Live At Pompeii
Sony Music Canada Inc.
It’s no substitute for the real thing – Pink Floyd – but the more I’ve listened to this I’ve found a way in. That’s just me being a die-hard Floyd fan, or at least a Floyd fan of a type. I wasn’t at all impressed on first listen, but I had to keep listening. Maybe that’s the curse of Floyd worship, or a type of Floyd worship.
Gilmour’s liquid guitar tone is a defining feature of so much of the band’s music – but he’s not a man of great musical taste. His own songs are not strong and, in particular, Rattle That Lock was largely woeful. And for all the spectacle of this being at Pompeii – and visually it’s stunning of course, and a Big, Big Show – it’s the tour to support a dreadful album, and so we get a lot of filler. A lot of filler.
But just when you’ve been bored by Gilmour’s dreadful solo songs he pulls out a solo like the one on In Any Tongue – and you’ve ever been a fan you’re there again, coasting on the crest of the sonic wave he creates so effortlessly. You’re floating. Flying.
Some of the Floyd songs are rather wonderful here – like High Hopes with a lovely long acoustic outro, and of course it’s a joy to hear One of These Days for those searing lines (the only song here that the original Floyd performed at its Pompeii show some 45 years earlier).
Some of the other Floyd songs though, struggle. Nice as it is to hear The Great Gig In The Sky, to my mind the first time Gilmour’s taken it out on the road as part of a solo jaunt, it doesn’t actually sound that great. The backing singers force their way into it. It’s there as a tribute to Rick Wright, which means we must endure another dreadful Gilmour song to follow (A Boat Lies Waiting) – also in tribute to Wright.
I don’t know – none of this feels vital. But I keep listening to it. And I’ll be off now to go back through that back-catalogue that meant so much to me.
It’s disappointing though, that Gilmour clearly doesn’t know his best material. Not a lot here from Momentary Lapse (Sorrow is a gem, one he’ll never leave behind, but not the greatest version here) and his two earliest solo albums have some great material – or good material – that he’s ignored. Even key moments from the end of the original Floyd would have been good (Not Now John, Young Lust, Two Suns In The Sunset) but Gilmour knows the big spectacle-show calls for yet another version of Shine On, Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb and Run Life Hell.
It would have been amazing to be there. And sitting at home listening to it – even watching it – feels a bit square. Which is exactly as it should be for a Gilmour/Floyd fan in 2017.