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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Live In Japan 2002 CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.42 | 84 ratings

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5 stars If anyone has read my reviews, they'll know that I'm a fan of PFM (PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI). However until now I had never bothered to check out the DVD "Live In Japan 2002". Big mistake. What a fantastic set (more than two hours of music) and a well-produced video. Watching it really makes me wish I had been in the audience. The filming is slick, and the audio and video quality are top notch.

Fans of early PFM will not be disappointed, as the old favourites -- plus a few numbers from later albums "Chocolate Kings", "Jet Lag", "Suonare Suonare" and "Serendipity" -- are included and played with gusto. In fact, the enthusiasm of the group is delightful. Di Cioccio (drums & vocals) and Mussida (guitars & vocals) certainly look their age but, boy, do they deliver, as do Premoli (keyboards & vocals) and Djivas (bass & vocals, and recorder on Dolcissima Maria).

I'm not normally a fan of live improvisations as they are often below par, but in this concert I find the various improvisations enjoyable, especially Premoli's on the Roland piano as I'm a keyboard fan.

Guest musicians Lucio Fabbri (violin, keyboards & guitar) and Piero Monteresi (drums) meld well with the other group members. The group all look relaxed and are evidently enjoying themselves. They never look bored and do all the pieces justice even though they have played them countless times in the past. In fact the relaxed nature gives some of the tracks a nice, jazzy laid-back feel.

The 1980 album "Suonare Suonare" is not rated as highly by fans as the early albums but I like it, even if it is more commercial sounding, and the rather laid-back renderings here of 'Suonare Suonare' and 'Maestro Della Voce' are real foot-tappers, with the silver-haired Mussida grooving on the guitar.

Di Cioccio's drumming is impressive and he also does an excellent job fronting the group, announcing the songs and musicians, and singing with much gusto when he temporarily gives up the drums to Monteresi. He belts out the songs, scats, gesticulates and prances with much energy, his drumsticks tucked into his belt in front and behind.

If you are already a fan of PFM then I strongly doubt this DVD will disappoint you. And if you're new to PFM and enjoy symphonic Progressive Rock and live music, this should impress you. OK the guys are getting on in years but, believe me, they play a mean live set and the musicianship is evident.

As far as videos of Progressive Rock concerts go, this must rank amongst the best, and I find it difficult to fault it. Purists might complain that the Anglicised versions of some of the early songs are performed, but they work well on stage in my opinion. And the group mixes the two languages anyway on a couple of the tracks, so both camps should be pleased. Perhaps the lead vocals are not quite what they used to be, perhaps a flute would have been nice (but Premoli and Fabbri do a good job with the keyboards and violin in its place). But, to my mind, these are all quibbles. Watching and listening to this makes me want to jump for joy, so five stars it is. Highly recommended.

Fitzcarraldo | 5/5 |


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