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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - PFM canta De André (CD + DVD) CD (album) cover

PFM CANTA DE ANDRÉ (CD + DVD)

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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NotAProghead
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
2 stars Tribute or disrespect?

Back then, in 2006, I found the announcement on BTF website: ''2/8/2006 - PFM will play in Milano on February 18, 2006, at Teatro Ventaglio Nazionale. PFM will be performing their tribute-show to the late great Fabrizio De Andrč''. A special guest appearance by Patti Smith has been announced too. Wow, with or without Patti Smith, it should be great, I thought. What songs will they play? Something new for the band? Will the concert be filmed? I know, no one can sing his songs better than good old Faber himself. But such great musicians like PFM can bring something new in De Andrč's music. So many good songs, so many possibilities!

And at last I'm holding in my hands nice blue digipack. I look at track list and realise - nothing new to PFM here, only songs they played with Faber in their 1979 tour. OK, slightly disappointing, but it's their right to choose what they want.

I listen to CD - OK, musicianship is superb (who can doubt?). Some wrong intonations in voices - OK, it's a live record, sometimes it happens. Not a bad live album. It could be better (and, by the way, longer), but it's not bad at all.

Let's watch DVD now. I look at the cover - the same songs as on CD, but with a strange ''feature'': two last tracks are separated to video only and audio only versions. What does it mean? OK, technical problems, sometimes they happen.

I press Play and start watching (my cat sits near me, then falls asleep). Good old opera theatre, Franz Di Cioccio presents the band and the show starts with ''Bocca di rosa''. Good light, good playing, Fabrizio's projections, intimate atmosphere, but something's wrong. What? - Franz often looks at the lyrics sheet. Too often. ''La guerra di Piero'' - again he endlessly looks at the paper with lyrics, though this song sounds well. ''Un giudice'' - the same story, he does not remember lyrics. In addition he overplays the song, it became too grotesque, at least for my taste.

''Giugno '73'' - Franz goes to his drum kit, Patrick Djivas plays amazing bass solo, it's Franco Mussida's turn to sing. His voice suits perfectly to the song, but he often looks at the lyrics sheet too.

''Maria nella bottega di un falegname'' - lead vocals by Di Cioccio, nice guitar improvisation and... Yes, you guessed, Franz often looks at the paper.

''Il testamento di Tito'', one of the most dramatic songs. Vocals, in a form of dialog, are shared between Di Cioccio and Mussida. Both look at their papers. How it's possible to sing emotionally if singers don't know words? The song suffers badly, especially of Mussida's singing.

''La canzone di Marinella''. Quite a simple song, it seems I, without being Italian, will learn it soon. But Franco reads his paper and, as the result, often sings out of tune.

The shame comes to end with ''Amico fragile''. Franz on drums, inventive lighting underlines dramatic music, great guitar solos, PFM at their best. Mussida's vocals are good, though not without the help of the paper.

And, at last, ''Il pescatore''! The band often plays this song in concerts and (what a joy!) signore Di Cioccio knows lyrics. Sweet freedom! Musicians seems spread their wings, voice and music flow free and naturally, PFM in full flight! End of the show.

''Zirichiltaggia'' and ''Volta la carta'' are rather doubtful bonus. You can watch each of these songs first without sound (strange pleasure) and then listen without video. Was not it better to exclude them from DVD if enginneers could not solve technical problem?

DVD made me angry, really. I looked at tour dates on the band's website. PFM played De Andrč set from 2006 to 2008, more than 2 years. And it was not enough for Mr. Di Cioccio and Mr. Mussida to learn lyrics! How could they even start the tour? Why they decided to record the concert if they are not ready at all?!!! I could not expect such irresponsibility from these great musicians. Shame. Brutto. Definitely songs of Fabrizio De Andrč deserve better attitude. I never thought I will rate PFM live record so low. Now it happened. 2 stars.

P.S. Only a coincidence: today, January 11, 2009, ten years gone since suonatore Faber left this world. Very sad.

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Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permalink

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