‘Live At Pompeii’
Reviewer: Nick Dunn
In the shadow of the world’s most infamous mountain gather three thousand eager disciples. Not since 79AD has such a crowd gathered for a performance in this amphitheatre, nor have there been any. The mountain is Vesuvius, the setting Pompeii, and the performer one of rock music’s finest practitioners, former Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour. For a single night (together with a carefully selected supporting cast) he will set out to impart a renewed sense of fervour to a city long deprived.
Fortunately for those of us unable to attend, it was recorded, released now under the title of ‘Live At Pompeii.’
Gilmour’s former band and prog-rock giants Pink Floyd dominated the airwaves in the seventies, capturing the heart of counter-culture and cultivating a reputation as being both thematically preoccupied and musically innovative along the way. One aware of this reputation might be forgiven for expecting Gilmour’s playlist to be equally conceptual. Whilst not strictly untrue, ‘Live At Pompeii’ does prove to be less focused than prior efforts, opting instead to sweep listeners along in a journey through an eclectic range of subject matter. Featuring tracks from both Waters and post-Waters Floyd, as well as a healthy selection of his own solo material, the live album has a total run time of two hours and twenty-eight minutes.
The Pink Floyd faithful will be relieved to see staples ‘Comfortably Numb,’ ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Run Like Hell’ scattered throughout the playlist. Perhaps less obviously, ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ album cut ‘Great Gig In The Sky’ also makes an appearance, re-imagined as a stunning duet performed by Lucita Jules and Bryan Chambers. From sorrow and loss on ‘A Boat Lies Waiting,’ anxiety and paranoia in ‘Run Like Hell’ and insipid greed on ‘Money,’ Gilmour keeps all of his bases covered. Though often similar in arrangement to the studio editions, Gilmour’s performance re-energizes the classics, and shines a different light on the newer material.
What truly sets apart ‘Live At Pompeii’ are the magnificent contributions of the band. ‘The Wall’ anthem ‘Comfortably Numb’ sees Charles Leavell (formerly of The Allman Brothers Band) fill in for Roger Waters on vocals. In ‘Time,’ keyboardist Greg Phillinganes undertakes the role previously performed by Rick Wright. Perhaps most striking of all, the aforementioned and vocally momentous ‘Great Gig In The Sky’ is performed beautifully alongside ‘A Boat Lies Waiting’ in tribute to the late keyboardist. Confident, crystalline and piercing, Gilmour’s finely woven guitar work adorns each song, rounding out a masterful performance.
Having released both a solo record and live concert film in the past 2 years, each to high acclaim, David Gilmour has arguably succeeded in putting to rest the myth that an old dog can’t learn new tricks. Though, when your old tricks are as good as his, you really needn’t even bother.
Follow DAVID GILMOUR
AMNPLIFY – AA