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Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on April 21, 2013

The first thing I had to do when I popped in this disc was decide which version to watch.  The “director’s cut” does have the footage from the Dark Side sessions, but it also features godawful CGI and is cropped for a widescreen presentation.  Although I find the studio footage kind of interesting, I didn’t want to suffer through that nonsense again.  So I went for the original concert film.  It’s truly a shame the theatrical version isn’t on the DVD.

This is Pink Floyd at their proggiest.  There’s only a few minutes of singing in the whole thing, the rest of it is jams and freak-out instrumentals.  I enjoy the track selection a lot, with the exception of “Mademoiselle Nobs” and that’s only a couple of minutes.  The musical performance is terrific.  And playing to an empty ampitheater in Pompeii is not just a novel idea, but given the kind of lofty spaciness of the music feels rather appropriate.  It’s an interesting visual juxtaposition to have this wall of amplifiers set against the ruins.

But it isn’t a great concert movie.  Adrien Maben keeps the camera dynamic with a lot of grand tracking shots circling around the players… but he also adds a lot of cornball video effects.  You can’t help chuckling at something like Rick Wright superimposed over mosaics from the ruins, or all the musicians squished together in the frame so we can see them all at once.  And Maben seems oddly obsessed with Nick Mason.  “One of These Days” focuses almost entirely on him… not a single shot of Roger Waters, even though the bass is the most vital element of that song.

I don’t see myself watching this again.  Maybe if it had the 1974 version on the disc, but it doesn’t, so it’s going on the eBay pile.  I do adore the music, but I’ve got the albums for that.  Rating: Fair (68)


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