Please take a moment to note that last time people went to Pompeii amphitheatre to see a show was on AD79… then the Vesuvius erupted. Then there was the Pink Floyd in 1972 (without any audience, by the way) and finally David Gilmour on July 7th and 8th 2016.
Yes it was THE most majestic musical experience I’ve ever had so far.
I’m not sure I want to call it a “concert” – that’s too simple. Probably “experience” is much more correct here, giving that what happened on the 7th and 8th July was love-making between the Art of Music and history. With 3.000 people watching.
What can I say about the venue? Probably that calling the ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE a venue is highly reductive. If you’re never been to Pompeii well you are really missing something great and gooseflesh-inducing. You may google Pompeii ruins or Pompei paintings million times but it won’ever be like it is in reality. YOU HAVE TO GO THERE. IT’S UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE. IT TRANSPIRES HISTORY. The Roman amphitheater is one of the entrances of the ancient Pompeii. It welcomes you to a parallel world you never imagined existed. It’s not big, so I admit I started hyperventilating at the thought of the less than 20 meters distance between myself and the likes of David Gilmour…
Enter a Babel: people from all over the world (Denmark! Canada! India! Just to say a few) met there to be part of the history, for the love of that Art-made-with-Sounds. You should’ve seen the smiles on their faces. The excitement that only who waits for a very long time (44 years from the first Live at Pompeii!) knows. I took pictures of their happiness through their tees (link) – each one had a special meaning and everyone was keen to tell me something about that! You bet I was honored to listen to their stories.
I have no particular likings for big places when it comes to music, I imagine it’s because I’m quite picky so I don’t listen to those names who make to stadiums and similar. In fact my top three concerts are:
- Paul McCartney, Amphitheatre, Verone, 2013
- David Gilmour, Roman Amphitheatre, Pompeii, 2016
- Sigur Ros, Arena Civica, Milan, 2008
Somewhere I’ve read that mr. Gilmour’s saying is that he is not very much interested in the size of the performance, what matters to him is for his audiences to leave the show with a sense of unforgettable occasion. Sir, I can humbly assure you there’s no better way you would have accomplished this mission.
9:00 PM o’clock, THE CAVEA ROCKS!
David Gilmour is a unique player. His technique, his dreamy choice of notes, his timing and phrases, his voice… every little detail about the way he plays and sings is iconic. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience for the ears, the soul, the eyes, the heart and all senses. The eyes: I was so excited to witness the famous laser lights show (so powerful the band had to wear black shades! Lighting designer Marc Brickman did magic!) and the giant round screen I’ve seen million times on the Pink Floyd VHSs (I’m that old, people…) I devoured during my teenager years. It feels so beautiful when something as amazing as music exceeds your expectations!
David Gilmour is a man of few words. I was so touched when he mentioned he felt like the show was with “ghosts, ancient and new”. His tributes to the lifelong friendship with Rick Wright (A Boat Lies Waiting) and Syd Barret (Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Wish You Were Here) were really moving.
The show was a terrific source of emotions during its 3 hours. And I was impressed by us, the crowd, who respectfully paid reverence and the deepest devotion to such history of music that was developing in that incredible way beneath our very eyes. We all were in owe of him and his band. We politely and quietly sang wish you were here, showed well-mannered excitement as soon as we recognized shine on you crazy diamond, were carried away by the melancholy of fat old sun, got lost on the laser show on one of these days and run like hell, cannot believe our ears on time and breathe (reprise), were overwhelmed by the power of the great gig in the sky (the song was never played solo by Gilmour! What a first time we witnessed!) and felt completely fulfilled while paying homage on comfortably numb.
This is the tracklist, two sets and the encore:
- 5 A.M.
- Rattle That Lock
- Faces of Stone
- What Do You Want From Me
- The Blue
- The Great Gig in the Sky
- A Boat Lies Waiting
- Wish You Were Here
- In Any Tongue
- High Hopes
- One of These Days
- Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
- Fat Old Sun
- Coming Back to Life
- On an Island
- The Girl in the Yellow Dress
- Run Like Hell
- Breathe (Reprise)
- Comfortably Numb
Never I imagined I would have been part of something so incredible, a real momentous event! I am so grateful I was there.
If that is not Heaven then what is it?
Photography by me