Looking Back at Pink Floyd’s 1971 Performance in Pompeii
Like I’ve written countless times throughout this blog and website, Pink Floyd is a remarkable band for the way they pushed boundaries through not only their music but their live performances. Of their performances, their 1971 performance at the Pompeii amphitheater in Italy is one of the most captivating and psychedelic shows I’ve ever witnessed.
Given that there isn’t a crowd for the show and was purely recorded for a live performance purpose, it’s eerie how much it seems like a show from today since many artists are recording empty shows during the COVID-19 era. On the other hand, this performance was at an odd point in Pink Floyd’s career, given that it was two years prior to their groundbreaking accomplishment with the Dark Side of the Moon. Plus, how often do you see a band perform somewhere as otherworldly as Pompeii?
The main footage in and around the amphitheater was filmed over four days in October 1971, using the band’s regular touring equipment, including studio-quality 24-track tape recorders. Additional footage filmed in a Paris television studio the following December was added for the original 1972 release. The film was then re-released in 1974 and the film has subsequently been released on video numerous times, and in 2003, a Director’s Cut DVD appeared which combines the original footage from 1971 with more contemporary shots of space and the area around Pompeii.
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