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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
By 
KEVIN C. DELAHANTY "Kevin C. Delahanty" (Newburyport, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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 If you like this band a lot, then buy it, June 16 2003
By 
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
If you like Floyd, you really should buy this, or be patient when it is released on DVD because it is a gem. A lot of the concert movies of this era are bad, but this happens to be one of the best. The musicians are interviewed through the course of the movie, but not Richard Wright...hmmm I wonder why?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Virtuosity at its finest., March 15 2003
By 
David Allison (Tucker, Georgia USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
Nick Mason's skill as a drummer is stunning.
Seeing David Gilmour in the studio recording Dark Side of the Moon gives the viewer a ringside seat to history. Imagine being able to watch Mozart perform live 200 years ago; 200 years from now, that's how viewers of this film will look back on Pink Floyd.
I only wish it was five times as long.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Early Pink Floyd Video, March 2 2003
By 
Steven Reiser (Westminster, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
I've owned this video for several years and spent several years trying to track it down and persisted because this video takes one on a mental journey where you lose yourself completely in the imagery and the sounds in a visual trip accentuated by the brilliant experimentation in music created by Pink Floyd in their earlier years. If you are a serious Pink Floyd fan this video is a must have that for me rivals "The Wall" but in a very different direction that is just as unique and profound in the creative genius of Pink Floyd.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A view into the past, Feb. 12 2003
This review is from: Pink Floyd at Pompeii (VHS Tape)
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 cuts, superimposition of images, and dissolves let the music act as the background to the image. Since I've never seen the band in concert (and most likely never will) I would have liked to see the acutal Men more than their electrical equipment during Echoes.
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Pink Floyd at Pompeii
Pink Floyd at Pompeii by Adrian Maben (VHS Tape - 2002)
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