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Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, Volcano Ampitheatre, October 1971

Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii, Volcano Ampitheatre, October 1971 Music
by Pink Floyd

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Live at Pompeii is a 1972 concert documentary film directed by Adrian Maben and featuring the English rock group Pink Floyd performing at the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. Although the band perform a typical live set from the era, there is no audience beyond the basic film crew. The main footage in and around the amphitheatre was filmed over four days in October 1971, using the band's regular touring equipment, including a mobile 8-track recorder from Paris (before being bumped up to 16-track in post-production). 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 with additional studio material of the band working on The Dark Side of the Moon, and interviews at Abbey Road Studios.

The film has subsequently been released on video numerous times, and in 2002, a Director's cut DVD appeared which combined the original footage from 1971 with more contemporary shots of space and the area around Pompeii, assembled by Maben. A number of bands have taken inspiration from the film in creating their own videos, or filming concerts without an audience.

Pink Floyd had already experimented with filming outside the context of a standard rock concert, including an hour-long performance in KQED TV studios in April 1970. Adrian Maben had become interested in combining art with Pink Floyd's music, and during 1971, he attempted to contact the band's manager, Steve O'Rourke, to discuss the possibilities of making a film to achieve this aim. After his original plan of mixing the band with assorted paintings had been rejected, Maben went on holiday to Naples in the early summer.

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 spectators. One of Maben's contacts at the University of Naples, Professor Carputi, who was a Pink Floyd fan, managed to persuade the local authorities to close the amphitheatre for six days that October for filming. Access was secured after payment of a "fairly steep" entrance fee.
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