Sunday, May 31, 2015
PINK FLOYD: LIVE AT POMPEII
(September 1972, U.S.)
Hey there, people...after an unavoidable absence from my home and my computer...I'm b-a-a-a-a-a-c-k!!! I said would return and I have, and I've returned with my favorite rock band of all time, PINK FLOYD!
Now let's be honest for a moment...it's very easy and convenient for any lover of classic rock to say they like or love Pink Floyd. Sure, it's easy if you've repeatedly heard some of their most commercial hits on FM radio like "Money", "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb". Hell, my nine year-old son has gotten caught up over the years in my love for "The Dark Side of the Moon" (my favorite rock album of all time, by the way!) and it's iconic image of the prism and the rainbow, but he still has yet to hear and appreciate the entire album from beginning to end. And quite frankly, as he's growing up in a sad generation that's come to appreciate the pop sounds of One Direction, Ariana Grande and even Taylor Swift (UUGH!!!), he'd be likely to consider my favorite album just a little too weird for his tastes, particularly the track known as "The Great Gig in the Sky". But to really know and love the band as I do, you have to go back to the days before the breakthrough of The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) to when the majority of their tunes were very progressive, eclectic and psychedelic. The average Pink Floyd fan of today is likely to neither know nor appreciate some of the early songs as "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", "A Saucerful of Secrets" or even the entire album side of "Echoes".
PINK FLOYD: LIVE AT POMPEII is not your traditional live concert film. Instead of playing to an audience the band members of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason perform some of their most progressive tracks only for themselves and the crew inside the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. And just like a cool music video at a time that was nine years before MTV would ever go on the air, there are startling images of the ancient surroundings of Pompeii history that is perfectly timed to accompany the incredible music we hear. But as I said, the music is not for your average FM radio Pink Floyd fan of today. A certain level of patience and appreciation is required for not only this film, but for the early (not too early, as in it's music that is post Syd Barrett) music, as well. When the band isn't playing, the rest of the film serves as a documentary of not only the band's relationship with each other, but also a behind-the-scenes look at the process of making The Dark Side of the Moon album at the famed Abbey Studios in London, as well. It's actually quite interesting to listen to them during their interview in how they have a great respect for one another, despite occasionally getting into professional squabbles, as bands often will. Listening to them in 1972, one would think they're destined to survive as a band for decades to come. However, those who follow the band and their history know that in the 1980s, their very existence as a band came to a disastrous end after years of inner turmoil, inevitably resulting in lawsuits filed by Roger Waters for legal use of the name Pink Floyd. Thankfully, the music didn't end there because their were two more Floyd albums in 1987 and 1994.
Like many of these sorts of films, I had the opportunity to see it on the big screen at midnight shows when I was in college. By the time I owned it on VHS at school, I was often apt to play it when I returned to my dorm room after a night of drinking. While I wasn't high from any hard drugs, the psychedelic sounds of the early Pink Floyd was just what I needed to end my night before sleeping until about 3 pm the next day. Ah, the irresponsible care-free days of college in the '80s!
Favorite line or dialogue:
David Gilmour: "It was very heavy back a few years ago. It's not so bad since, but I think some people still think of us as a very drug oriented group. 'Course we're not. You can trust us."
Favorite tracks performed:
"Echoes" and "A Saucerful of Secrets"