It is 45 years since Pink Floyd recorded their seminal live film at the desolate Pompeii amphitheatre for a live performance of their album Meddle. David Gilmour returned to perform a one-off concert to a select crowd of about 3,000 people, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.
Polly Samson is an author and lyricist who has written many lyrics for Pink Floyd albums. She is also a photographer and, try as she might, she could not persuade her husband to take off his shirt to revisit the 1971 look of the first Pompeii movie.
The lighting rig is fully tested in the afternoon before the show, while the musicians take a break to look around the city.
Historian Mary Beard gives Gilmour and Samson a tour of the ancient site. She explained how Pompeii as a provincial town was the ‘Shepton Mallet of the Roman World’.
Beard and Gilmour catch up.
Adrian Maben conceived and directed the original 1971 Pink Floyd production.
Gilmour and Samson head to the stage, down one of the tunnels which would last have been used by performing gladiators.
Gilmour works through his guitar set-up during the afternoon with guitar technician Phil Taylor. With a mixture of modern digital boxes and vintage pedals from the 60s, 70s and 80s his uniquely authentic live sound is crafted in incredible detail.
A vintage Electric Mistress flanger pedal, BK Butler handmade Tube driver pedals, the Cali-76 studio compressor, a vintage Big Muff fuzz box, and Boss graphic equaliser pedal.
A pair of programmable MIDI EQ pedals, Vitalizer digital delay pedal, Free The Tone digital delay, picks, and all-important cup of tea.
A pair of acoustic guitars sit behind The Workmate, a Gibson Les Paul and the famous ‘Black Strat’ – a black Fender Stratocaster, complete with Jimi Hendrix’s guitar strap, which he wore at the Isle of Wight festival weeks before he died. The strap was a gift from his wife for his 60th birthday.
People wait outside the venue before the show. There was a real awareness in the crowd that to be allowed into the amphitheatre for a concert was something special.
The band take a bow at the end of the show.
Gilmour and the rest of the band leave the stage.