Pink Floyd – Live at Pompeii (Concert Documentary From 1972)

Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii‘ is the title of a 1972 rock concert documentary by the legendary English psychedelic rock, progressive rock, and classic rock band Pink Floyd. The film was directed by Adrian Maben and focuses on Pink Floyd performing a series of their early songs live in the ancient Roman amphitheatre of Pompeii in the proximity of Naples in southern Italy.

Pink Floyd – Live at Pompeii (1972), frontal and back cover artwork. Image source:

Most of the scenes concerning the amphitheatre proper were filmed over the course of 4 days in October 1971. Willy Kurant and Gábor Pogány were in charge of the cinematography whereas editing was done by José Pinheiro. The film was originally released on 2 September 1972, having a total length of 64 minutes, and being initially distributed by PolyGram Music Video (from 1983 and 1999) and then by Universal Pictures (since 1999 to present). It is a mixture of early Pink Floyd live songs and several interview from 1972 on the band’s current status in their career as well as their description on their musical experience as Pink Floyd, ranging from the musical equipment they had been using on a daily basis in studio and live as well their social experience with each other as bandmates and even beyond these matters.

The original tracklist for the 1972 version of the film is the following one:

  1. Pompeii;
  2. Echoes, Part 1;
  3. Careful with That Axe, Eugene;
  4. A Saucerful of Secrets;
  5. One of These Days;
  6. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun;
  7. Mademoisselle Nobs;
  8. Echoes, Part 2.

For the 1974 theatrical version of the film, the tracklist was as follows:

  1. Pompeii;
  2. Echoes, Part 1;
  3. On the Run (studio footage);
  4. Careful with that Axe, Eugene;
  5. A Saucerful of Secrets;
  6. Us and Them (studio footage);
  7. One of These Days;
  8. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun;
  9. Brain Damage (studio footage);
  10. Mademoisselle Nobs;
  11. Echoes, Part 2.

On the 2002 DVD version of the film, the following songs were listed:

  1. Echoes, Part 1;
  2. Careful with that Axe, Eugene;
  3. A Saucerful of Secrets;
  4. Us and Them (studio footage);
  5. One of These Days;
  6. Mademoisselle Nobs;
  7. Brain Damage (studio footage);
  8. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun;
  9. Echoes, Part 2.

Last but not least, for the 2016 5.1 Surround Sound film and stereo CD versions, the tracklist is the following one:

  1. Careful With That Axe, Eugene;
  2. A Saucerful Of Secrets;
  3. One of These Days;
  4. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun;
  5. Echoes.

As you can clearly notice from above, most of the songs performed by Pink Floyd at Pompeii in 1972 were from the 1971 studio album ‘Meddle’. Other songs were taken from ‘Ummagumma’, the dual studio-live album released in 1969.

The recording personnel was represented by:

  • Roger Waters – electric bass guitar, rhythm guitar, gong cymbals, spoken word, additional vocals, additional piano;
  • David Gilmour – lead guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, lead vocals, additional vocals;
  • Richard Wright – Hammond organ, Farfisa organ, grand piano, lead vocals on one track, VCS 3 synthesizer;
  • Nick Mason – drums, percussion, vocal phrase on one track.

The technical personnel was represented by:

  • Adrian Maben – director;
  • Willy Kurant – cinematography;
  • Gábor Pogány – cinematography;
  • Claude Agostini – cameraman;
  • Jacques Boumendil – cameraman;
  • Henri Czap – cameraman;
  • Gérard Hameline – cameraman;
  • Charles Rauchet – sound;
  • Peter Watts – sound;
  • Marie-Noel Zurstrassen – script;
  • Chris Adamson – road manager;
  • Robert Richardson – road manager;
  • Brian Scott – road manager;
  • Marc Laurore – production director;
  • Leonardo Pescarolo – production director;
  • Hans Thorner – production director;
  • José Pinheiro – editor;
  • Marie-Claire Perret – assistant editor;
  • Paul Berthault – mixer;
  • Michel François – special effects;
  • Michel Y Gouf – special effects;
  • Auditel – post production;
  • Eclair – post production;
  • Europasonor – post production;
  • Michèle Arnaud – associate producer;
  • Reiner E. Moritz – associate producer;
  • Steve O’Rourke – executive producer.
  • Professor Carputi at the University of Naples – special thanks;
  • Haroun Tazieff – special thanks;
  • Soprintendenza alle Antichità della Provincia di Napoli – special thanks.

In commercial regards, the film was certified gold in Canada, double platinum in the United States as well as triple platinum in the United Kingdom. Below you can watch the trailer of the film as well as the entire performance of Pink Floyd at Pompeii (plus the Abbey Road interviews with the band and a subsequent interview with director Adrian Maben reflecting on the creation process of the documentary). Enjoy and all the best!

Documentation sources and external links:

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