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Al Di Meola - Tour De Force: Live CD (album) cover


Al Di Meola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.01 | 33 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars No advantage

I have two live albums by Al Di Meola, this one and Friday Night In San Francisco (which is a collaboration between Di Meola and Paco De Lucia and John McLaughlin). The two albums are pretty much each others opposites. While Friday Night In San Francisco was all an acoustic album featuring only the three guitarists with no other musicians backing them up, Tour De Force is a full on band performance. This means lots of drums, percussion, keyboards and bass guitar, all excellently played. That alone makes this album a lot more progressive than the San Francisco album. However, a combination of the two - an album showing both the electric side and the acoustic side of Al Di Meola would have been far more interesting, giving us a full picture of the guitarists (early) career.

The running time of this whole album is only just above 39 minutes and I am certain it does not feature a full show. This is in fact a similarity between this album and Friday Night In San Francisco which was even shorter than this. I think this could have been much longer and feature a full show. I have no idea what other songs featured in Di Meola's repertoire at that time, but I would have liked more material from Elegant Gypsy and Casino as well as something from Land Of Midnight Sun and maybe even a couple of Return To Forever cuts. But after all it is not fair to judge this album by what is not here. What actually is here is very good! But it cannot replace or better the studio albums in my opinion.

The pieces chosen for this live album were taken from the studio albums Elegant Gypsy, Casino and Electric Rendezvous with two numbers not available anywhere else (that I know of) - Nena and Advantage. Everything is excellently performed here, but the two new compositions do not leave any lasting impression on me. They are good, but not good enough to make this album essential for these numbers alone.

There are some passages in the Elegant Gypsy tracks that are radically different from the original versions and this is indeed interesting, but still these differences are primarily for Di Meola's fans to appreciate.

Tour De Force is a very good (albeit too short) live album, but not an essential one. I say start with the studio albums, especially the excellent Casino and Elegant Gypsy albums. If you already have some or all of Di Meola's early albums, this live album does not bring you very much extra. But it can be very enjoyable still.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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