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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing footage of early Pink Floyd
I hadn't seen this since 1991. Back then, as an 18 year old, I was big on Pink Floyd, and was starting to dig in to their pre-Dark Side of the Moon catalog, and was rather surprised how great a lot of this was. I also figured out why their early stuff don't get radio airplay, because it was often too far "out there" for mainstream radio. Now here's a wonderful...
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by BENJAMIN MILER

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3.0 out of 5 stars A view into the past
When watching this, we get to see Pink Floyd just before their success of Dark Side of the Moon. This isn't necessarily like a concert video though because there isn't any crowd. Rather, this was created with the purpose of putting some images to the music. We get to see the band perform, so that's good. There are a few times when the filming would focus on quick...
Published on Feb. 12 2003 by Amazon Customer


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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing footage of early Pink Floyd, Jan. 25 2004
By 
BENJAMIN MILER (Veneta, Oregon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
I hadn't seen this since 1991. Back then, as an 18 year old, I was big on Pink Floyd, and was starting to dig in to their pre-Dark Side of the Moon catalog, and was rather surprised how great a lot of this was. I also figured out why their early stuff don't get radio airplay, because it was often too far "out there" for mainstream radio. Now here's a wonderful video worth looking in to. While entitled "Live at Pompeii", you don't see an audience, but you get to see the band perform at the infamous ruins. Given this filmed late in 1971, no surprise that they only perform material as late as Meddle. While the band performed, you get scenes aternating between the band performing and of the ruins. Songs featured here include "Echoes", "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun", "Mademoiselle Knobs" (which is basically "Seamus" without vocals, but with the dog still included), "One of These Days" and "Careful With That Axe, Eugene". I have always been fond of "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", by the time Roger Waters does his infamous screams, I was really tripping out over the scene of the volcano erupting. It was just totally appropriate, because it was right as the song reaches its most intense climax. The part where they played "A Saucerful of Secrets" bothered me a bit, because David Gilmour had his hair in his eyes and didn't do anything to keep it out of his eyes. In fact, watching this video was the big reason why I bought albums like A Saucerful of Secrets, Ummagumma, and Meddle. One wished some material from Atom Heart Mother and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn got played. Still, a wonderful video to have, especially because it demonstrated what Pink Floyd was like way before they became the bloated arena rock band in the 1980s with the laser light shows (I'm referring to the Momentary Lapse of Reason/Delicate Sound of Thunder-era). Those who think Pink Floyd begins and ends with The Wall (I met my share of people like that in my lifetime) will be disappointed that Live At Pompeii don't have any of the hits they're familiar with (like "Comfortably Numb" and "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2"). But for the serious Pink Floyd fan, this is truly an essential video.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor--Make sure to get the VHS first!!!, Jan. 10 2004
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
I begin with an important warning to anyone contemplating purchasing the DVD, especially if you think you're going to get rid of the VHS version, or you plan to get only the DVD for the very first time--the VHS is still the definitive version, and you will regret not having it around. The reason is that the DVD was done by producer Adrian Maben with no input from the band, and therefore will be a grave disappointment. Aside from some additional interview material, including the keyboardist Richard Wright (sorely neglected on the VHS), there is very little to recommend the DVD above the VHS--in fact, some will strongly argue that the DVD is worth nothing and this is really the ONLY good version. The DVD ruins the ambience with terrible computer animation--Maben seems not to have matured over the years in his technique. His style makes for an interesting period piece on the VHS, but when he thinks he can carry over the exact same techniques on new technology, it's really quite sad. Furthermore, no attempt was ever made to correct the tape speed, and thus the pitch remains nearly a semitone sharp...not even a *full* semitone, so don't expect to be able to jam with either version.
My advice is, if you ARE going to get the DVD for the extra interview material, get the VHS with it, or make sure to hang on to your original copy. And make sure to purchase the DVD with gift money, not out of pocket. The VHS is worth a LOT more trouble than the DVD. Yes, the video cassette is an inferior format in the 21st century, and Pink Floyd *does* deserve better...but as Adrian Maben did not see fit to provide anything truly better, this is the best you can do for yourself. Make sure to order a VHS now, in case they go out of print!
Yes, there are some noticeable flaws in the original, but we need to remember, Pink Floyd was not yet the financial powerhouse that it is now...nor were technology or filming technique up to today's standards, by a long shot. This means you will have to put up with some oddities, including a filming technique that makes it look very much like a period piece. But perhaps the most notable flaw is the fact that the film runs at a slightly high speed. Those observing closely may notice that the band's movements seem unnaturally fast. But more noticeable is the fact that everything is pitched significantly sharp, so you will not be able to jam along with this without retuning. And finally, as I mentioned before, Richard Wright fans will be very disappointed to note that he is only included once in the interviews, and is not even seen as he speaks (one of the few deficits you might wish to also pick up a DVD to correct). HOWEVER--even as an ardent Richard Wright fan I can't take more than half a point away, as this video will still blow your mind.
His keyboard playing, for instance, goes a long way towards making up for the lack of interview material from him, particularly at the end of "A Saucerful of Secrets" and during "Echoes, Part II" (the latter of which reduced me to tears!). And who can forget the delightfully funny performance of "Mademoiselle Nobs", a remake of "Seamus" where his instrument is...the dog? Truly a great piece of Floydian humor to watch (Although is it me, or does Roger Waters not get the joke? Watch and find out...). Another set of fans will be greatly appreciative of the VHS--here, Nick Mason's more exotic, pre-Dark Side drumming style is showcased fantastically. Notice that he continues without a pause even when a drumstick flies out of his hand. David Gilmour is also in fine form, although to me his most notable moments are in the creation of Dark Side, and Roger Waters delivers almost mad-seeming vocal and percussion performances, in addition to his bass work.
The peek into the production process for Dark Side is truly fascinating, and most notable is a wicked version of the On the Run synth loop that will make your hair stand on end. There are also some interesting practice takes by David Gilmour and Richard Wright, including parts from "Brain Damage" and "Us and Them". Finally, you'll at last discover the source of some of the great Floyd-fan inside jokes (pie without the crust, and so on). Overall, I think this video is a solid 4.5 and a must-have for any Pink Floyd fan. The lowered rating refers to the combination of the highly rated VHS and the disappointing DVD. Don't settle for less--make sure to have a copy of the VHS around, even with the new DVD version!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still the definitive version!, Sept. 26 2003
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
I begin with an important warning to anyone contemplating purchasing the DVD, especially if you think you're going to get rid of the VHS version, or you plan to get only the DVD for the very first time--THIS is still the definitive version, and you will regret not having the VHS around. The reason is that the DVD was done by producer Adrian Maben with no input from the band, and therefore will be a grave disappointment. Aside from some additional interview material, including the keyboardist Richard Wright (sorely neglected on the VHS), there is very little to recommend the DVD above the VHS--in fact, some will strongly argue that the DVD is worth nothing and this is really the ONLY good version. Although I have not seen the DVD yet, I have certainly seen very mixed reviews of it. My advice is, if you ARE going to get the DVD, get the VHS with it, or make sure to hang on to your original copy. Yes, VHS is an inferior format in the 21st century, and Pink Floyd does deserve better...but as Adrian Maben did not see fit to provide anything truly better, this is the best you can do for yourself. Make sure to order one of these now, in case they go out of print!
Yes, there are some noticeable flaws, but we need to remember, Pink Floyd was not yet the financial powerhouse that it is now...nor were technology or filming technique up to today's standards, by a long shot. This means you will have to put up with some oddities, including a filming technique that makes it look very much like a period piece. But perhaps the most notable flaw is the fact that the film runs at a slightly high speed. Those observing closely may notice that the band's movements seem unnaturally fast. But more noticeable is the fact that everything is pitched significantly sharp, so you will not be able to jam along with this without retuning. And finally, as I mentioned before, Richard Wright fans will be very disappointed to note that he is only included once in the interviews, and is not even seen as he speaks. HOWEVER--even as an ardent Richard Wright fan I can't take more than half a point away, as this video will still blow your mind.
His keyboard playing, for instance, goes a long way towards making up for the lack of interview material from him, particularly at the end of "A Saucerful of Secrets" and during "Echoes, Part II" (the latter of which reduced me to tears!). And who can forget the delightfully funny performance of "Mademoiselle Nobs", a remake of "Seamus" where his instrument is...the dog? Truly a great piece of Floydian humor to watch (Although is it me, or does Roger Waters not get the joke? Watch and find out...). Another set of fans will be greatly appreciative of the VHS--here, Nick Mason's more exotic, pre-Dark Side drumming style is showcased fantastically. Notice that he continues without a pause even when a drumstick flies out of his hand. David Gilmour is also in fine form, although to me his most notable moments are in the creation of Dark Side, and Roger Waters delivers almost mad-seeming vocal and percussion performances, in addition to his bass work.
The peek into the production process for Dark Side is truly fascinating, and most notable is a wicked version of the On the Run synth loop that will make your hair stand on end. There are also some interesting practice takes by David Gilmour and Richard Wright, including parts from "Brain Damage" and "Us and Them". Finally, you'll at last discover the source of some of the great Floyd-fan inside jokes (pie without the crust, and so on). Overall, I think this video is a solid 4.5 and a must-have for any Pink Floyd fan. Don't settle for less--make sure to have a copy of the VHS around, even with the new DVD version!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece, June 25 2003
By 
Anti (Santos, SP, Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
Firstly, one has to say that pre-Dark Side era of The Pink Floyd is just as good as what followed the greatest album of all times. This way, it is quite obvious that Live At Pompeii should be extremely good. But it's not just it. I bought the VHS expecting to watch one of the greatest band of all time doing their well-known songs live. And that's not what I found. I found the greatest band of all times rediscovering their own songs, and making it so beautifully that I would call it mystical.
The set list includes the 23-minute-epic-masterpiece "Echoes", much better than the original version. The chemistry between the band is so intense that you actually feel as if they were all doing just one thing: magic, not music. Each song is played slowly, yet intensively; few vocals are heard. Waters roars as a lunatic in Careful With that Axe, Eugene, while volcanos furiously spit magma. Gilmour murmurs softly a kind whisper in A Saucerful of Secrets, after Mason performs an amazing set of double bass drum. Even a dog is "invited" to "sing" in Mademoseille Nobes, which makes it even more strange (in a positive way, believe me).
If you're a die hard Floyd fan and loves songs such as Careful With that Axe Eugene, Echoes and One of These Days, go for it. If all you have ever heard from the Floyd is Another Brick in the Wall and your idea of their songs performed live links to bricks falling from the stage, forget it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lighten up, folks!, June 22 2003
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This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
C'mon, people! Lighten up & give the band & the director/cinematographer a break. This movie was made in the '70s. I dare anyone who reads this to look at a photo of themselves 30 years ago & NOT cringe.
Lesson #1: Rock stars are not rocket scientists. Nor are they political visionaries, philosophical masters or religious icons. Typically they start out as nose-picking, pimple-popping, farting/belching teenagers who, if they're very, VERY lucky, record a song which becomes popular. All of a sudden the bright lights of fame are thrust upon them. The blemishes & the bad manners are still there but, because of their popularity we, the unwashed masses, choose to look upon them as godlike, full of incredible intellect, wit, & sociopolitical wisdom. (It's worse when they begin to believe the hype. A certain band from Georgia immediately comes to mind.) I happen to like Pink Floyd. But they ARE human & they WERE young & SOMEONE thought them important enough to stick a camera in their faces & place microphones around to pick up every noise uttered. Laugh at the absurdities & don't take it too seriously. Smile when Roger gets a shock from his microphone during "Eugene". Chuckle when Dave is chastised for swearing ("Christ!") during one of the meals. And give another listen to Roger, at the very beginning of the movie, take note of the silliness of the effort made to make 4 rock-n-roll stars look very chummy. Ooooh, heady stuff here!
Lesson #2: Don't penalize the past because it's not the present. Personal computers, cell 'phones, CGI, etc were not quite off the drawing board when this film was made. We should be thankful that there were those around who were smart enough to document the evolutionary process.
This is a fun movie to watch for the older Floyd fans out there. Those weaned on The Wall need not comment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Echoes in the deserted amphitheatre, June 18 2003
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
Instead of writing a typical "wow! yeah! super-groovy hippy-trippy highlight of the counter-culture" kind of review, I'm gonna write down the little known facts about this film, before giving you my opinion in the end...
After the recording of the Meddle album in London in the summer of 1971, P.F. was invited by the german director Adrian Maben to be the focus of a joint west german-belgian-french TV production. Maben's idea was to capture P.F. live in concert performing their new album in Italy. And P.F. did agree.
The place chosen was the deserted amphitheatre in Pompeii, an ancient city that was destroyed by the nearby volcano Vesuv's eruption more than 1000 years ago and buried in its lava. Both Pompeii and Vesuv are located in Southern Italy, near Naples.
Between 4-7 October 1971 P.F. moved almost a ton of equipment into the amphitheatre, and recorded several takes of the songs, so Maben could pick the best material for his film. The result was stunning.
Even thou a TV production and not a typical 35mm widescreen cinema film, it was decided to show it at the Venice Film Festival in Northern Italy on the 26 October 1972. It debuted under the title "Echoes-Pink Floyd" and even with a somehow short length of 61 min it was well recieved.
This inspired Maben to go 'the last mile'. During the last months of 1972 P.F. was in London recording their famous album Dark Side Of The Moon. Maben went over the channel with his TV crew and visited them at Abbey Road studios where they were at the middle of the recording. Further filming of rehearsals, interview bits and breakfast sessions took place.
Back in West Germany Maben assembled the filmstock. He kept all tracks from Pompeii 1971, but added three large segments from London 1972 intercut into the Pompeii concert. The finished film had a length of exactly 80 min and was premiered sometime 1974 (sources disagree) under the title "Pink Floyd-Live At Pompeii". (Even thou now having 19 min from London!).
In the years that followed this film has been show countless times on TV in a number of countries, plus living its own life as a cinema film, especially in USA.
From 1975 and onwards, with the introduction of video, it has been released and re-released many times on this system too. Both the 61m version, and more and more often in the later years the 80m version.
My personal opinion of this film is: The Pompeii 1971 filmstock is quite simply MAGIC, TRIPPY, SURREAL, UNREAL and WONDERFUL. Nothing wrong with neither the music or the surroundings.
BUT, BUT, BUT... The London 1972 filmstock is interesting enough, but mixing it with the psychedelic Pompeii bits was a major mistake done by Adrian Maben. (Example: after a wonderful segment from Pompeii, we get to see P.F. sitting around the breakfast table at Abbey Road babbling uninspired to each other for a few minutes before the "time machine" brings us back to the Pompeii magic once again).
This jumping back and forth takes away the intensity of the Pompeii filmstock. And instead of feeling of seeing one great P.F. concert (like the original 61m film made most people do), we're left with a just another '70s documentary.
How should he (Maben) have avoided this?
Either to...
1. Kept it as a 61 min concert film called Echoes (great title too).
2. Tagged on those 19 London minutes at end of the film.
Because of these mistakes, the full-length Pompeii is not the greatest ever concert film, but it's close. It's certainly one of the most memorable ones from the '70s alongside Rainbow Bridge. It's recommended to P.F. fans, and other fans of '60s/'70s rock outside the mainstream.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING INOVATIONS FROM THE BEST BAND EVER, Jan. 16 2003
By 
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
I watched this videotape about 2 years ago for the first time.
I've been a Pink Floyd fan since i was 17 years old and though i knew about this videotape, i managed to buy it two months ago here in Athens. I had listened to most of the songs on my cdplayer and realised that this was something different.
It is really astonishing what some individuals could achieve during 1970s when other bands consumed themselves in a music environment so convenient and narrow headed hoping that their love-emerging lyrics was their ticket for success and acceptance.
This fake-emotion atmosphere that was formed basically by bands like Beetles came to a possible end by the inspired psychedelic lyrics that happened to touch more and more the masses of people all around the world who had eventually realized that the well-hidden lies of sensitivity and the well-shaped form of love that made fifteen years old women(?)to fade out had to be put aside.
This videotape is fantastic so ever. You don't know what or who to watch first.
Nick Mason is fast and gets faster and faster.
Roger Waters plays his bass and shifts his body away.
David Gilmour does things with his guitar that makes you wonder if the film was produced in 1974.
Richard Wright plays smooth except in "Saucerful of secrets".You should see how he behaves his piano...
Closing, don't expect to see the laser beams, the lights or the scenery of the latest Pink Floyd concerts. This IS pure space-interstellar-psychedelic rock(?).
Insert the tape, throw everybody out of you room, dim the lights, get your drink and light your cigarette...
Enjoy it as long as it lasts.
SHINE ON fellow surfers!
Kisses from Greece.Be happy...
Evagelos Tagalos (Statitician)
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5.0 out of 5 stars hmm.....a dog's an instrument......I guess......, May 24 2002
By 
musicfan (A HOUSE A MOTEL?) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
Most people will not enjoy this film but as Frank Zappa the great once said:"most people wouldn't know good music if it came and bit them on the arse".
Despite the fact that hardly anyone likes this film it is absolutely fantastic. This is "Arty junk" at its very best and, unsuprisingly, at its very loudest.
It would be foolish to take Dave's comment about not being a drug-orientated band seriously ("Of course we're not! You can trust us." Yeah, sure we can) and equally foolish to think that Roger and Nick close their eyes a lot because they are tired after staying up late to watch a "Carry on" film but the main impression that I got from watching this video was not of a bunch of stoners but of a group of talented young artists fooling around, making very "different" music and spewing forth a tremendous quantity of brilliant ideas. It seems quite a miracle that four musicians should come together whose ideas are so compatable and who all realise that the full limitations of sound have not yet been reach and need to be reached pretty soon.
Live at Pompeii begins and ends with the psychedelic tour de force "Echoes parts 1 and 2". The wild, outlandish complexity of the piece is represented marvellously by the band's crazed live performance especially in the sheer energy and LOUDNESS of Roger's bass playing. It's amusing to see Rick singing "inviting" and Dave singing "inciting" simultaneously and then giving each other knowing glances. Inbetween the two parts of "Echoes" there is an electrifying version of "Careful with That Axe, Eugene", which is probably the most technically accomplished version available. In "A Saucerful of Secrets" Dave's slide guitar is so loud in the middle section that it totally drowns out Rick's pounding onto a grand piano. Roger staggers around smacking gongs, attacking symbals with all his strength (damn, he really couldn't hit those things any harder!)and then picks up his axe for the "Celestial voices" section. This last section is very different from the Ummagumma version with a much thinner organ sound, more emphasis on the spacey guitar and more volume in Dave's faultless vocal improvisation. Both versions, though, are monumental. "One of these days" is as thunderous as ever and "Set the Contols for the Heart of the Sun" is perhaps in its spookiest ever. Slotted inbetween the live tracks are amusing interviews (good point Roger, people don't watch you again if they don't like you!), some revealing footage of recording sessions and the not-quite-legendary "Mademoiselle Nobbs". This is perhaps my favourite moment of the film. Rick, Dave and Roger sprawled cross legged on the floor- dusty, long-haired, bare-footed and happy- playing a blues jam with a dog (who, unlike most music critics, knows good music when he hears it and croons along joyously).
Just imagine, some poor tourist could have walked innocently by at any time during the making of this film and had their ear drums blown out!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great midnite movie!, April 2 2002
By 
Eddie Ruff (Bakersfield, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
This one circulated about the multiplexes on Friday midnites in my formative years, and is BEST witnessed in the proper state of mind!!
Those watching on a Tuesday afternoon with unencumbered brain stems may find the drawn out, progressive late '60s -- early '70s rock segments a bit, well, tedious.
Non-Pink Floyd fans probably will not be able to sit through the whole film.
NOW -- if you are a HUGE Pink Floyd fan, like me, this VHS is indispensible. At least go rent it first. If you have the cash right now (or the, heh heh heh, credit card...) go ahead and order it. It's a must-have.
Just seeing David Gilmour's hair wrapped around his face, blowing around in the wind, and getting in his mouth (and he doesn't even bother to wipe it away!!) is worth the price of the movie alone. There was no such thing as a blow-dried phony coif in those days -- these guys were REAL rock'n'rollers... and GREAT artist.
Truly masterful artistry on every level. INCREDIBLE drumwork. FANTASTIC acid-tinged 5-minute guitar solos. OVERWROUGHT self-indulgence by the "boring old farts" (as the Sex Pistols referred to them) before it was a crime.
These guys wrote the book on progressive guitar rock. Pink Floyd rule!!
Enjoy.
Eddie
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pink Floyd on Video before anyone ever thought of MTV, March 23 2002
By 
Michael E. Dewire (San Antonio, TX.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
This classic 1972 video has been re-mastered slightly since its original release. The audio is a little better but still sounds as Roger Waters' states in one part of the "Dark Side of the Moon" recording segments "A little too toppy." The video quality is better as well but still washed out in some segments.
Technical difficulties aside the reason to own this if for the sheer excitement of watching and listening to these four creative talents. You get a chance to see these guys perform in an ancient amphitheater many of their original classics. The play list includes Echoes Part-1 and Part-2, Careful With That Axe Eugene, A Saucerful of Secrets and more. It is fun to see how they created all of the space age sounds in the days before computers, digital samplers, and fully programmable synthesizers.
The video segues are creative in that transitions are done using film optics that in later days became staple effects in modern production video switchers. An example of this is the transition to the song "One Of These Days I'm Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces" with little bits of the picture appearing in cut out pieces of paper, which is the modern Matrix wipe effect.
As an added bonus you will witness the tracking of "Dark Side Of The Moon" and even hear the voice of Alan Parsons though the studio PL system.
A technical note in that the surround effect is good through a Dolby Digital Pro Logic 2 system or with DTS Neo 6.1. Good effects can also be had hooking up your VHS-HIFI audio outputs to a classic Marantz Quad receiver like the model-4300 and using the Vari-Matrix function.
Enjoy !!!
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