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Delirium - Il Viaggio Continua: La Storia 1970 - 2010 CD (album) cover

IL VIAGGIO CONTINUA: LA STORIA 1970 - 2010

Delirium

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.62 | 9 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ultimate DVD collection of an RPI legend

It is not often that we younger generation RPI aficionados get the opportunity to see one of the classic-era bands perform live, or even enjoy them on DVD in our living rooms. Most of us were either too young or living many miles away from the great Italian rock festivals of the early 1970s. The rebirth of the RPI movement in the last decade has been extraordinary with Italian bands finding out they have new fans all over the world. Their numbers may be small in relative terms but their passion has buoyed not only a bunch of fantastic new bands, but also many of the legendary groups as well. Several of the classic-era RPI bands have reformed and released fantastic new material or live performance: PFM, Latte Miele, RRR, Procession, Balletto di Bronzo to name just a few, and now, Delirium.

Delirium are considered by many to be one of the premier classic RPI bands, if perhaps a bit less known to international audiences than PFM/Banco. They released a solid trio of albums back in the classic era, then came storming back with one of the most astonishing comebacks by a classic group, 2009's gem "Il Nome del Vento." Now in 2010 the prog wizards at Black Widow Records have issued the definitive video archive of Delirium. You get a whopping 3 hours of Delirium video consisting of rare archival footage from the 70s and recent live concert performances and interviews.

So let's get right to the prime feature: a complete Delirium concert retrospective filmed live at the Politeama Theater in Genoa, February 2010. You'll enjoy the show in a classy venue packed to the back with appreciative Italian rock fans. (I wish I could have been there!) The band includes founders Ettore Vigo on the keys and Pino Di Santo on drums and vocals. Frontman Martin Grice joined around 1972 I believe, and newer members include guitarist/vocalist Roberto Solinas and bassist Fabio Chighini. Later in the show the band are joined by a string quartet, featuring the beautiful and talented Chiara Giacobbe, Diana Tizzoni, Simona Merlano, and Daniela Caschetto. These are the same four ladies who added so much to the knockout "Il Nome del Vento" album last year.

From the opening introduction you can tell this will be a special evening, as the band begins with simple atmospherics to the stage's dry ice and soft blue lighting. The stage, lighting, and venue project a classy simplicity that doesn't try to dazzle, but rather allows the show to be about the players, as it should be. It is well shot with several different stationary and roaming cameras giving you "on the stage" intimate access. The sound quality is likewise professional and decent, though not without some issues. There are times when the bottom end is not where I would like it to be, as I really like to have the bass way up front with a lot of punch. I also noticed a few feedback/noise problems here and there, but they quickly stop. And frankly whatever sound issues were present are insignificant compared to my enthusiasm for the show.

What strikes one watching Delirium is how much love these guys still have for the music and for playing together. That's not something you can fake. These guys are having a great time and their enthusiasm draws you in. Sometimes you can see them look at each other and you know they realize just how special and rare it is that they are able to express their collective history on stage together, when so many of their peers from Italy's progressive past made one album together and vanished into thin air. I was really quite moved to be a part of this show from my living room, quite grateful for the chance. Call it corny or not, but I'm not ashamed to admit that moments of this show moved me very close to tears, not of sadness, but of joy and sentimental connection to the "soul" of the group and music. I may not have witnessed the first go-around of Delirium, but I can appreciate this rebirth just as if I had. Like I said, a musician can't fake what it takes to connect with listeners in this way.

It's hard to say who Delirium in 2010 "sounds like" because they are their own blend of melodic Italian rock/pop/folk, progressive rock, and jazz-rock. I will say there are times on the jazzier material that they remind me of Supertramp with the piano and saxophone combinations. At other times when the refined and melodic symphonic prog comes to the front I think of the Moody Blues. They can also remind me a little bit of Procol Harum for their tasteful instrumental arrangements and spectrum of musical/emotional colors. Mostly they are just great Italian prog but on the accessible side. While Delirium compositions can have complexity and elegance, they never (or rarely) get into the avant garde or weird/harsh areas. They love to keep the crowd engaged with good melodies and never get too far into the indulgent. Even the solos are directly engaging and aimed more at emotions than technical flash.

Typical moments in the show will find Ettore either bathing the more laid-back stuff in beautiful atmospherics, or spicing the jazzy stuff up with his piano runs. He is the quiet wizard sitting in the shadows looking very serious. Meanwhile Martin holds center court just blazing on his sax or flute, he's a formidable player on both and doesn't need to stand on one leg, though he does some Tull stuff! His saxophone solos during numerous tracks were a real highlight of the show for me. Roberto is a versatile guitarist who plays some lovely delicate acoustic, but can just tear up the electric leads as well-he's got some really fiery solos. The rhythm section is also strong, Fabio is the relative youngster on stage and brings much energy to the bass jamming. Pino is not only solid on the kit but seems to be master of ceremonies as well, often addressing the crowd from his perch, and even walking up to the front of the stage to converse with them more directly. I wish I could understand his longer comments, I have a feeling he was sharing some special memories with them. In the interviews Ettore notes that the "newer" members Roberto and Fabio have made a subtle but definite impression on the Delirium sound, providing extra edge, energy, and occasionally even a bit of funk.

All of the guys sing, and while none have the obvious bold roar of someone like Banco's Francesco DiGiacomo, they harmonize together as well as anyone. There are some really beautiful harmonies, especially the parts around the time that the string quartet takes the stage. At this point we get into some material from Il Nome and the strings become a great counter for extended solos by Roberto and Martin, just lovely moments ensue. Their opening of "L'acquario delle stele" is so nice. By this time the band have really hit their stride and deliver moments of great beauty, power, poignancy, and RPI bliss. The latest album told the story of a man shipwrecked on an island, looking inward and trying to deal with the wealth of thoughts and feelings he is alone with. The latter moments will revisit their debut "Dolce Acqua" with its sweet folky charm, and their big SanRemo song "Jesahel" before concluding "With a Little Help from My Friends."

And that was just the concert. We also get seven or eight vintage clips from Italian television in the early 1970s. These are high quality historical videos from their big single "Canto di Osanna" in 1971 to the lovely "Jill" in 1975. The footage of the SamRemo festival of 1972 is also wonderful to be able to see. Beyond these there are several live bonus tracks from other recent shows, backstage interviews, a photo gallery, and even a second disc: a complete CD version of the concert for playing in your car or elsewhere when you can't watch the DVD. The interviews are subtitled in English which is great for us non-Italians. This is a band as vital today as in their glorious past, and they very much wish to play their music in America. If the organizers of the revered Northeast prog festivals are wise, they will get Delirium there in 2011 and include far more Italian acts than they currently do. Italy is one of the world's leaders in great progressive music.

This is my 800th review for ProgArchives, and I wanted to dedicate it to the gentlemen of Delirium to thank them for a career of making great music. Also to my old friend Raff, whom if I recall correctly once told me "Dolce Acqua" was a monumental musical moment in her life as a young girl. If you find and read this Raffa, you really need to watch this concert, I think you would just adore it. 4 solid stars: "Excellent"

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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