France: Nimes

Oh no, not another Roman amphitheatre! Just how many of them are there…?

Just kidding. This one’s a beauty.

Although not the biggest, the magnificent Arènes de Nîmes is definitely one of the best preserved.

Built during the first century, believed to be around 70 AD, and used for chariot races, executions and gladiatorial combat, as you can see from these photos, it is a marvellous sight. Roughly elliptical in shape and measuring 133 metres long, 101 metres wide and 21 metres high, its façade is composed of two floors of 60 arches surmounted by an attic. It was able to hold audiences of up to 24,000 baying spectators.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the arena suffered repeated raids. It was used as a fortress in the sixth century (complete with moat), a castle in the twelfth. It became a medieval settlement, a town in its own right, with a sizeable destitute population living within its walls. By 1812, the many buildings inside had all been demolished; restored to some of its former glory in 1863 to serve as a bullring, since then it has been used all year round for public events such as concerts, circuses and, still, bull-fights.

With the Maison-Carée, Tour Magne and Pont du Gard such well-preserved monuments of the Roman age, it is unsurprising that Nîmes, in south-west France, was one of the richest towns in Gaul and most defended of all the Roman Empire. It retains its traditions with Roman Games held at the Arena each May, giving visitors a taste of this remarkable period in history, with re-enactments of gladiator-fights and chariot-races.

David is performing here as part of the annual Festival of Nîmes, a series of summer concerts that have taken place since 1997 during the month of July.

If you’ll be there over the next two nights, have a splendid time and tell us all about it, won’t you?

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

49 thoughts on “France: Nimes”

  1. Another beautiful venue; I wish Michèle and everyone else attending a wonderful evening. David seems to be in a excellent condition. 🙂

  2. Very beautiful. It will sound good too. Have a great night everyone, go Michèle!

    Looking forward to the setlist but this time I’m not suggesting nothing. I’ll not mention ‘Louder than Words’.

    Ouch!

    I did it again.

      1. You’re all too kind, thank you. “Vous êtes très gentils, trop gentils.” as David said last night. Oh David!

        ‘The night of wonder’ – Pure magic. 🙂

        Looks like the moon enjoyed the lasers too (its bright side of course… 😉 )

        Still in Nîmes, enjoying today the visit of the beautiful city, maybe I will listen to the concert tonight from outside of Les Arènes… I imagine he will play ‘Us and Them’ and ‘Astronomy Domine’.

        And to Ralph, have a happy (and safe) National Day!

        Will write a longer comment when back home (to try to get FEd’s mark: 9/10 😉 ).

  3. Yet another very special venue indeed.

    Have a great time everyone out there the coming nights.

  4. Probably Astronomy back in the set tonight.

    What a beautiful venue, the Romans really got everywhere. 😀

    Enjoy the shows everyone!

  5. Already in Nimes a couple of blocks away waiting for the sun to go down just a bit before heading out. Took a walk around the arena and she’s a stunner. Will report back after the concert.

    FEd, any news on what time doors will open?

  6. Enjoy the show, but I must confess that I’m glad not having to stand the heat… 😉

  7. I have been in the same venue some years ago, for a totally different concert (Nine Inch Nails…), but I can assure you that this is one of the best places (together with the Arena of Verona probably) where you can enjoy one of David’s concert…I’ll go seeing him in Arc et Senans instead…Ciao to all!

  8. NO CHANCE TO GET A TICKET IN LONDON UNLESS:

    Grand Tier Hospitality £4,788.00 Including fees
    Select number of tickets for Grand Tier Hospitality What’s this? RIGHT QUESTION INDEED.
    View Seating Plan NO, FOR THAT PRICE I WOULD WANT TO SIT ON YOUR LAP FOR THE WHOLE CONCERT MY “DEAR, DEAR” DAVID.

    Love you anyway.

    1. Or you could keep trying the Royal Albert Hall box office and asking if there are any returned tickets available. I hope you’ll be lucky.

      1. I just looked on the RAH website just now and they have £100 seats in the stalls available for Sunday 25 September, not sure how many, but I could easily add to my basket. Also VIP tickets for £259.

        As you suggest, I would keep trying at various times and you might be lucky.

  9. Well I nipped into Penrith yesterday and got us a supply of Ringtons tea. Probably the best tea in the UK and not a plug. If you like your tea Fed and all, check out Ringtons website. They also do lots of lovely biscuits and stuff. I recommend the Kenyon Gold, you will thank me.

    They are also an ethical tea trading company, been since before the 1st World War.

    Kind regards
    Damian

    1. I remember Ringtons tea from growing up in County Durham. Do you happen to know if they still do deliveries to your door?

      I’ll be driving past Penrith on the way home from holiday tomorrow. Where’s the quickest place to call in to pick up some Ringtons?

      On an entirely different note, I picked up a copy of Big River by Jimmy Nail in Keswick Oxfam yesterday and discovered that Chester Kamen plays guitar throughout the album.

      1. He sure does. There are quite a few familiar names listed in the credits for Jimmy’s albums.

      2. Hi, there’s a depot in Penrith on the Industrial Estate just past Bochems the fertiliser place, next left – Unit 1 Hawswater Road, Myers Industrial Estate, CA11 9EH. Manager’s called Matty, he knows me so tell him you want a discount. And yes, they deliver to the door.

        Regards
        Damian

        1. Many thanks, Damian. Much appreciated. If we actually manage to get away on time this morning, I will try to call in there.

          BTW, first time in Cumbria since our honeymoon 21 years ago. It’s still a fantastic place…..and it only rained once!

  10. It was one of those nights to remember. David and the band played like angels. I felt like they were playing for the last time. I haven’t read it anywhere so I feel lucky to have witnessed the first jam between guitar solos on Money. SOYCD was transcendent to me. Well, you understand that the whole experience was just magic. After Versailles with PF, after the Olympia and after Orange last year I thought before tonight that it couldn’t be any better. Thank you for all these moments. I hope I’ll get another chance. F.

  11. Stunning show from David and the band, I managed to get myself 5 rows from the front….which was nice (to quote the Fast Show).

    The Arena is a fantastic venue and Nimes a lovely historical city filled with friendly folk.

    There were a few drops of rain, quite welcome with the heatwave down here.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s show where I’ve opted for a seat to view this special performance from a different perspective!

    Allez Les Rouges FEd!

  12. Bonjour FEd!

    Thanks for that, it was indeed a 7:15 door open.

    As for the show itself…it was without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, the best Gilmour show I’ve attended, by far. Words don’t do it justice. The band was stunning, David was a man possessed by the songs. He’s always focused and on point but this time he was as inspired and intense as I’ve ever seen him. The extended jams were enthralling and the energy both on stage and in the crowd was electrifying. Sound crystal clear and bone rattling. João, who’s always been great took his searing sax lines to a whole new dimension. Overall, an absolute thrill and a concert that will be hard to forget! So good, in fact, I even joked with the wife we’d better skip tonight’s show as this first Nîmes showing will be hard to top. Anyways, time to get some food and hydration and prepare for what will hopefully will be a better show tonight!

    Had the pleasure of meeting a former blog irregular, the wonderful Alistair from Liverpool, a class act. Thanks for letting my wife get a better view Alie!

    On an irrelevant side note, I just figured with last night’s show I’ve now totaled 24 hours of live David Gilmour shows. Not a bad way of investing a whole day of my life I’d say!

    1. I can think of worse ways…

      Very pleased for you, Paul. Here’s hoping that you enjoy tonight’s just as much.

    2. It was great to meet you too Paul – and the missus.

      Totally agree with your review.

      I’ll keep a look out for you tonight, I’ll probably go for the seats to the left of the stage as you look at it – wearing a purple/black Liverpool training top with gold lettering, all the range don’t ya know.

      1. Hey Ali!

        We looked all over and couldn’t spot you last night. The couple thousand people around made it just a bit harder. Paulina managed to get in very quickly and landed us 3rd row right in front of David. If you spotted a lighthouse in the front row, that was the guy we were behind. I kid you not, he must’ve been 2.10 meters tall. He could’ve poked your eyes up in the stands if he wanted to when he raised his hands up in the air. Still, giant aside, we managed to slip to the side and enjoy the show!

        Good show, but I still think night 1 was the winner by a giant’s arm.

        See you for the next tour!

    3. Paul, thanks for your post, you summed up exactly what I was gonna say. It was probably the best performance yet on this tour, and possibly of all time. Fantastic to see Chester, Chuck and Greg soloing appropriately in songs along with David. It’s as though his spirit has finally been released to play at its optimum, something that I didn’t notice so much with Jon, Phil and Kevin. Top sound, all credit to Colin! And amazing performances all round.

      I was lucky enough to attend both evenings and I feel thoroughly spoilt. 😀

  13. I nipped over the border into Northumberland this morning, for a bit of fishing on the Tyne. I had DSOTM playing full blast in the car there and back. To be honest I have not played it for a good while, worth the wait. I don’t need to say how powerful this album is, even after all these years. Us and Them makes me think of the 1st World War and a great uncle I only remember vaguely. He fought and came back. I have a small ornate glass in the cupboard he brought back from a farmhouse he and some comrades took shelter in. He always brought us Easter eggs, I remember that.

    My apologies Fed if I’m getting on your nerves with my writings.

    Kind regards
    Damian.

    PS This will be my last little posting for a while. Thank fluck for that, I hear you say – LOL.

    1. Not at all, Damian. I can see why ‘Us and Them’ would make you think along those lines.

      I’m fascinated by that brutal, hellish conflict and those “ordinary men” of all nationalities who were caught up in it, myself. What unimaginable living hell they must have endured.

      Are you watching the new documentary series that started last week on BBC2, called The Somme 1916: From Both Sides of the Wire, with the battlefield archaeologist Peter Barton? I’d recommend it.

      1. Thanks Fed, I’ll take a look. It is a war I reflect on and really does upset me, people say its because we were there in another life. But something I heard recently makes sense that it’s memories of our ancestors that are carried in our genes. Bit deep.

        Damian

  14. I saw David in Oberhausen last year and I remember I had tears my eyes during the first set because of the sheer beauty. Wednesday I drove to Nimes with my oldest son – a 10 years old big Pink Floyd fan – and I was stunned. The concert was even better IMHO, I thought the singing was making a difference but also the clear fun the band is having on stage. While last year in Oberhausen the emphasis seemed to be on focus and the sense was more serious, now everybody seemed more relaxed and still playing great.

  15. Back at home (how hard it is!)

    Still on cloud nine…

    I don’t know where to start, words fail me…

    I never thought it could be possible, but David’s concert in Nîmes far surpassed my previous concert in Orange (such fond memories of Orange…). Incredible. I have to confess that I still prefer the Antique Theatre of Orange as a venue, even though les Arènes de Nîmes probably look more prestigious, but, speaking of the performance, this one in Nîmes was just perfect on all fronts. David and the band looked very relaxed, much more than in Orange, they seemed to have great fun together, I love the way they (especially the back singers) left the stage, dancing and laughing. David’s guitar playing was exceptional all along the concert, long solos very much inspired. And Mr Screen which was missing (the videos I mean) in Orange.

    Couldn’t say which song I preferred, ‘Faces of Stones’, ‘In Any Tongue’? ‘The Blue’? ‘High Hopes’?, Could I dare say that I loved ‘La Fille dans la Robe Jaune’, as David introduced it, a lovely jazz touch, very classy. Or the classics, ‘Sorrow’? (frissons assurés), ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’?, crystal clear, how moving, even ‘Money’? (that I usually don’t like very much), with the two guitars jam.

    After ‘Run Like Hell’, the audience went crazy when David said ‘Bonsoir’, everybody knew he would return, but he is a tease! The crowd was clapping and roaring, maybe like in the Roman times with the gladiators. 😉

    I was very happy to listen to ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ (loved the harmonies between the female and male voices) and ‘One of These Days’, that he didn’t play in Orange.

    And of course ‘Comfortably Numb’, I think it was the best solo I ever heard, I’m sincere. Grandiose.

    David did us the honour to speak a lot in French, much more than in Orange, he even joked in French about the Brexit (or at least it’s what I thought) after ‘On an Island’, he said “On vient d’une ile, mais on se sent bien en Europe” (something like “We come from an island, but we are feeling good in Europe”). 😀

    I forgot to mention the minute of silence, a very emotional moment.

    I’m a bit ashamed to say that I realised later that I didn’t think of Rick during the concert. Oui, je sais, c’est honteux…

    And, icing on the cake, the next day, I could enjoy once again the concert from outside les Arènes and I was not alone! Many people were sitting all around the Arènes to listen to. Friendly atmosphere.

    Sorry for this long post and for the probably many mistakes in English, but, even though I said words failed me, I could speak for hours about that fabulous night.

    Merci David.

    PS I didn’t know, but Nîmes really deserves a visit, lovely atmosphere in the old town (and the market on Thursday), we watched a video on the history of Nîmes in la Maison Carrée, went to see la Tour Magne, other Roman ruins, etc… Really interesting. Thanks for that too David, without you, I don’t think I would have gone to Nîmes deliberately.

    1. I forgot to ask… 9/10?

      A good teacher always encourages his/her students to put forth their best efforts, no?

  16. I forgot to mention the perfect organisation of the concert and security. Absolutely no problem to enter les Arènes and a very helpful staff everywhere to find your seat. Easy exit too.

    Tomorrow, Arc-et-Senans, may I post today this useful information from the ‘Saline Arc-et-Senans’ website? (Click the picture of David.)

    Access map and parking.

  17. I also notice the Echoes beep has been removed from the pre-gig sound effects after David’s word with the audience at Pompeii regarding Echoes and how it can no longer be performed as a conversation with a person now deceased…

    1. Rob,

      I think that was the right thing to do. In Pompeii that was such a tease and I mentioned this in a post in the Pompeii entry. At least now there can be less speculation.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  18. Just got back from hols in south of France and the definite highlight was the concert at les arenes last Wednesday. What a wonderful experience, some of it almost brought me to tears.

    Please David, come to Scotland.

  19. Hello,

    I was attending the July 21st gig in Nîmes.

    This is was my 4th concert (Pink Floyd in 88 and 94) and David (2006 in Vienne) and I have seen a fantastic concert! Incredible night with David so fluent and inspired on the guitars, a delighted band.
    Fan-tas-tic. Solos were amazing… interstellar. 🙂

    2h45 of an exceptional quality (and at Seventy something! Hey, where are the new bands to compete with that !!??)

    Sorrow, Shine on you, Faces of Stone, Rattle that Lock, One of These Days, What do you want from me, Money, Fat Old Sun, Time, On an Island, High Hopes…all killer tunes, the recent as the most ancient ones…

    I miss vocabulary…

    PLEASE RELEASE THIS CONCERT IN CD/DVD or WHATEVER, I WILL BUY IT. 🙂

    I am regretting no lasers (except on the last song, wow!) and no fireworks (perhaps due to Nîmes configuration). I have heard better vocals with Sam Brown and obviously, Rick is missed a lot…

    Again a massive thanks to you Mr David Gilmour, time has no grip on you, wish I can see you again in Provence.

    Laurent

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