beautifully done but tonight was probably not its night for David as the band was not able to pull it together in the middle section during the solo.

The real nice thing to experience was One Of These Days from Meddle. The booming bass and this song had David crashing into the cymbals while standing next to the drum kit. After that he went to his pedal steel and started his slide guitaring. It was all so beautifully done and was the highlight of the evening for me in some sense because it was the only song from the set list that was lifted from the original Pompeii concert so many decades ago. There were interestingly no Syd Barrett songs for the entire concert. This song also marked the intermission.

After intermission ended, I was so close to the backstage, I saw Polly with her Leica wandering about taking pictures of us, the audience! Then David came by, they kissed and he boarded the stage for more songs. As I said earlier, it is an intimate venue.

The band back onstage! The opening strains of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' wafted through the evening air. Also was a lot of cigarette smoke curling upward! The song was executed beautifully in all parts, vocal, guitars and keyboard/synth. The guitar parts were beautiful to listen to in that small venue.

At this point, I noticed two curiosities. One was that Phil Manzanera was missing and his place taken by Chester Kamen who is Roger’s guitarist!! The second is that Jon Carin was missing and his place taken by Greg Phillinganes. There was also a white bearded guy called Chuck Leavell who resembled someone I knew from the cinemas. All in all it was nice to see that Greg pulled off Rick Wright’s parts quite well and had a rather sinister tone to Roger’s parts of 'Comfortably Numb'.

There were nicely rendered versions of 'Fat Old Sun', 'Coming Back To Life' and the rather jazzy 'Girl In The Yellow Dress'.

When 'Run Like Hell' started, the band donned eyeglasses and as usual it blew laser beams outward to the top of the arena and toward the end, the song was topped off with fireworks, flame pots shooting high up into the sky, fans reveled at the spectacle that unfolded, the whole arena went agog with excitement and cheer.

After this the band thanked the audience and departed the stage only to return a few minutes later after there was considerable thumping of feet on the wooden floorboards with screams for 'Echoes' and more. They reprised to 'Comfortably Numb' and 'Time'.

I thought that the 'Time' solo was terrific and had a very close rendition to the original. In the five times I’ve seen David, this rendition was my favorite and the guitar was searing the sound high up with those beautiful notes bent to its most melodic. I later read in the Rolling Stones interview that he could not possibly do 'Echoes' without Rick Wright “Music does not work that way”. I was impressed with David’s professionalism and also his integrity.

I finally think why I think that he is a great musician. He is a gentleman player with no personal gimmickry on stage, laser focused on the music and devoted to his instrument and gives it his all with his voice. Truly, he marks a sort of era, to borrow Nick’s phrase from the original concert footage. An era which is passed and is occasionally revealed in its extolling by virtuosos such as David Gilmour.

YOUR HELP NEEDED! We want to cover David's concerts the best we can, to share the experience with everyone, especially those who won't be able to attend the shows. We'd love to see ANY pictures, tickets scans, reviews, newspaper reports, and anything else you come across for this show - we look forward to hearing from you!

Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 August 2016 )
 
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